Senator Tom “Coo-coo Bananas” Coburn, who, according to Wikipedia, has said that he favored the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions and that homosexuality was the biggest threat to America, and said that television had sunk to “an all-time low” when NBC decided to air Schindler’s List, “with full-frontal nudity, violence and profanity,” describing it as “...irresponsible sexual behavior...I cringe when I realize that there were children all across this nation watching this program”, has threatened to block a bill to honor Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring and advocate of environmental protection.
Now, suddenly, Coburn has concern for 2 million people that die each year from malaria, which, he claims, could be wiped out by DDT. He squarely places blame for all these deaths on Carson.
If he’s so concerned with the loss of innocent life, why doesn’t he, a U.S. Senator, use his power and influence to do something about it? There are innocent people dying every day all across the world, from car bombs and rockets and small arms fire and starvation and genocide to HIV/AIDS, dysentery, and malaria. Take your pick, Senator, and propose something!
Instead of blocking a bill that honors a respected writer and scientist, he should propose legislation to end poverty, the biggest contributing factor to malaria. That’s a tall order, but for someone who knows everything and is morally correct on all issues, it should be simple enough.
And his argument about DDT and malaria is ridiculous. We used to have malaria right here in DC, but it’s been gone for a long time. A clean environment, sanitary conditions, suitable housing, clean drinking water, a reliable food supply, pavement instead of mud-puddles, are what help eradicate malaria. DDT can be part of that strategy (even Rachel Carson saw a use for DDT), but it’s disingenuous to think that only DDT is necessary.
Coburn doesn’t like Carson because he sees her as a left wing environmental crusader whose book helped bring about the Environmental Protection Agency, stricter environmental laws, and the U.S. ban on the use of DDT. While he’s a medical doctor, Coburn doesn’t believe in science, instead allowing his right wing political agenda to cloud any small amount of logical thinking his brain may be capable of. (To his credit, but only a small amount of credit, he did call for the firing of Alberto Gonzales.)
I don’t think it matters whether the senate honors Rachel Carson or not. Her work speaks for itself. Coburn makes himself look foolish, and only makes Rachel Carson’s calm reasoning, clear writing, and good science look even better by comparison.