Monday, December 19, 2016

The Children Will Pay

You can think of the photo as a metaphor.

So far, in talking about Trump I have focused on the overt racism (and sexism!) his campaign and presidency represent. This is like a piece of cheese covered in mold, and I mean covered. Something that looks like a chunk of green and white fuzz rather, and you only know that there was cheese there because of the packaging. It's disgusting and vile and you probably don't want to smell it, much less take a bite of it. However, it's possible that you could be tempted to want to try to cut the mold off to get down to the good cheese, and, based on the number of people who voted for Trump, a lot of you out there think the overt racism (and sexism!) is just some surface thing that can be cut away.

What I'm saying is that the surface mold was more than reason enough to throw away that (previously) orange piece of cheese. But, you know, since we didn't do that, let's look at what's under that horrible growth of mold.

Actually, wait a minute, let's stop and look at that mold again for just a moment:

Because it's not us, the adults, who will pay for the fungal racist bloom growing in America right now. It will be our children and our children's children. They will be the ones who will have to spend decades repairing the damage to race relations after a Trump presidency.

But that, at least, will be repairable. As bad as that could be, it will be repairable.

There are other things that are not repairable that we may be consigning our children and their children and their children to live with forever. And let's just skip the potential for nuclear war that's wrapped up in Trump's tiny little tyrannosaurus hands (along with his tiny little dinosaur brain).

As bad as everything else will be with Trump as President (and you're living with your head up your ass if you don't believe it will be bad) -- it's going to be a disaster, worst deal ever -- the absolute worst thing is going to be what Trump does to the environment.

And I get that a lot of you out there don't believe the science, don't believe the world isn't flat, but what the data shows is beyond scary. 2016 is the hottest year on record in something like 130 years of record keeping, and that's following nine other hottest years on record in the last 15 or 20 years. The science says we're at a tipping point, and Trump and his new buddy Scott Pruitt are going to do everything they can to push us over the edge. Or, to put it more directly, they are going to do everything they can to keep the people holding us back from a whole Earth climate disaster from being able to do that anymore.

This is what is reprehensible:
Trump, and others like him, have no vision and no long term plan. Their only concern is how much money they can make NOW, and the way to do that is to rape the Earth. Destroying the environment for profit has been the way of man for a long time, now, but we are at the end of what we can destroy and still retain the world as it is. Men like Trump and Pruitt DO NOT CARE. They don't care if what they leave behind is a desiccated husk as long as they get what they want.

And, sure, maybe Trump really just doesn't believe in climate change; maybe, he really does believe it's a Chinese hoax, but that just makes him a special kind of stupid, and we shouldn't have someone like that running the country.

Honestly, I don't care what you think about anything else about Trump: If you can't see and understand this threat that Trump represents then you, also, only care about your own immediate self-gratification without regard for the damage that you're doing (listening to Trump voters, I think this represents the vast majority of them) or you, also, are a dumbass who doesn't believe in science and should go back to living in a cave and hunting your food with a pointy stick. Or you could be some combination of the two.

Seriously, there are SO MANY individual reasons that should have been enough for people to avoid Trump like the moldy cheeseball that he is, but this, what he will allow to be done to the environment, is the greatest. This is the one that we won't be able to come back from. Trump voters, you've all just driven us off the edge of a cliff. I hope you're satisfied with yourselves.


  1. The problem is that many people also lack the desire or capacity or both for long-term planning, and so have difficulty understanding the science of and need to act on global warming/climate change.

    That's made worse by the fact that it was a nonissue in every election in my lifetime, and yours; nobody seems to want to address it at all, let alone intelligently address the fact that there may not be doom-and-gloom in doing something: for every industry that eventually folds or dwindles as a result of positive changes, there should be (and may well be?) others that grow. People think that we'll lose jobs if we, say, cut out all use of fossil fuels now, but wouldn't those fossil-fuel employees work for, say, solar energy or geothermal conglomerates? The experts who research fracking might need retraining, but there will be a need for experts to research new energy sources -- always.

    But those kinds of complicated questions get boiled down to "I'll lose my job! ME!". And "we can't let this industry die" and "growth." We as a country are remarkably simplistic.

