America was just attacked by forces far greater than anything Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda could ever have mustered. Maybe we can respond with the Navy SEALs or a drone attack. No doubt the proper response will be to bomb the Atlantic Ocean or at least Iran into submission.
Gov. Cuomo of New York State said, ” don’t call it ‘global warming’ because you trigger a whole political debate.” Here’s his remark in full as quoted in the New York Times:
“’They call it the hundred-year flood, because it’s only supposed to happen every hundred years,’ Mr. Cuomo said. ‘I told President Obama, we have a hundred-year flood every two years.’
“The existence of climate change is, in overwhelming scientific consensus, accepted as fact, despite near silence about it in the presidential campaigns; the extent of its connection to extreme weather events remains a much-less-settled matter.
“’I don’t call it ‘global warming’ because you trigger a whole political debate,” Mr. Cuomo said. “But the frequency of extreme weather is going way up.’”
According to evangelical Christians, Fox News, the Republican Party, the Koch brothers, Exxon Mobil global warming is not real. And if it is then it has nothing to do with human activities, say coal-fired electric plants, internal combustion engines spewing carbon into the atmosphere or anything else that makes corporate America lots of money. The scientists are all wrong! The preachers and oil executives are right!
There’s a certain irony in the fact that the most heavily damaged area of Manhattan (below 28th St.) is the same area that suffered the harshest consequences when the twin trade towers fell on 9/11. There’s an even greater irony in the fact that 5000-plus dead Americans later, 50,000 injured Americans later, 250,000 dead Iraqis later, two 10 year-plus wars later, $4 trillion spent later, the most devastating “attack” on New York City took the form of nature revenging herself on Wall Street.
This just happened in the most literal way imaginable: putting Wall Street underwater. Of course there’s no “poetic justice” intended by noting this since every American who drives a car, including me, and all consumers are in this together. We’re the cause, not Wall Street.
That said here’s a rich historical coincidence of lack of foresightedness in the fact that lower Manhattan was first settled by the greedy Wall Street-style Dutch East/West India trading Company, a slave trading worldwide network of early capitalists that would have warmed Mitt Romney’s heart. They were the first manifestation of modern-era corporate organised greed. And it’s the Dutch East/West India’s part of town (they first settled lower Manhattan) that is both the epicenter of modern day Wall Street rape-the-economy and rape-the-earth greed and the latest incontrovertible proof that not only is global warming real but that our entire economic way of life is now being threatened by our own stupidity.
Had the money spent by George W. Bush on two useless wars he put on the national credit card been spent on science education, infrastructure renewal, preparing our coastal cities for the effects of global warming, combating severe weather and rising ocean levels– we would now be 10 years ahead of the curve. Instead we were caught asleep, in much the same way as W Bush ignored warnings of bin Laden’s attack.
While we Americans have been concentrating on killing our Muslim extremist enemies via drone attack, Navy SEAL incursions and plugging on fighting 2 lost wars, the real threat facing our country has nothing to do with Arabs, defending the State of Israel, the return of Jesus, our culture wars, the legality of abortion, gay marriage, the Republican party, the Democratic Party, who sits in the White House or anything else we’ve been concentrating on. It has to do with the fact that billions of human beings have raped our planet and have turned nature on its head through climate change. And the world has raped and is raping our planet imitating our style of consumption, pillage and “free market” individualism. For instance China is just doing what we showed them how to do.
But don’t worry. Evangelical preachers assure us that everything is in God’s hands. Fox News tells us that only socialists, Muslim black Kenyan not-real-American-presidents, communist, homosexuals and the like could believe in something as unpatriotic as climate change.
So let’s power forward to even greater military spending! Let’s all carry guns and protect the Second Amendment! Let’s stop gay marriage equality! Let’s make sure that science is no longer taught in schools because it challenges our Christian faith! Let’s discourage our children from going to universities where they might be challenged to believe in science and (God forbid!) evolution! Let’s homeschool millions of American kids on evangelical/fundamentalist curricula to protect them from reality! Let’s watch Fox News, blame Arabs for all our troubles, gear up our defense budget, defend the state of Israel some more, prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon!
And let’s do all this while sitting on the edge of an ecological disaster whose first taste we’re just now being smashed in the head with.
Will the last Republican-voting, science-denying, Fox News-watching, fact-hating evangelical living in a coastal region please turn out the lights when Jesus does not come back but a wall of water does?
More than ever we need a strong federal government. More than ever the Republican Party’s “vision” of individualism trumping community looks idiotic. More than ever we need a centralized, coordinated response to global warming, rising oceans and the real defense of our borders. Arabs and Mexicans aren’t the threat: our planet is.
This calamity dwarfs the scope of 9/11 and stands as a rebuke to the fools who have believed the oil company’s version of reality, the evangelical’s version of reality, Fox News’ version of reality instead of the facts. Those facts are now filling the subway system of New York with water.
This is the truth: individuals are doomed when they don’t work together.
And working together on a scale that can reverse climate change means strong government. A strong human response to danger is always collective. We need each other.
And we need to listen to the scientists, not to the preachers and oil companies or to the Republicans. If there was any justice in this world we’d find a way to send the bill for post-Sandy reconstruction and losses to Exxon, Mitt Romney and your local evangelical mega church pastor.
We have a last dwindling chance to change course. It’s time to take it. And in the light of the 2012 election, more than ever we need someone in the White House — and rational people in Congress and the Senate — whose feet are planted firmly on the earth rather than in the La, La Land of right wing disinformation and denial.
Sandy is a wake-up call. Wake-the-fuck-up!
P.S. On a personal note: How different the worldwide image of American evangelical Christianity would have been if evangelicals had read, listened to and acted upon Francis Schaeffer’s (my late evangelical leader father’s) book, Pollution and the Death of Man (first published in 1970) instead of following his later lead into the religious right! To think– evangelicals could have become known for defending the planet against greed and for presenting a gospel rooted in science and environmentalism rather than becoming known for fighting against women’s rights, gay rights and even for rooting for the destruction of the planet in the name of free enterprise. Too bad.
As Dad wrote: “…[T]he hippies of the 1960s did understand something. They were right in fighting the plastic culture, and the church should have been fighting it too… More than this, they were right in the fact that the plastic culture – modern man, the mechanistic worldview in university textbooks and in practice, the total threat of the machine, the establishment technology, the bourgeois upper middle class – is poor in its sensitivity to nature… As a Utopian group, the counterculture understands something very real, both as to the culture as a culture, but also as to the poverty of modern man’s concept of nature and the way the machine is eating up nature on every side.”
(Pollution and the Death of Man, Chapter 2)
So much for Dad only being a “leader of the religious right”!
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