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Extremism in Defense of the Planet

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“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The Nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

I might have agreed with Dr. King’s statement when I was a teenager during the Vietnam War, but it’s nothing that would have been ascribed to me as an adult.

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

Dr. King

Like many people, I have been taught to be wary of extremists. Stick to the center, stray neither to the right nor to the left, and you won’t get yourself in trouble. People won’t respect you if you stray from the comfortable middle. You won’t be listened to.

Unless you are an athlete or an energy drink, you don’t want to be viewed as extreme.

When I worked in environmental messaging and communications on Capitol Hill, we learned that the best way to side-line someone was to label them as an extremist. “Out of step” is a good phrase. Likewise, industry PR reps labeled all environmentalists as extremists — “elitist tree-huggers who want everyone to freeze in the dark.” We tried hard to represent ourselves as mainstream. Just a bunch of soccer Moms over here…what, you think I hug trees or something?? (I do, get over it.)

I’ve noticed that right-wing commentators are even calling the National Rifle Association “extreme” and “out of step” these days. Curiouser and curiouser.

In Praise of Imbalance

Last night in my spiritual book group, we got to talking about whether or not we can really make a difference in the world. Should we focus on our inner growth, become the best humans we can be, and trust that this will make the world a healthier place? Is it better to march in demonstrations and wave signs? Do you have to go to Africa and build an orphanage? Or is it the simpler things that count, like working at a soup kitchen or helping with Habitat for Humanity?

“Balance,” several intoned, followed by much nodding.

This may true for individuals; I’m not sure. But I am sure that balance doesn’t help a society or a world that is badly in need of change. Balance doesn’t lead to change, it maintains the status quo. In order to move from the status quo, you’ve got to have people out on the edges tipping the scales. The type of people who go on hunger strikes, who march in the streets, who refuse to sit in the back of the bus.

The comfortable people in the middle won’t like these troublemakers on the edge; they knock things off kilter. They will label them:

Extremists.

Getting Out of Step

I’m headed for the edge. I’ve changed my mind about extremists — I’m with Dr. King.

Look where “the norm” has gotten us. If enough people don’t get “out of step” pretty damn quickly, our planet is in big trouble. It’s not enough to just vote anymore.

Hand holding a world on fire

The oil and gas industry has more money than God, and they are willing to spend whatever it takes to stop action on climate change. It is up to “we, the people” to make this change.

Even my former employer, the well-respected but slightly stodgy 120-year-old Sierra Club, has just announced that it will engage in civil disobedience because the time is so short and the stakes are so high.

Creative Extremism

I think that when Dr. King talked about “creative extremism,” he might have been talking about the kind of extremist that creates new things, builds towards a new vision, rather than simply deconstructing and criticizing.

It seems we finally have a leader willing to lead towards that kind of vision. In case you missed President Obama’s inaugural speech on Monday, he spent more time talking about climate change than any other issue:

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”

“The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

THANK GOD!

There’s going to be a huge climate rally in D.C. on February 17th. I’m going to make some signs and go act like an extremist. Will you join me?

Find out more about it here.

You can also make calls to help turn out other extremists — ahem, activists.

And check out this video:

America’s Suicidal Personality Disorder(s)

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“Your son and daughter are going to die in a car crash!” The short, red-faced man is poking his finger at me and standing way too close for comfort. This might feel like super-bad mojo if I had kids. It still feels a little crazy, as so many things do these days.

I had just left the grocery store and made a friendly comment to an older fellow on the sidewalk. “I love your overalls – you don’t see enough of them anymore.” He smiled, his chubby cheeks rounding. “Very practical,” he said.

From behind me, a voice said, “Pretty soon we’re all going to be dressed the same.”

“Excuse me?” I turned to see Short-Angry man hurrying to catch up to me.

“Yeah, in drab, gray jumpsuits like the Russians when the Communists took over.”

(I think he was talking about the Chinese, but hey, what’s the difference?)

I hope Obama still lets us wear heels!

“Oh,” I said, now understanding what I was dealing with. “I don’t see any indication of that. Now excuse me while I go get in my car over here with the Obama sticker.”

Short-Angry followed me to my car. “You know, he wants cars to get 50 miles-to-the-gallon!”

“Yeah, wouldn’t that be awesome?” I said. “We would get a lot more gas for our money.” I didn’t mention climate change or air pollution, not wanting to have to physically defend myself.

