FACING UP TO REPUBLICANS
ON CLIMATE CHANGE
In all matters OTHER THAN global warming and sea level rise, I will genuinely, sincerely, and honestly try to stay neutral between the two parties, and will try to help show BOTH parties how they can re-build some bridges between them, if their candidates and/or members in Congress truly want to help ALL American voters, and ALL citizens, and ALL taxpayers, on terms that the majority of voters themselves want (rather than the standard strategy of passing laws that no one outside of that party’s `base’ actually wants, and then proclaiming that those laws are truly what is best, for all Americans).
HOWEVER . . . on the sole and single issue of global warming and sea level rise . . .
For anyone who actually understands how massive, destructive, and deadly the approaching disasters are going to become, it is impossible to stay neutral and balanced, between Democrats and Republicans. On that issue, the sad fact is that Republicans have a terrible, dreadful, shameful record of obstructing any and all efforts to even begin to face up to the horrible (and rapidly increasing) problems our entire nation will soon be facing. That record stretches back continuously, without even a single break, for about 40 years. Even worse, it still has not changed, to this day . . . which, sadly, makes it appear that most Republicans in Congress still have not learned anything at all, about global warming and climate change, during those 40 years, no matter how much the evidence has grown, multiplied, and continued to confirm the warnings (and carry out the predictions) from experts who truly wanted and tried to help.
This isn't saying that Democrats have been perfect, or that there have not been ANY Republicans who have taken responsible stands on this issue.
Nevertheless, if one looks at the history of what Republicans in Congress (as a group) have done, concerning climate change and sea level rise, that record stands solidly and undeniably at:
(i) a flat ZERO, in terms of good, helpful work; and,
(ii) an absolute 100%, in terms of determined and concerted efforts to BLOCK and PREVENT any actually USEFUL actions.
I offer that statement as an open public challenge. If ANY Republican believes it is unfair, then let that person (or group) simply issue a list of all the good things which, in their opinion, `Republicans in Congress’ have actually DONE, to help slow down global warming and sea level rise. A plain, straight-forward, factual list, please, which any voter can see and examine, and which experts can analyze, and respond to.
Unless and until that happens, an analogy might help people better understand what needs to be done, this year, in this election cycle, to begin moving in the right direction.
If you are driving a car through a dangerously hot desert, on a hot afternoon in August, and one of your tires goes flat, you need to fix that flat, as quickly as possible, and then get moving again. It doesn't matter whether your car might also need a tune-up, whether the windshield wipers should be replaced, or anything like that. You need to fix that flat tire, and then get moving again, toward safety, as your highest priority.
In the same way, anyone who cares about global warming – or about coastal property values – needs to focus on the pathological, reckless, and even horrifying refusal of Republicans, in Congress, to face up to the facts of what is actually happening to this planet. THAT is the broken part which is preventing our nation from being able to start doing what needs to be done. Instead of fussing about details, we need to focus on the broken part which absolutely must be fixed, before we can get moving. And, as of now, the broken part is an intransigent and unreasoning refusal by Congressional Republicans to face up to the facts of global warming, and to then begin doing what our nation, and our planet, urgently and even desperately need to have done.
When it comes to the massive and deadly threats that are heading toward us, fast and hard, because of global warming and sea-level rise, people should not try to pretend, somehow, that there is a valid, reasonable, and appropriate way to remain neutral and impartial, between the two parties, on that issue. We need to begin facing up squarely and honestly to hard and even horrible facts; and, that will require courage, rather than neutrality. As many people as can be persuaded to do so, need to look squarely into the faces of Congressional Republicans, and tell them, "Your party has been severely and consistently wrong, on this matter, for the past 40 years. And we are now facing disasters we can no longer prevent, or control, because of how wrong your party has been, for decades. The time has come when Republicans need to change their position, dramatically, on global warming. You need to begin facing facts, and reality, and you need to begin doing what is right. Because, among other things, the voters of America are seeing undeniable facts, and are realizing, in greater and greater numbers, every year, just how severe and threatening the approaching dangers, upheavals, and disasters really are. If the Republican Party continues to refuse to face up to reality, the voters will throw you out, and they will choose others, if necessary, to do what needs to be done."
No matter how many people begin doing things like that, we all need to accept that no single election will create a major change in trajectory, in how Congress begins responding to global warming. Even if the Republican Party undergoes – partly before the 2022 election, and partly after seeing its results – a series of cracks which might someday expand into more (and more serious) acts of conscience, integrity, and true leadership, any number of crusty, cantankerous, stubborn, and unwilling-to-think `oldsters', combined with loud and aggressive `culture warriors', will continue to do anything and everything possible, to try to paint anyone they regard as a rival for power – i.e., anyone who is trying to actually help America get ready for the global warming problems that are coming – as socialists, extremists, far-left-wingers, and radicals. Accordingly, anyone who wants to help, should anticipate that response, and should begin proposing, discussing, and planning ways to overcome that type of opposition.
Along those lines, I'd like to put a proposal on the table, for a bill which might someday be introduced into either chamber of Congress. I’m stopping short of advocating or arguing for adoption and passage of this bill; instead, as an outsider who doesn't claim or pretend to understand the inner workings of Congress, I merely suggest this as a draft of a single clause which might be inserted into some larger bill on climate change.
I will also openly state that the likelihood of any such clause being actually passed, and signed into law, sits pretty much at flat zero, during the first year that something like this might be introduced, as just one small part of some proposed bill to be considered by some committee in Congress.
