I’m writing this in Texas, where we have really rather unprecedented weather. It is wetter here than it has been in ages, and yet periods of monsoon-like rain are interspaced with brutal days of extreme heat.
But we’re lucky. Other states, particularly in the West, are being truly hammered by the heat. Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah are in something very much like hell, with temperatures in the triple digits everywhere. Oh, and British Columbia, which I think of as the quintessence of medium cool, is similarly affected.
And mind you, this is no quirk of the weather. This is not something for a few headlines followed by “things getting back to normal.” This is serious. This is deadly. People are dying. According to the Washington Post, “In Oregon, Washington and western Canada, authorities are investigating more than 800 deaths potentially linked to the punishing heat.”*
To hear this and see a bit of animation, click above.
That is a lot of people to die. And more of them are going to die in future, unless we take global warming seriously and start taking action. We are going to be even more strict on carbon emissions, and we are going to have to start getting people out of areas that are going to become uninhabitable very soon…whether because of heat or flooding or whatever.
Ah, but there’s the rub. What do we see the Republican Party doing in the face of these very real dangers…dangers which are, as they say, clear and present?
Well, we see Republican Senators, Representatives, and State Legislators freaking out… about Critical Race Theory (CRT), which most of them can’t define. And Antifa, which they can’t define either. And QAnon, which nobody can define.
They are focusing, in other words, on culture wars, which may be satisfying, but which have nothing to do with the genuine threats of our time.
Why are they doing this? Because, frankly, it gets votes and it’s cheap and easy. You don’t have to do anything. You just make a few impassioned speeches, issue a couple of press releases to Fox and One America News or whoever, and then go home and count your campaign donations.
By contrast, actually doing something about the problem would involve, oh, all sorts of hard work. You’d have to continue to cut greenhouse emissions, and invest in dams and seawalls, and help threatened communities move somewhere else…and, to pay for it all, raise taxes on billionaires, which would annoy them. All of which, btw, won’t gain you any complimentary editorials from Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. In fact, it is going to lose you votes…at least from the sort of people who don’t want to believe in things like global warming, or climate change, and who would much rather spend their time worrying about QAnon and Satanic Pedophilic Lizard Aliens operating underneath D.C. pizza shops…which have no basements.
So, that being the case, and given the fact the GOP doesn’t seem to be particularly motivated to change its behavior…and continues to find good old-fashioned hard work unappealing…then we can assume that the Republicans in Congress and government will continue to do nothing, and to obstruct any Democrats or independents who try to do something idiotic like, I don’t know, their jobs.
Which is to say that for so long as the GOP behaves as it does presently…people will continue to die.
But why should we be surprised by that? The Party of Trump stood by and watched, seemingly unconcerned, while at least half a million Americans perished from Covid. Compared to that, what’s a mere 800 more?
What is all the world…all life on earth…vanished and dead…
So long as it costs them nothing? And requires no heavy lifting?
Until next time…
Onward and Upward
Copyright©2021 Michael Jay Tucker
* “Climate change has gotten deadly. It will get worse.” By Sarah Kaplan, The Washington Post, July 3, 2021|Updated July 6, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. EDT, https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/07/03/climate-change-heat-dome-death/