In a scene near the end of The Dark Knight, The Joker has planted bombs on two ferries crossing the river out of Gotham. True to form, the evil-doer has set up a moral dilemma for mere mortals. Passengers on each ferry have the ability to blow up the other boat to save themselves. If neither group acts, The Joker will destroy both ferries at the strike of midnight.
In our own real world, such moral dilemmas face us every day. Indeed, our nation has planted figurative bombs all over the world through our gluttonous consumption of fossil fuels. Today we have the ability to sink whole islands in the South Pacific and melt polar ice caps ... or not.
In his sad vote last week to protect what he believes are the parochial economic interests of the 8th district, Congressman Larry Kissell chose to blow up the other ferry.
Will Senator Kay Hagan have her fingers on the detonator, too?
This morning I called Senator Hagan's office to see where she stood on the cap-and-trade legislation Kissell voted against. The nice young man on the phone read me a symphony of bureaucratic double-talk, ending with a stream of fancy words about making sure the economic interests of North Carolina are protected. To be fair, her staff member for energy policy hasn't returned my call yet. But I'll say this based on what I heard. We could very well be witnessing the emergence of another Larry Kissell: an elected official willing to blow up the rest of the world so her constituents can save a few pennies on their electric bills.