This summer, we have seen a massive increase in the ravages of Climate Change – from non-stop days of 100-degree heat, cities hitting record temperature highs, vast wildfires in Canada so immense that they brought sky-blocking clouds of dust down into the United States, a crushing wildfire in Lahaina that wiped out much of the town, an unprecedented hurricane in Southern California and more.
I’ve figured out who is responsible for all the Climate Change problems.
Yes, yes, I know that Al Gore is considered one of the fathers who brought the “inconvenient truth” about Climate Change to the attention of the American public. But despite that, he is the person who I think it is to blame for the ongoing problem.
Actually, no, not “despite that,” but rather the cause of it.
For reasons unknown to their small minds, Republicans hate Al Gore. Viscerally hate Al Gore. Still. It comes from the period when Republicans were really beginning to hate individual Democrats with an overwhelming, red-hot passion for the main reason being that they were individual Democrats. (Reasons, like "he's too slick" and "she doesn't like to make cookies," were always just a convenient peg to hang the hate on.) It may have started with Bill and Hillary Clinton, but it built to Al Gore and since then they’ve turned it into an art form, where Barack Obama was apparently an agent of the devil, and they now want to impeach President Biden without exactly being able to give you an impeachable reason why.
Al Gore was always generally considered a bit bland and wooden, so he seems a weird choice to hate so virulently. Perhaps daring to run for president and getting more national votes than George W. Bush and most-probably winning the election was a starting point for hating him so much. Then his receiving the Nobel Prize. And then having his documentary film An Inconvenient Truth win the Oscar only served as a strong foundation on which to keep building their hate.
(I had reason to work with Al Gore on a project in 2008, a proposed radio series for Westwood One, in which he’d discuss environmental stories daily, each episode about 90 seconds. I was to be the writer, and we recorded about half a dozen episodes. It got about 200 stations to sign up and raised around $2 million, but that wasn’t enough to justify going forward – it was to me! But I wasn’t asked…– and so the project ended there. I’ll just add that Al Gore was anything but bland and wooden. He was an incredibly smart guy, who was thoughtful, occasionally funny, very interesting and came across personably.)
And so, whatever their small-minded, early-fascist reasons, Republicans hated Al Gore and ridiculed him. Ridiculed him for most anything he did and said. And when he became the leading voice in the U.S. – and one of the leading voices around the world – about the existential dangers of Climate Change, Republicans had a knee-jerk reaction that We Must Dismiss This as a Hoax and Insist it Does Not, Not, Not Exist Because and Specifically Because It is from Al Gore.
And ever since then, Republicans have buried their collective heads in the mud about Climate Change. It not only was a threat to the Almighty God of Oil which Republicans seem to believe they must protect at all costs, but it was a threat to Life as We Know It because the warning came from Al Gore.
Any time subsequent proposals or laws came up to address Climate Change, Republicans have risen to do their best to block them.
When there was a massive, unprecedented hurricane, flood or fire, it was never because of Climate Change to Republicans. Rather, at least according to Pat Robertson, it was God punishing the liberals who live there. (Never mind all the conservatives who lived there to. God, apparently, in Pat Robertson World, couldn’t differentiate.)
When Trump took office, he actually pulled the United States out of the Paris Accord, becoming one of only three nations in the entire world that weren’t involved with trying to find solutions to the dangers of Climate Change that every other nation in the world (none of which turn out to have Al Gore as a citizen) accepted. The other countries two were Nicaragua and Syria – impressive company to be in. (The U.S. rejoined under President Biden.)
When there were monumental wildfires burning throughout liberal California and the Pacific Northwest in 2018, Republicans didn’t see them as being caused by Climate Change. Instead, their leader Trump blamed them (quite literally) on not sweeping the forests well enough.
When Ron DeSantis was a congressman, and Hurricane Sandy pummeled the Northeast, he voted against federal aid to the liberals of New York and New Jersey. (Never mind all the conservatives who lived there...) Though now that he’s governor of Florida, and a tree crashed at his residence, he did accept federal emergency funding for the devastation caused by Hurricane Idalia. Though, in fairness, he did refuse to meet with the liberal President Biden.
The new, empty poster boy of the GOP, Vivek Ramasawmy, said at the recent Republican debate that he believed Climate Change was a hoax. And more than that, he bizarrely, reprehensibly and dangerously claimed that more people have died from Climate Change policies than from Climate Change itself. Tell that to the 1,000 people alone who just perished in Lahaina. And all those who have died from hurricanes, wildfires and floods over the recent years. And probably the none who have died from policies. And never mind the many billions of dollars spent repairing the destroyed infrastructure and results of all the devastation. And not one Republican on the presidential debate stage told him he was bizarre, reprehensible and dangerous – and wrong. And nuts.
This Republican ignoring of Climate Change been ongoing, and the specter of Al Gore permeates every bit of it. After all, if Republicans accept Climate Change, then it means that crazy, awful Al Gore has been right from the first.
Republicans simply don’t believe in Climate Change. Not grasping that science is not a belief system. And they close their eyes to the realities of it around them.
And so temperatures rise, ice caps melt, winter storms increase, record low temperatures hit, wildfires increase, unrelenting 100-degree days follow one another, record high temperatures hit, the strength and frequency of hurricanes increase, tornados increase, floods increase and on and on and on… As people die. And homes and structures and communities are destroyed.
But Republicans don’t believe in Climate Change. It’s just all part of a “cycle.” It’s natural, all this devasting heat, freezing, hurricanes, floods, wildfires and tornados around the world. Just ignore it, this too will pass -- along with lakes, reservoirs, towns and crops.
The odd thing about all this refusal is that (other than acknowledging that Al Gore has been right), there’s almost no downside to accepting the reality of Climate Change. Only that oil company profits eventually will go down -- in several decades. But even if it magically turned out that Climate Change was really just a fantasy and temporary, and all the efforts to address it weren’t necessary, society would still have built up new industries to make Mankind self-reliant and created hundreds of thousands new jobs and brought down the costs of energy and made the United States energy independent. And that’s if everyone was wrong about Climate Change! Now, instead, imagine – and understand – that science and scientists are right, and with it all the benefits to helping save humanity.
But Republicans don’t, won’t, can’t, will not let themselves “believe” in Climate Change.
I blame Al Gore. I think it’s all his fault why Republicans are scared to admit that he was right and are willing to let civilization burn and then freeze and be destroyed. It’s so on-brand for them.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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