Climate change is not my issue. I don’t know enough about the science to form a solid opinion. Had I been permitted to remain within the liberal left, I’d no doubt be mindlessly backing Team Gore. That is, I would have, had Team Gore and the Democratic Party not made the mistake of amply demonstrating its cynical perfidy when it comes to issues I do know and care about.
A story for another day (or, let’s face it, for just about all my other days): at the moment, I’d like to reprise my Stewardess Metaphor for those who might have missed it.
“Stewardess” by the way, is what we called “Flight Attendants” when I was young. I did a lot of flying as a child and didn’t like it. Like Christine Blasey Ford, I don’t like it a whole lot now either. I am prone to motion sickness and, as I’ve gotten older and seen too many statistically-unlikely tragedies come to pass, the possibility that I might fall out of the sky, or die in a fiery mid-air explosion seems less remote.
To soothe my fear of flying, therefore, I’ve learned to watch the stewardess. She, after all, flies all the time. She’s accustomed to the skies, friendly and unfriendly. Okay, she isn’t actually a pilot, but she is the visible on-board expert, the Al Gore of Air Travel.
So if we encounter turbulence — if the ridiculous cigar tube we’ve all allowed ourselves to be stuffed into begins to bounce merrily amongst the clouds — I peel open my squinched-shut eyes and look to her. If the stewardess is still chatting amiably with the Disney-bound family in the third row or preparing the beverage cart even as we bump and slide, I figure all is well.
If, on the other hand, she’s strapped herself tightly into her special stewardess seat, her knuckles white as mine, her lips twitching in silent prayer, I’ll know my fear is justified. If she assumes the crash position, I’ll believe that time is running out.
Here’s my problem with climate change: everyone from “turn back the rising seas” Obama to the pastor of my local liberal church will eagerly assure me that Science has proved that the end is nigh; climate change isn’t just happening but is imminent. We or our children are about to witness the mother of all fiery crash-and-burns unless we repent and turn from our sinful ways. Time is running out. It was running out in 1989, then again in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2014, 2015…
It’s as if we’re on the plane — eating our pretzels, pecking at our laptops, trying to keep our toddlers entertained — and periodically the stewardess announces that the plane is about to tumble to the ground in flames and we’re all going to die. Then she brings the drink cart around, starts the in-flight movie, and goes back to her argument with the other stewardess about who forgot to put toilet paper in the first-class loo, or whether a businessman should be able to have three olives in his complementary martini.
This week, even as the long, national nightmare of the Kavanaugh Circus (#BelieveWomen and #Abortion) was staggering toward its conclusion, our self-designated planetary stewardess Al Gore grabbed the loudspeaker long enough to alert us all to the UN’s extra-special super-urgent report on the climate.
“Today the world’s leading scientific experts collectively reinforced what Mother Nature has made clear [presumably by throwing an earthquake in Indonesia?] – that we need to undergo an urgent and rapid transformation to a global clean energy economy,” he said. “However, time is running out, so we must capitalize and build upon the solutions available today. Solving the climate crisis requires vision and leadership,” Gore said before attacking President Donald Trump.
Got that? Time is running out. We’re all going to die! But what have those with Vision and Leadership (e.g., the men and women of Gore’s party) been soberly debating in the hallowed (and harpy-haunted) halls of Congress?
Boofing. The secret meanings of puerile scribblings in high school yearbooks. How much beer and stupidity was normal at college parties circa 1984. Whether someone relentlessly accused of ever more absurd and disgusting crimes in front of his wife, daughters and America should find the experience infuriating.
Given the Visionary Leaders habitual attitude toward inconvenient sex abuse survivors, it’s hard to believe it was about #believing women. Frankly, I doubt they #believed (or gave a damn about) Christine Blasey Ford.
So for what urgent cause was an evidently decent man insulted, his family humiliated and America’s time wasted? Was Kavanaugh the one thing standing between our doomed selves and climactic salvation?
Of course not. Long before the vaguely wounded Dr. Ford made her appearance before the Judiciary Committee to publicly insert “Brett” between the vast lacunae of her memory, frantic protesters were shrieking anathemas from the gallery, inveigling cops into “arresting” them outside, and inundating Senator Collins’s office with threats and coat hangers. Not big-eyed polar bears or simulacra of our ravaged planet. Coat hangers.
Shouldn’t those with Vision and Leadership — Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, the pathetically persistent Hillary — have been using this precious time, their precious (and dwindling) moral capital to persuade us all to support what the IPCC admitted would be the high costs of this necessary global transition from fossil fuels to wind and solar?
Why wasn’t Maxine Waters urging her followers to “create a crowd” and “push back on” oil company executives or, for that matter, Chinese, Indian, and European nationals in restaurants, departments stores, gas stations … “wherever we have to show up” and “tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere?”
Why hasn’t Jimmy Kimmel called for the castration of European coal plant managers; why doesn’t Kathy Griffin symbolically decapitate the leaders of the Energy Union, given that their own website reveals that the EU’s priories of energy security and economic competitiveness trump climate change? Why aren’t the screaming social justice warriors clawing at the locked doors of the Chinese embassy?
Whatever happened to Dr. Ford (Trauma or drama? Pathos or bathos?) and whatever might or might not happen to Roe v. Wade, how can this possibly compare with the fierce urgency of this planetary Now?
The flight crew is standing around in the galley, making nasty remarks about the passengers and taking the best snacks for themselves while the plane is about to crash into the rising, increasingly acidic, all-but-boiling sea.
Or, to put it another way, the Democrats are making it so abundantly clear that just about everything—black lives, abortion, sexual assaults on left-leaning women, transgender bathrooms, gun control, illegal immigrants — matters much, much more than climate change. When the Pew Research Organization surveyed voters before the 2016 elections, it was very clear that Clinton voters could barely bring themselves to mention “environmental issues” when abortion and the Supreme Court — presented separately by Pew though clearly linked — were on the line. NBC News offered viewers a helpful guide to The Ten Big Issues before the presidential debates: Climate change didn’t make the list.
There are subjects I know a lot about. Climate change is not one of them. But if the world is going to end, the people who do know and claim to believe need to walk the walk their talk implies. I need to see some white knuckles and mumbled prayers. I need to see Al Gore arranging teleconferences from his yurt, not luxury Davos getaways from his beachfront mansion; I need to see the Democratic Party setting aside the issues that can only be important when and if the world is not about to end.
The Climate Change deniers can go ahead and make abortion a priority. In the absence of imminent global disaster, why wouldn’t the (im)morality of deliberately killing human fetuses go to the top of the list? They are likewise free to focus on the economy, criminal justice reform, shrinking the size of government, reducing the tax burden … whatever they like, really.
But the self-anointed must make a choice. Either the plane is going down — in which case literally everything else is unimportant — or the plane is fine and flying, and Al Gore, et al., have been using climate change the way apocalyptics always do: as a means of dividing them from us, sinners from saints, those whose lives matter and those who lives don’t.