The New Normal
One of the few benefits I’ve found associated with old age is that I remember more things than say, David Gregory, forgets each Sunday morning. For the first twenty years or so of my life, this mountain was covered in snow year-round; for the last ten, during which I have monitored it daily from my living room, the snow is gone sooner, and for longer periods, each year. This picture was taken yesterday, the latest Mt. Hood has been snowless in my whole, misspent life.
The palpable, glaring, obviousness of global warming has paradoxically coincided with its utter disappearance from the political dialogue, even as every American over 40 can plainly see it with their own eyes. Wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, northward invasions of freeze-averse pests, and crop failures fall on already struggling Americans like acid rain, fulfilling the direst prophesies of the scientists decades ahead of schedule, and yet the only mention of it in the 2012 campaign was by Romney, to mock its very existence.
Both candidates tried to outdo each other in their fealty to Big Carbon, and this is no accident. Like all of the most odious pursuits of government that have subtly or not become “bipartisan” in recent years, from gun rights to war powers, from civil liberties to elite immunity from lawbreaking, startlingly authoritarian and punitive government has been systematically sold to the public like Cialis, minus the bathtubs, by those who stand to gain from it. And yet such a mind-numbingly dangerous power grab, one which directly endangers the future of humanity, is treated as a he said/she said kerfuffle by a dimwitted and compromised media.
But say what you will about the whiny thieves on Wall Street, the grabby military contractors, conscience-free weapons dealers, and fascistic “law enforcement” snoopers, they and the politicians who serve them have children, too, so why do all they care so little that the planet they inhabit will soon be unrecognizable, due to their willful negligence? What good is a car elevator when the damn thing floods every winter? Once the groundwater is all poisoned by fracking, and the snowmelt is gone, too, what will they use to lavishly hydrate themselves, as Paul Ryan seems so fond of doing?
Most of the landmark environmental laws that have, generally, at least, brought us to a place where rivers no long catch fire, were strikingly bipartisan in their day, signed by none other than Richard Nixon, and yet now both parties agree that our environment must be fed into the insatiable maw of the Free Market, and there’s pretty much nothing those of us who care about the future can do about it. Of all that is tragic and dispiriting about this election, and there’s plenty, the bipartisan silence about climate change is the one that will go down in history, and not in a good way.