This is when he cursed my non-existent children. “Your son and daughter are going to die in a car crash! The cars will be made out of all light shit, and we’re all going to die!” This might not have been his words exactly, but I caught the gist and exclamation points as I closed and locked my car door.

I might have just chalked this up to some sort of mental imbalance, impulse control, whatever, except that I’ve been hearing and seeing so much of it lately.

It seems America has a raging personality disorder.

 

 

Diagnosing the Patient

I used to think it was pure Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Some of the characteristics used to identify NPD are vanity, conceit, extreme self-centeredness, arrogance, bravado, entitlement, grandiosity, and self-righteousness. In the extreme, this can result in exploitation of others, manipulation, isolation, and rage.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my country, but I do see signs of this disorder from time to time. It can be more or less apparent depending on who is president, but there’s a poisonous streak of it in our DNA, I think.

Poisonous Pride

Lately, I’ve come to believe that our diagnosis is more complicated. There’s a touch of Borderline Personality Disorder, surely. Swinging from one extreme to the other every election cycle, blaming others for our ills, and believing that our version of reality is the only possibility and anyone who doesn’t agree is evil or delusional. And worthy of a few drone attacks, or maybe going to Hell.

These days, there is a strong streak of Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as multiple personalities. Red state, blue state. The media feeds this – journalists are taught to look for conflict, not harmony. “The People,” though, are sick of it — even as we often engage in it ourselves. My finger is pointed at myself, here.

Suicidal Nation – Guns & Climate

Sadly, this combination of chronic disorders becomes seriously acute when gun control or climate change gets mentioned. This has literal life and death consequences.  We can’t get our fingers out of our ears and stop yelling, “Nyah, nyah” at each other long enough to stop our own suicide.

I don’t believe in climate change. What school shootings?

I’ve ranted on climate change in this space before. Today’s irrational, reality-denying, suicidal issue is gun control.

Setting aside the National Rifle Association going completely over the sanity cliff and the conspiracy theorists who say that Sandy Hook was a hoax, here is an authentic recent offering from a “Friend” of mine on Facebook:

“I’m talking about our government dictating what our rights are, taking them from us when the constitution guarantees them for us. Spouting it’s for our own good. Ok. Then… Outlaw cigarettes. They are cancer causing and addictive (and I don’t smoke so others shouldn’t either) No reason for them. Outlaw alcohol. This would eliminate drunk driving and related health issues (or did they try that already). Outlaw fast food. Causes obesity and no reason go it [sic] (I don’t eat it so I don’t care about it). Outlaw muscle cars and sports cars. They are designed to go faster then the national speed limit and have no place on the road. And since I don’t own a corvette or any other car like that then others shouldn’t either. Outlaw them all !!! I want the government to step in and regulate our lives, tell us where to go, what to eat, control what TV we watch and take that and the Internet also (yes, other countries control all of that). There is a huge band wagon out there which has spun as politically correct which everybody is jumping on… You better hope your [sic] right, and I want to see how every body [sic] who does jump on it reacts when the government we have strips you all of something you believe in… Let’s take religion. If the government feels like it wants to control how we pray, or if we can, or to who! How would you feel. It’s in the construction [constitution], but hey, that can be changed apparently. And Obama is stating he can step over the congress to do so with out giving them a say in the matter. Don’t think that could happen? It’s happening right now on another issue that you don’t care about. Wait till it happens to one you do. It may be to [sic] late by then…”                                                               

How is that anything but certifiable paranoia? He forgot the part about all of us dressed in “drab, gray jumpsuits;” otherwise, he’s done a good job of channeling the red state psyche. (In southern Virginia the other day, I saw an “O’Vomit” bumpersticker. Har, har, har.)

I don’t believe my response to his rant was paranoid, but I will own up to being passive-aggressive. For my “gun-toting friends,” I posted this:

Another friend pointed out that “gun-toting” might not have been the most constructive term. I meant it as tongue-in-cheek, similar to the way they call me a “tree hugger,” but OK, I’ll try to behave.

Anyway, I’m willing to lay down my sarcastic, passive-aggressive behavior and take my fingers out of my ears if the people in the red states would be willing to admit that maybe, just maybe,

WE SHOULD NOT HAVE FREAKIN’ MACHINE GUNS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS!!!

