Editorial: Climate, Biden, Trump and the hate today’s politics incites
Like the rain in Vermont these past two weeks, signs of climate change are everywhere. From record heat waves to record rainfall, melting icecaps to Canadian forest fires so extensive the residual smoke from 1,000s of miles away has become a health concern up and down the East Coast. Almost no one and no place is safe from its effects.
Even worse, the consequences of our neglect have just started. We’re on the edge of weather systems that will become increasing destructive and deadly.
And yet a majority of Republicans in this country remain in denial and support candidates who promote policies and actions that continue to pour carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Just a year ago, on Aug. 16, 2022, President Biden and a Democratic led Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act marking the most significant action Congress has taken on clean energy and climate change in the nation’s history. Among many other things, the law is spurring a wave of manufacturing and clean-energy projects across the country.
While the bill didn’t attain everything Biden had hoped and compromise was necessary — and much more needs to be done — it set the nation on the right course after ex-President Trump had tried his best for four years to undercut clean-energy initiatives while championing every measure to increase fossil fuel production he could. But it’s not just Trump. Biden recently noted that every single Republican congressman, in the House or Senate, had voted against the bill and the initiatives to create an energy system less reliant on fossil fuels.
A blogger who writes a weekly missive on politics called “Jay’s Newsletter” captured the Republicans’ conundrum as the evidence of a warming climate becomes unavoidable and an increasing number of voters understand the human connection and the Republican’s denial of it.
“Imagine a party,” he writes, “being so screwed up that you have to publicly hate obviously good things or else you get ostracized. What a cesspool.”
He goes on to write a direct missive to the MAGA wing of the party: “Dear right wingers: Donald Trump didn’t lower your taxes. He didn’t get your roads fixed or your bridges built. He didn’t get you healthcare coverage, lower the price of your subscriptions, decrease the deficit, end the opioid crisis, revive the coal industry, he didn’t make COVID disappear, didn’t make Mexico pay for the wall, didn’t put ‘America First’ and he sure as hell didn’t drain the swamp. So, when you say he fought for you, you mean he validated your hate… He hates who you hate.”
Admittedly, that’s a harsh assessment, but the GOP’s maniacal desire to cling to Trump’s nonsensical rantings, and their rejection of Biden’s accomplishments, is hard to reconcile otherwise.
Consider, as the newsletter continues, an objective list of accomplishments during Biden’s first two and half years in office:
“Job market is the best it’s been in over 50 years; gas prices have dropped below pre-Covid prices; American Rescue Plan prevented economic collapse creating over 13 million jobs; the bipartisan infrastructure law, the Chips Act and the Inflation Reduction Act have strengthened the economy immensely; got inflation under control more-so than any other developed nation and have some 35,000 infrastructure projects underway (improving the nation’s) Internet, solar energy capacity, roads, bridges, rail, IT projects and more; passed the first bipartisan gun safety law in more than 30 years; has kept Ukraine from being taken over by Russia,” and his foreign policy has re-established the United States as the leading democratic force in the world respected by our allies and foes alike.
The list is Bidenomics in action, measures that move the nation forward and bolster the middleclass. Meanwhile, MAGA Republicans are focused on banning books, squashing reproductive rights for women and other culture war shenanigans.
Consider also that while Republicans stand in the way of saner gun laws that could ban military style rapid assault weapons, Biden’s Chip Act has poured roughly $53 million in federal funding to manufacture semiconductor chips in the U.S. instead of relying on China to produce them.
Inflation? Yes the nation has struggled, but it’s a global issue for the past two years caused by the worldwide pandemic, disruption to supply chains and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And out of 195 countries about 80 have had higher inflation and another 30 are just as high. And it’s dropping quickly; from a peak of 9.1% to 3.5% and falling.
Here are other facts: illegal border crossings are down 70% in May 2023; lower drug prices have been enacted for seniors; those needing insulin are seeing lower prices; gasoline prices are down $1.40 on average from their peak a year ago.
What’s odd is that many Republicans aren’t aware of those accomplishments or just choose to dismiss them as propaganda. That’s because the Fox News machine, along with other conservative media outlets, don’t tell that side of the story objectively.
That leaves moderate Republicans and conservative Independents searching for answers and a party they can believe in.
We sympathize. When the powers you’ve trusted for so long go sour, it’s hard to believe in anything.
But here’s a first step — turn off cable news and don’t get your news via social media. Instead read your choice of material. Read something conservative; read something progressive or moderate. Read enough to become informed on the issues.
It’s a simple suggestion, though hard to do. It requires effort to read; discipline to stay with it; willpower to avoid lapsing back into the allure of partisan hacks on television who are keen on pushing your buttons to incite what riles you. Ironically, if you avoid getting sucked into the anger they incite, you’ll not only see things more objectively, but you’ll be a happier person as well — and it’s the only way the country can move forward on the pressing issues we face, including climate change.
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