'Slacktivism' from the Biden Administration

Tom Finnerty02 Mar, 2022 3 Min Read

If you use social media at all, you've encountered "slacktivism." Urban Dictionary defines it as "The self-deluded idea that by liking, sharing, or retweeting something you are helping" a particular cause. It is among the laziest forms of virtue signaling. Thirty years ago you might spend ten bucks on a shirt that said "Free Tibet." Nowadays you don't even need to do that much -- you can just add a "frame" to your Facebook profile pic announcing to the world that you "Support Our Teachers," "Believe No One is Illegal" or -- a common one in the Covid era -- that you intended to "Stay Home to Save Lives" and expected everyone else to too.

Well, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has brought the slacktivists out in full force. People who couldn't tell Ukraine from Uruguay or Uzbekistan a week ago now have now saturated their social media feeds with the country's blue and gold flag. Viral tweets and tik-toks go on and on about the supposed "hotness" of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. And desperate celebrities have felt the need to get in on the act, (opening themselves to entirely justifiable mockery).

And then there's whatever the hell this is, from actress and now poet, AnnaLynne McCord:

As ridiculous as all of this is, it's somewhat understandable. People like to feel that they're doing something in a crisis, but in a situation like this there isn't much that civilians can do. What is infuriating, however, is when governments and politicians try to get away with slacktivism when actual action is what's called for.

The Biden Administration's position on Russian oil and gas is a good example. America purchases roughly 600,000 barrels of Russian oil per day at the moment, despite having achieved virtual energy independence just a couple of years ago. In 2018 the United States produced 95 percent of its domestic energy needs, the largest percentage in more than fifty years, and by 2019 we had become a net energy exporter for the first time in seventy years.

What has changed in the meantime? Well, Joseph R. Biden became president of the United States and declared war on the American energy industry right out of the gate. Upon taking office Biden commenced what the Associated Press called "a ten day blitz of executive actions" with the intent of "redirect[ing] the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency without waiting for Congress." Killing the Keystone XL pipeline and banning oil and gas leases on federal land were at the top of his list. Since then, Russian oil imports to America have tripled, making us just one of the many western nations dependent on Russian energy. Revenue from that oil is now funding the Russian war machine, but we've been careful not to hit Russian petroleum products with sanctions because we and our allies are so dependent upon it.

This is insane, and people are starting to notice. Senator Joe Manchin pointed out that this is now a national security issue, and he called on the Biden Administration to change course and incentivize domestic oil production. This would have to include greenlighting Keystone and backing down on oil and gas lease suspensions. Which is to say, putting things back the way they were before Biden screwed them up.

Is such a move even being considered? Apparently not. When asked in a recent interview about these calls from Republicans and Democrats alike, White House press secretary/slacker Jen Psaki said they represent a "misdiagnosis of what needs to happen." She continued, saying "what this actually justifies in President Biden's view is the fact that we need to reduce our dependence... on oil in general ... and we need to look at other ways of having energy in our country and others."

Translation -- instead of fixing a real problem, we're opting to live in an imaginary lollipop land in the sky where all of our problems are solved by the sunshine. That hasn't worked for Germany and it won't work for us.

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.


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