That’s my humble opinion. What’s yours?

How Do You Measure Success?

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What does success look like to you? Is it a “bitch-goddess” that causes “moral flabbiness,” as philosopher William James once told H.G. Wells? Success is often just another word for wealth, and it’s this “squalid interpretation” that led James to call success “our national disease” over 100 years ago. Certainly Mr. James would declare it a terminal case if he knew the Supreme Court had blessed the notion of corporations being people. Wealth at any cost — is that success?

In Cash We Trust

At least I’m in no danger of achieving that sort of success. Compared to people I’ve met in Central America and Africa, yes, I’m outrageously wealthy. But in the U.S., going from nonprofit environmental work to freelance writing to (potentially) a teaching position pretty much ensures my “failure” in this area.

Dying to be Successful

To some, success means getting other people to do what they want. That might mean voting a certain way – a successful NRA lobbyist. Or buying a certain product – a successful firearms ad campaign. Those outcomes also involve cash, either directly or indirectly. Many firearms dealers give cash to the NRA, and the NRA gives cash to members of Congress to get them to do what they want. “Morally flabby” success, indeed.

What about Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi? In a sense, they got people to do what they wanted – a Civil Rights Act and an India freed from Britain. But they got murdered in the process. I guess that was successful. There’s no “moral flabbiness” in a martyr’s success, but it’s not something I hope to emulate.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civ...

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, look on. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), political and ...

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Credit: Wikipedia

Was Jesus successful, also murdered for his beliefs? The story of his resurrection started a major world religion over two billion strong; but that isn’t what he came to do. He came to give individuals the power to change and to be transformed into the free, fully loving, healthy people they were created to be.  I can’t help but wonder how successful that’s looking from a cosmic perspective.

Adam

Transformative Success

I believe this is an ongoing story, that there is hope for all of us. While success is usually associated with outcomes, I’m thinking it has more to do with trusting the process and doing what we are all called to do each day to grow into our best selves.

This unfolding story of spiritual growth and transformation comes closest to my personal definition of success: becoming who I was meant to be, not giving in to the fear of being judged by others, letting go of my need to control outcomes, and reaching for the stars.

I have to believe that there is even hope for the “Christian leaders” who sputter through their TV make-up, judging others, pretending to be what they are not, and using fear tactics to prevent people from reaching their own glorious stars.

Reaching Our Potential

In 2013, I’ll measure success by how much freedom I give myself to become me, neither compelled by others nor trapped by my own crap.

Speaking of which: I enjoyed these ruminations from author Gregg Levoy on getting beyond our crap and reaching our full potential —

“It makes perfect sense that we should be called to go beyond our limits, because the One that calls us is beyond all limits.

I suspect that all the energy we have bound up in resisting our own potential is more energy than we’ll need to reach it. It takes as much energy to fail as it does to succeed.

The strategies are legion:

  • Hiding behind the tasks of discernment. By analyzing a call to death and picking apart all its varying implications and by poring over calculations that would put an actuary into a coma, we lose all the heat from the heart through the head, as if we had been in the bitter cold without a hat.
  • Waiting for the Perfect Moment. Waiting for just the right combination of time, money, energy, education, freedom and the ideal alignment of the planets….
  • Telling ourselves lies. For instance, “I can’t afford it….” [when] the truth was, “I won’t afford it.” I won’t reprioritize my life, won’t make sacrifices….
  • Choosing a path parallel to the one we feel called to. One that’s close enough to keep an eye on it but not so close we’re tempted to jump tracks. We become an art critic rather than an artist, a school teacher rather than a parent, a reporter rather than a novelist.
  • Attempting to replace one calling with another. Because we don’t like it, our parents don’t like it, it doesn’t earn enough money or prestige.
  • Immediately turning a call into a Big Project. Thereby intimidating ourselves into paralysis.
  • Self-sabotage. We feel called to go to art or medical school but are so afraid of finding out we don’t have what it takes that we “forget” to mail the application until after its deadline has passed.
  • Distracting ourselves with other activities. We suddenly become inspired to finish old projects we haven’t thought about in ages.
  • Playing “sour grapes.” We believe we won’t succeed … or will suffer unduly, so we try to convince ourselves we don’t want it anyway.
  • Trying to make ourselves unworthy of a calling. Hoping that God will decide we’re not the person for the job and take it back.

