September 2016
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GOP's mindset is hard to fathom

By Peter Miesler

On July 19, Ben Adler at grist.org reported on the GOP Platform’s environmental goals, compiling a list of 11 highlights. Republicans want to:

• Cancel the Clean Power Plan

• Abolish the EPA as we know it, or, barring that, “Forbid the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide”

• Stop environmental regulatory agencies from settling lawsuits out of court

• Revoke the ability of the president to designate national monuments • “Oppose any carbon tax”

• Kill what minimal federal fracking regulations exist

• Expedite export terminals for liquefied natural gas

• Turn federal lands over to states.

• Halt funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (IPCC)

• Build the Keystone XL pipeline and more like it.

What’s up with the GOP’s seething hostility towards our own government? If not our current government, what is the alternative? Regional power struggles? The real problem with our government is the outside power-brokers who are only concerned with their own immediate self-interest.

State governments are easier to own by ruthless interests, so where would that leave We the People’s interests when it comes to divvying up the last of our unmolested landscapes?

Then there is that adolescent GOP contempt for regulations. Can’t we be a bit pragmatic? What would driving be like without regulations? Regulations are necessary for a structured society and to protect people, property and our well-being.

Also, let’s not forget we exist in an increasingly crowded country and world. Everyone’s self-interest steps on someone else’s self-interest. A healthy society requires give and take, mutual respect, a touch of empathy and rules of order. This GOP rejection of rules, mixed with xenophobia and hostile absolutism, can only lead to breakdown and chaos. Unfortunately it seems that’s exactly what some of them are after.

Every bit as incomprehensible is the GOP’s hostility towards our Earth’s environment. It’s as if they still haven’t figured out that our complex society would be impossible without Earth’s bounties. Their fossil-fuel obsession seems to blind them to everything else going on upon our planet.

This fossil-fuel addiction is significantly increasing our planet’s atmospheric insulation, thereby warming, energizing and altering the climate system upon which we depend. But they continue to deny that with a faith-blinded ferocity that beats all. Pursuit of profits is apparently all they have eyes for. The GOP platform’s preamble offers no better than:

“The pursuit of opportunity has defined America from our very beginning. This is a land of opportunity. The American Dream is a dream of equal opportunity for all. And the Republican Party is the party of opportunity. Today, that American Dream is at risk. Our nation faces unprecedented uncertainty with great fiscal and economic challenges, and under the current Administration has suffered through the longest and most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. …”

Empty bromides and stupefying claims. Our “opportunities” are founded on our resource-rich lands, not someone’s moxie! The 2008 crash was created under eight years of the Bush/Cheney Administration, not that plenty of Democrats don’t share blame, but Obama? Really?

This dramatizes the real problem, the Republican refusal to recognize their own mistakes, so we remain in cycles of destructive choices leading to more destructive choices.

Every couple years we have a congressional election. It’s about the only time the average U.S. citizen’s opinion actually matters and it’s amazing how many rational American citizens pass on their privilege and duty – then wonder why our government is going the wrong way.

Every other election it’s big time, when the Executive Branch of our government is at stake. Our democracy’s survival demands an informed and engaged citizenry. Where are you?

This year it matters more than ever. At least to us who believe in rationalism and confronting challenges with learning about and understanding the situation at hand – then working in cooperation with others to deal with it.

Sen. Bernier Sanders’ fans would do well to understand that only if Clinton becomes the President will Sanders be able to wield the power of his supporters’ convictions as they give strength to his voice. Remember Mr. Sanders understands the nut and bolts of government like few others. He has also shown humility and realism, he shunned the pull of demagoguery where others have fallen. He is a man of substance and constructive pragmatism, a man capable of going the long haul. He could be a force to be reckoned with. But only if his supporters now make the effort to vote for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic ticket.

I’m not saying Democrats have all the answers; they certainly don’t, and yes, they are as trapped within the world of super-donors and lobbyists as Republicans are.

But they are the only show in town!

At least Democrats acknowledge the need for fact-based learning and that matters a great deal as the GOP sinks ever deeper into delusion and a worldview that’s profoundly disconnected from our down-to-Earth realities.

This year’s presidential election can be boiled down to one question: “Do you believe dogmatic faith should trump objective observation, evidence and learning?” You must realize a vote for Mr. Trump, or a no-show, is a vote for facade and hostility-laced bluster over thoughtful substance and constructive engagement.

Peter Miesler writes from near Durango, Colo., and hosts a blog that confronts climate science contrarians. http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com.


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