The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, July 7, 2010. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's blog at The Huffington Post website.

The Writing on the Wall: Why Americans Have to Be Brought Low

Although I don't believe in god, I believe God is visiting his judgment on Americans -- only we haven't seen his handwriting on the wall (you know, MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN).

The arguments between Democrats and Republicans are about how we can use more: how to develop alternative energy sources so we can continue to drive around whenever we want and overheat and air condition our homes; how to force insurers to pay for universal (but unproductive) treatments for everyone; how to resuscitate the economy to enhance everyone's materialistic lifestyles.

I am just returning from Southern California, where nature and the outdoors are built into people's consciousness -- at least the people I know. Meanwhile, the longest-standing fundamental deficiency in our lifestyles for decades has been water. A fair reading of Constitutional Law is that the Supreme Court was designed to resolve water disputes among the states.

The Hoover Dam was built and sold as a magical solution to the overdevelopment of the Southwest. It would eliminate the need for conservation. Well, a 20-year "drought" has permanently lowered Lake Mead (formed by the Colorado River at the base of the dam) at a level once thought exceptional (and it is still declining annually -- go visit the lake!).

My friends have no idea there is a water shortage. I watched as one washed four dishes with a steady stream from the faucet -- leaving it run full-force when she turned to talk to guests -- I estimate she used 10 to 15 gallons of water. But our Northern California friends are no better -- I saw people who hike every weekend gush water within sight of the water-wasting classic, "Cadillac Dessert."

How the hell else can you wash dishes, dam the water up and put your hands in dirty water? Ewww! Believe me, if these responsible, aware adults won't do that, their kids would require psychiatric care if forced to. (Oh, wait -- they're already in psychiatric care.) Meanwhile, China and India are just getting in on the waste game. And so, we need to run out of water; we need to run out of money; we need to run out of gas.