And yet, I suspect and hope that this proposal, if brought up for serious debate, might be able to help begin, nudge along, and perhaps even `yank loose', the extremely difficult process of trying to `re-orient' some of the thinking about global warming, among Republicans. If they are asked, calmly and seriously, to think about what they would do, if they are put under the same types of jeopardy and threats that they are inflicting upon millions of other Americans, some of them might at least begin to glimpse, and perhaps even consider, the problems they are making worse, from some angle other than an angle of shallow, superficial, unthinking denial.
And, in the years which will follow any such first attempt, the onslaught of environmental disasters will continue to grow worse . . . every year . . . year after year . . . at faster and faster rates, exactly as all the warnings, and all the true scientists, have been predicting, for decades, now.
When horrible real-world disasters begin happening at faster, and faster, and relentlessly faster rates, THAT is when a proposal such as the one above – even though it likely will be dismissed and attacked as being radical, offensive, un-diplomatic, or whatever, the first time or two that it is introduced – can and will begin to seem more and more moderate, and more and more reasonable, and more and more possible, every year. And THAT is the goal. Rather than being dismissed as a half-baked, quirky, quixotic effort that seems doomed to fail, this proposal needs to be seen, instead, as part of a longer and larger strategy. If the right type of seed is planted, in the right place, it can become a tree, within a few years. If Republicans in Congress have to begin worrying about whether THEY might somehow be subjected to the same types and levels of risks, threats, dangers, and damages that they are subjecting millions of OTHER people to . . . well, THAT is when they are most likely to actually begin to change the way they think.
And, if anyone can offer up any alternatives which they think might offer better ways to put serious and substantial pressure on the long-term thinking of Republican Congressmen, or Republican voters, then please, step forward, speak up, and share those ideas with the rest of us.
PROPOSED BILL, CONCERNING THE PENSIONS OF CONGRESSMEN WHO REFUSED TO HELP AMERICA GET READY FOR THE DISASTERS THAT ARE COMING AT US
My first draft of a proposal, for a provision which could be inserted into a larger bill that addresses global warming, could say something along the lines of:
Any member of Congress who has consistently refused to take reasonable steps to face up to the threats of global warming and sea level rise, will henceforth, from the day this law takes effect, have any and all of his/her pension payments invested solely and entirely in coastal properties. Because those members of Congress will have shown and proven, by their actions, that while they were in a position of power and responsibility: (i) they did not believe that global warming posed any real threat to America, of sufficient importance to be worth anticipating or responding to; and, (ii) they felt no sense of duty, while in Congress, to help America prepare for the damages that are now being caused by global warming and sea level rise . . . therefore . . . those members of Congress shall be required, by law, to submit to, and to endure, and to suffer, the same types of hardships they imposed upon over 100 million other Americans. As soon as any such member of Congress leaves Congress, he/she shall be required by law to move to a coastline, and to maintain a single residential home on that coastline, with no second homes or other living arrangements. If subsequent developments prove that the refusals by those former members of Congress -- to face up to reality, or to seriously evaluate and consider the warnings concerning global warming that were consistently offered to them over a span of multiple decades -- were horribly and egregiously mistaken, and showed extremely bad judgment . . . then, as an appropriate penalty for the damage they inflicted on America . . . those former members of Congress will have to watch their own homes be destroyed, and be swept away by rising oceans, as will also be happening to millions of innocent victims of their wrong‑doing. If those former members of Congress end up watching their own homes be flooded and washed away, then they are encouraged to contemplate, during those times, that what is happening to them – and to the legacy of what they did, during their time in power – is at least one form of justice, even though it will not be able to help any of the innocent people who are being hurt by the appalling lack of judgment and foresight, and by the recklessly ignorant and destructive acts they committed, while they were members of Congress.
Let me repeat that I have no delusions that any such provision like that is likely to be passed, and signed into law, within the next few years. What I am saying, instead, is that every Republican in Congress should be compelled to realize and accept that such a bill has already been introduced, in Congress, in complete seriousness and sincerity; and, after that step has already been taken once, those accursed Democrats are likely to include similar provisions, in any global warming bill that is ever filed, in every future session of Congress. And, as major disasters (including the total loss and destruction of the entire state of Florida) begin to prove -- beyond doubt or dispute -- how stupid, reckless, and short-sighted the Republicans in Congress were, for deliberately ignoring (for decades) every scientific warning about what was actually happening to our planet . . . well, some day, as the disasters continue to grow even worse, that type of provision, in one of those bills, might actually pass, and become law. And, if and when THAT ever happens . . . well . . .
WHY DEMOCRATS SHOULD SCHEDULE GLOBAL WARMING HEARINGS THIS YEAR, IN 2022
Finally, I would point out to any and all Democrats currently in Congress that it is, indeed, VERY MUCH in YOUR best interests, to begin holding hearings on global warming and climate change, NOW – THIS YEAR, WITHOUT DELAY.
There are TWO powerful (and, one would hope, fairly clear and obvious) reasons why:
(1) Voters need to have that information made public, THIS YEAR, so that they can make better‑informed decisions, when they must decide who to vote for, this coming November; and,
(2) If the current political polls hold up through Election Day, Democrats in BOTH houses might lose the power to call those types of hearings, AFTER November.
So . . . for BOTH reasons, the Democrats who control both houses of Congress, and who have enough power to call hearings, need to act NOW, rather than waiting until after the November elections.