As a sign that there are idiots on both sides of the political aisle in Virginia, Virginia Sen. Dick Saslaw commented that he can’t legislate for what might happen 100 years down the road in response to the issue over whether or not Virginia’s moratorium on uranium mining should be lifted.
Saslaw stated, “What about 10,000 years from now? I’m not going to be here. I can’t ban something because of something that might happen 500 or 1,000 years from now.” Under this form of logic, maybe Virginia’s legislators should also use Virginia’s landfills as a storage area for America’s nuclear waste. After all, why should we be concerned about consequences that won’t bear themselves out in our lifetimes?
Americans and Virginians in particular have a right to be idiots, but not when they’re legislating for thousands of constituents in the present and ultimately, millions more in the future.
If Virginia’s legislators aren’t willing to look at the long-term consequences of their actions as lawmakers, then the entire structure of our government will crumble under the weight of its own callousness and parochialism. That is, if lawmakers were to merely legislate exclusively for the present, the not too distant future would quickly become a place where few individuals would want to live.
We all value the short term more than the long term, on the whole. After all, how do we know if we’ll still be living tomorrow or a year from now? But if each generation does not respect and safeguard the well-being of the next, individual citizens and politicians would quickly undermine economic, moral, communal, and environmental integrity through short-term and short-minded decisions.
Dick Saslaw obviously feels that today is all that matters and tomorrow is but a dream for others to unfold. Virginians both now and in the future will not soon forget the remarks made by Sen. Saslaw, the man who knew too little and cared even less.