The degree of resistance is probably proportionate to the amount of power waiting to be unleashed and the satisfaction to be experienced once the “no” breaks through to “yes” and the call is followed.”

Source: Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life

Reach for the Stars

What does success mean to you?

What stars are you reaching for?

If you aren’t reaching, what’s holding you back?

A River of Tears

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I tried to decorate my Christmas tree tonight, but I couldn’t do it. Somehow all the grief that I had been holding at bay crashed through the dam and into my living room when I hauled out the boxes of lights.

I can’t stop crying. It feels unjustified. I didn’t know those people. Those were not my children. I don’t even have children, so ought not to be able to empathize like this. But my heart is bursting, and my eyes overflowing.

Little Spirits

One feels so helpless. Why waste the breath on the “why, why’s,” when you know that no answer will be forthcoming? At least not on this side of the veil between life and death.

God brings good out of bad? OK, let’s see this one…

The tears feel fruitless. Especially shed alone, here in my sad, undecorated living room. And yet I cry. I know that my tears join a river that runs to Newtown, Connecticut. I pray that they are somehow of comfort to someone, that the grief I bear tonight might somehow lighten theirs a tiny bit. Just to know. Someone is crying for you. Someone and someone and someone….

Grief is a mysterious thing. It defines our shared humanity so fully. It’s good to share, and so I cry for us all.

God bless those little spirits…

“Tears are the silent language of grief.”

Voltaire

If you’re sad this season, too, you might want to read my last post on coping with grief:
All is Not Merry in Connecticut « melanielynngriffin.

There’s No Such Thing as Quiet Racism

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English: Statue of Liberty Gaeilge: Dealbh na ...

Statue of Liberty (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

I remember prancing around on stage in some fifth grade extravaganza, singing “Aaaaamerica is a melting pot…” I think I was wearing a cardboard Statue of Liberty headpiece and stars and stripes of some sort.

Anyway, the song’s been stuck in my head since the election, and I’ve been wondering if maybe — just maybe — our nation might be entertaining the notion of pursuing its promise – strength through diversity.

Old White Guys’ Last Hoorah

I’ve been feeling hopeful about race relations. I mean, our African-American president has been elected twice. While conspiracy crazies and FOX News will no doubt find imaginative ways to insinuate, or say outright, that he didn’t *really* win, reasonable people know that this was no fluke.

Our president is a black guy, and I still think this is incredibly awesome. True, the white vote went for Romney in most states, but exit polls tell us that’s largely due to old white guys, which isn’t surprising.

They are seeing the America they used to know – the one where they were in charge – slipping away.

As Senator Lindsey Graham told the Washington Post, “We are not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long-term.” I guess Mr. Limbaugh isn’t doing his job.

God love them, but good riddance to those good old days.

Rush with his buddies

And Now For Something Completely Different…Or Not

How about we try something different? Let’s even go beyond “tolerance” and try for genuine relationships with people of different backgrounds than ourselves. How about that?

That’s where my hopeful head was when my friends and I arrived at a local Chinese restaurant this weekend. There were five of us, and I was the token white chick.

Here’s what happened: my friends were in front of me, waiting to order. I reiterate — I was in line BEHIND them.

The woman behind the counter pointed to me and said, “Let me help her first.”

We all looked at each other, puzzled, and then I said, “I’m with them.”

“Oh, sorry, sorry,” she said.

The first sad thing here is that it didn’t occur to her that we might be together. But what’s worse is that I’m fairly certain that if four white folks had been in line in front of an African-American, it would not have occurred to the server to take that last person out of order.  My friends teased me, calling me “the special person,” and we all laughed about it. But it was not funny.

“Welcome to America, Melanie,” one of them said.

Calling Out Racism

This isn’t on a scale with the Colored drinking fountains and washrooms I remember in Florida when I was a little girl.

And it wasn’t as egregious as the time a guy at a Maryland Christmas tree lot tried to sell me a tree marked SOLD because the purchaser was “only a negro lady.”

But it sure feels the same.

Sign for

We have a long way to go, but we can all help. Prayers are good.

And I just want to make a plea to my fellow Caucasians: keep your eyes and ears open. Speak up.

Don’t let people get away with this kind of “quiet racism.”

There’s no such thing as quiet racism.

