The elephant in the room

It’s ironic that the party that employs such a lovely animal as an elephant as its defining symbol is oblivious to its presence in the room. I’m referring to global warming. Republican climate science denialism is that party’s actual defining symbol. That, and the fact that the Republican party promotes, worships and endorses a child rapist president ought to spell, by all sane standards, that party’s ignominious death. It must, because the alternative is our death as a species.

Global warming is, as Joe Biden aptly framed it in Wednesday night’s debate, an existential threat. In other words, if we do not solve it then we will not survive as a species. It’s just that simple. The Republican Party cynically promotes global warming denialism because it is owned, in part, by the fossil fuel industry. While the people in charge of the fossil fuel industry have known longer than most of us that global warming is a clear and present danger to human existence, they also know that it threatens their profits. So in the interest of profit the fossil fuel industry has mortgaged the lives of every man, woman, child and animal on the face of the earth. They have, in effect, committed the greatest single potential crime against humanity in the history of the world. Think of that next time you fill up at the pump.

This is why four more years of Donald Trump isn’t just a garden variety disaster, it very well may mean the end of us. It could literally spell the difference between our survival and our death as a species. The existential emergency we are now in is so grave that four more years of Donald Trump may mean that your grandchildren will not survive to adulthood. I’m being optimistic when I say that, by the way. By some estimates it may mean that none of us will survive 20 more years. So four more years of Trump may mean that we miss a deadline that we can never, ever get back.

We don’t know how bad it could potentially get because we have never been in this position before. If you accept that human beings have been on earth roughly 100,000 years, it’s only in the last 200 years or so, that’s .2% of our existence, that we have been filling up our atmosphere with carbon dioxide at this alarming rate. We do know that the effects of this carbon dioxide incursion have been disastrous so far. They include a proliferation of category 5 hurricanes, multiple, out-of-control fires, unprecedented melting of the polar ice caps, record temperatures year upon succeeding year, devastating meteorological upheavals from unseasonal heat waves and vast, continent-wide blizzards. It would be naive in the extreme for us to assume it won’t get worse.

Of course we need a lively debate about which candidate we will choose to defeat Donald Trump. It is the season for it and we all have our favorites. But once that candidate is chosen we must all vote for her, or we must all vote for him. We must stand in solid, monolithic unity.

Do I know for certain that we may not survive another four years of Trump. No I don’t. But I will tell you this. The fact that there is a possibility that we might not, and many very smart people have hard, scientific evidence to suggest we won’t, ought to make such a question not worth asking. We are free to gamble with our fortunes or even our lives, that’s our right as human beings. But we have no moral right to gamble on the future of the world and the lives of everyone in it.

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