Ultimately, global climate change is the singular issue of our time. Oh, there are lots of other issues vying for near-term center stage, and I have opinions about most of them. Income inequality threatens our way of life in the West; police violence and the larger police state formation issues are crucial to the underlying justice of our culture; women’s right to govern their own health and rule their own bodies is under renewed and vicious attack which must be repelled.
But when I think about the Big Political Questions, I like to ask myself “In 100 years, how much difference will this make?” And judged against that yardstick, every single issue other than global climate change pales. Because the simple truth is that the human destruction that is being caused and will continue to be caused — and to rapidly escalate — by the horrific damage we have been doing to the planet for the past century or more will reduce the human population by a huge amount, perhaps rendering us extinct in far less time than most of us think or believe.
So if we’re not even around in a century or two, how much real difference will it make if we continue income inequality, violence, ridiculous human rights violations, and a thousand other “bad things” we encounter? Sadly, not much.
That’s why I’ve become a single issue voter who defaults to progressive parties and politics on all the other issues. I demand that any party or politico seeking my support be crystal clear in its/her/his/their support for all the drastic action necessary to reduce the long-term impacts of climate change and I don’t much care what they do on any other issue.
In the two-headed monstrosity that was a so-called “debate” last night among 17 people who want to stand as the Republican Party’s nominee for President in 2016, the question of global climate change received essentially zero attention. Of course, that didn’t matter for a number of reasons, not the least of which is we already know where all of these would-be leaders stand. They see global climate change as a hoax which, even if it’s real, is a natural occurrence and has nothing to do with human conduct and is therefore something about which we cannot do anything.
By its conduct and its stance on this one issue, the GOP has disqualified itself from any consideration whatsoever for my support for the foreseeable future. I know; they don’t care. They didn’t have it to begin with (though I have on occasion voted for Republicans where I thought the GOP candidate superior to the others). I’m a progressive, so there’s no room in the GOP tent for me. And they don’t care about me, either, because I’m not like them.
But they need to get the message. And they will eventually, as they see their beachfront properties disappear and their inland properties become the new beachfronts. Maybe then, when their billion-dollar investments and their multi-million dollar mansions are under water, they’ll wake up. But probably not. They’ll probably just ask for a government bailout, which they’ll receive from the Congress they own.
Ultimately, though, humanity loses if the GOP and other climate deniers win.