It all screams, and we should all call it out.

Thanks for listening, and for hoping with me.

God bless our melting pot.

God’s Work

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Now that the U.S. election is over, perhaps we can let God get back to work. We’ve kept the Creator of the Universe very busy with ballot initiatives labeled “anti-God” or “God’s will” or “godless.” This party or that party is rejecting God or using God or ignoring God. Millions of people have been praying to God to let X win or Y lose because otherwise it will mean doom for our nation and perhaps the world.

Really?

Don’t you think God has just a wee bit bigger perspective? Sometimes people forget:

God is not a Republican. God is not a Democrat. And guess what…God is not even an American!

Gasp!

Let me step back — I am aware that quite a few people don’t believe in God — many of the people I love most do not.

In America, much wind is expended trying to justify – or nullify – the existence of God. This strikes me as highly amusing – I’m not sure why.

I mean, if there is a God, how funny is that? All these little created things running around insisting they weren’t created.

God’s existence, though, is one of the very few things of which I am certain.

I’m Not as Smart as I Used to Be

I used to be certain about lots of things. To be honest, I thought I knew best about most things. I think a lot of people do. It covers up their low self-esteem.

I inherited this “I know best” belief. I dearly love my departed parents, but recognize that my mother’s regal British nose was tilted ever so slightly upwards, and my father’s Texan roots were firmly grounded in the belief that Texans are bigger and better, period.

Her Royal Highness, Queen Victoria

Cowboy Boot And Hat Clip Art

Don’t Mess With Texas

I can still be cocky or defensive on a bad day, especially during an election. Tilted noses and Texan roots die hard. But really, why would I have more or less of “the truth” than anyone else?

What a relief: I don’t have to have all the answers or “prove” anything!

Unnecessary Extravagance

I don’t have to prove to you that God exists. I can’t. That’s God’s work. Still, I will say that the idea that there is no God, no higher spirit, no over-arching consciousness, no Creator, seems utterly absurd to me.

Here’s why I believe:

  • There are sunsets. (And sunrises, so I’ve been told.)
  • We can see colors. How astonishing!
  • I have looked through a microscope and a telescope.
  • Galaxies upon galaxies. Shooting stars and crescent moons.
  • Humans make art and appreciate beauty for no apparent reason.
  • Flowers attract pollinators with exuberant colors and soul-filling smells. Unnecessarily extravagant, wouldn’t you say?
  • Natural cycles: water, nitrogen, photosynthesis, evolution – gloriously complex, yet simple. Brilliant.
  • If I pray, I can easily LOVE someone I previously could not stand. Try it.
  • Because the longer I spend alone and in silence, the more I know I’m not alone.
  • Because the idea that all this just kinda happened  is funnier than Jon Stewart.

I’m done writing about politics for now. (Unless you consider climate change political. I can’t seem to stay away from that topic.) Since I’m swearing off writing about politics on account of my blood pressure, I thought I’d move on to something less controversial, like religion.

Which brings me to my questions: If God were to register, do you think it would be as an Independent? And if you don’t believe in God, what’s wrong with you anyway??

 

stars

Camera Captures Weird America

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There’s one thing we can all agree on this election eve – thank GOD it’s just about over. Abigail’s wail covers the land…

In New Hampshire, where political signage is as thick as maple syrup, one of my neighbors shared his thoughts:

Tired of the Crap

But fear not – if somebody does put their political crap on your property, you can always clean it up with these attractive presidential candidate poop bags. Seriously.

That’s Just Wrong

Yes, friends, I think we can safely say that election years no longer bring out the best in America. Wrapped in red state and blue state labels and bathed in the green light of corporate-funded television ads, few are shining with selfless patriotism; not politicians, institutions, or individuals. I, myself, can get angry, anxious, self-righteous, sarcastic, and super-cynical.

Several cases in point:

https://melanielynngriffin.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/heal-the-planet-absurd/

https://melanielynngriffin.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/conventional-wisdom/

We all get weird every four years.

Weird America

Weird Sushi

I plan on spending the evening of November 6th with friends,

and I hope to be quaffing celebratory champagne.

Since I *AM* concerned about healing the planet and slowing the rise of the oceans, I guess you know who I’m voting for. There — my last jab of the political season. I’ll be nice now. Please vote.

Hey! You Guys with the Microphones — Fire!

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President Obama and Mitt Romney continue to fiddle while Rome – and the rest of the planet – burns. I worked in politics long enough to understand: we mustn’t upset THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. But seriously, I think the people know.

As usual, there’s a gap between what the politicians are talking about and what the people are talking about.

Most everyone I know is talking about the weather, and not in vague some-weather-we’re-having terms. “This is the weirdest weather…this is getting spooky…what is UP with no winter?” and so on. Granted, many of my friends are environmentally inclined, but I’m not talking about them.

I’m talking about regular old neighbors in Maryland. I’m talking about my conservative friends in New Hampshire, whose roads just washed out (again), and who first can’t hay because of rain, and later lose their crops to drought. They had only one real snow last year.

I’m talking about people whose nearby forests have either been devastated by wildfires or devoured by pests that did not exist there a few decades ago.

http://blog.aarp.org/2012/08/21/the-trees-are-screaming-why-arent-we/

I’m talking about my friends who farm having to change their planting and harvest seasons.

http://thelettuceedge.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/weather-drama/

It’s happening folks, and we all know it.

A new Pew Research poll finds that 67 percent of Americans believe there’s solid evidence the Earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades, up 4% since last year and 10% in the past three years. Another poll by Yale and George Mason University shows that 84 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 52 percent of Republicans think global warming should be a priority.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/09/17/168510/as-climate-change-crisis-looms.html

Leadership Vacuum

So why aren’t the political candidates talking about this?

I think it’s the job of our nation’s leaders to connect the dots for the public. Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, severe storms & power outages, spreading insect-borne exotic diseases: all exactly what the scientists predicted.

After one debate, Esquire’s political blogger noted, “…we have not had one extended conversation about the most pressing environmental catastrophe since the meteor wiped out the dinosaurs. On Tuesday night, we had two guys arguing about who’s a bigger friend to coal, about who will allow the most oil drilling on federal land, and about who will best extract the most carbon-based fuels out from under the country over the next four years.” Climate Change in 2012 Election – 2012’s Incredible Disappearing Issue: Climate Change – Esquire.

Romney thinks that turning it into a joke will play to his base. Obama, at least, managed to respond at the Democratic convention that “Climate change is not a hoax.” This remark brought the crowd to its feet.

Let’s Admit it and Move On

I suppose part of the problem is the American psyche. As a nation, we don’t like to admit to imperfection. “Oops” is not in our vocabulary.

See more thoughts on this:https://melanielynngriffin.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/what-color-is-shame/

A recent New York Times analysis concludes that it’s impossible for candidates, or presidents, to tell the truth because, “Americans demand constant reassurance that their country, their achievements and their values are extraordinary.” According to presidential historian Robert Dallek, “People in this country want the president to be a cheerleader, an optimist, the herald of better times ahead. It’s almost built into our DNA.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/sunday-review/candidates-and-the-truth-about-america.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Given this genetic predisposition towards exceptionalism, I doubt America will ever express official regret over our overwhelming contribution to greenhouse gases. For a long while, we didn’t know. It would be OK, if we just said “oops,” changed our behavior, and stepped into global leadership with our dignity restored.

In this regard, Obama deserves huge credit for finally, finally, raising the miles-per-gallon standards for automobiles and for investing in renewable energy technologies. Perhaps too little and too late, but it’s something.  He had to use executive authority, of course, because God forbid the Congress should act.

Why isn’t Obama on his soapbox talking about this?

It’s Called Denial. Let’s Get Over It.

Please, please, you people with the microphones — mind the gap. We know our streets are flooded; we know people in Texas are dying from West Nile; we know we have tornadoes where they’ve never been before. We see the Katrinas and the tsunamis.

Talk to us, for God’s sake!

Why didn’t the debate moderators at least ask the candidates why they’re not talking about it?

Part of leadership is talking about hard truths. Bombs and terrorists, yes, those are terrible threats. Outside threats. This is an inside job.

It’s called denial. Let’s get over it.

President Obama, maybe you don’t want to talk about this during the election because some voters, duped by corporate ad campaigns and extremist anti-science campaigns, think there’s no such thing. I get that.

Newsflash: They aren’t going to vote for you anyway.

Mr. President, I urge you, I beg you: if you win on November sixth, start talking about climate change again on November seventh. It’s your job to mind the gap.

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