    That said, we also need leadership. It's almost impossible for me to picture the kind of energy that it must have harnessed for Kennedy to dare the US to go to the moon, and then do it in less than 10 years. Compare that to now, when everything we do is halting and focus-tested and minimized.

    I don't know. Maybe we need a good cold war again. Maybe this diffuse and terrifying world that we now live in is what breeds this sort of complacency and half-effort, this retrenchment into the past and repackaging of it -- or simply reselling it to us again. It's sad to think that the dissolution of the cold war might have contributed to our current state of affairs. Maybe, like students who only study when the exam is tomorrow, we can only do our best work when literally the planet is on the line.

    Depressing thoughts for a Monday. I'm going to go listen to something cheery.

    1. Briane: Yeah, I would like to cite that marshmallow test with kids, but I think that has been... not exactly debunked but sort of discredited. And by the guy who did the original study, I think.

      I suppose the zika virus is a good example, because it's something that's been known about, but no one started talking about doing anything about it until it blew up in everyone's faces, and the US (because of Republicans) doesn't want to do anything about it because it's not enough of a problem here (yet).

      All of that to say, the vast majority of people can't see beyond themselves and what's right in front of them.

    2. You know, I was thinking of something last night. I was taking Mr F for his ride, and I wasn't sure if my headlights were working. I was going to turn them off and on to see if they were working, and I remembered my parents saying, when I was a kid, that if you did that then gang members would shoot you. (That's probably why I have gangs on the mind today.) They said that was a way gang members were initiated: they had to go out and find someone by random and shoot them, and drawing attention to yourself was a way they would pick you.

      I don't think there's ever been any evidence of such behavior, certainly not in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, in the early 1980s, but there you go: gang members (almost certainly minorities) were firmly believed to be driving around looking for innocent motorists to shoot.

      That, poisoned candy at Halloween, immigrants taking our jobs, muslim terrorists... they are all part of the same thing. I saw the other day a thing about how much more helpful it would be if people would worry about heart disease than Zika, as it's far more certain that heart disease is going to kill a hundred million people a year or something.

      We have trouble focusing on the nonglamorous, immediate threats. Sometimes it's because we need boogeymen to make us feel better about how hard our lives are: "I'd get a job if it wasn't for [fill in the blank.]" (Or "I'd be president if it wasn't for [fill in the blank]").

      We focus on the elaborate death because it makes us feel special: everyone else may die of heart disease, but I WILL DIE OF ZIKA. And because we can do something about it without making major changes: to focus on heart disease I'd have to go back and undo my cold pizza for breakfast this morning, but if I retweet the right guy I can DO SOMETHING about Zika without bothering to actually change my life.

      It all ties together, and all ties into global warming:

      "I'd have a job if it wasn't for [those stupid anti-global warming regulations.]"

      "Democrats want to use fake global warming scares to make us close down the auto plant so your dad can't work."

      "We're spending all this money on global warming when we could be fighting Muslim terrorists."

      It's also amazing that the same people who discredit the opinions and research of hundreds of scientists on global warming continue to believe the discredited research of a single disgraced, bribed doctor on the [complete lack of a] link between vaccines and autism.

      There's blame to spread around, too. It's not as though the Democrats are doing a good job explaining the immediate problems caused by global warming, or explaining why fixes for it aren't going to destroy the world. The GOP takes a hard stance: "Global warming is a hoax perpetrated by Muslim terrorists who want to infiltrate the US to give you Zika and take your job and your gun." And the Democrats respond with:

      "Well, maybe we could sort of screen for Zika and not all immigrants should get in and we'll study the effects of global warming a bit more," instead of

      "That's bunk. Here's how many jobs would be created by opening our borders to Muslim immigrants, here's how many jobs will fbe created by funding Zika research, global warming is melting your kid's kindergarten..."

      And then there's the media. But now I'm depressed. Anyway, the point is: we mostly do it to ourselves. nothing says we have to buy fake news, fail to research anything or pay attention in school, nothing says we have to vote for Hillary! or Trump instead of insisting that someone else run or running for office ourselves. We just all let these things happen. It's like Douglas Adams' lizards.

    3. Briane: Man, my mom used to take all of my good candy when I was a kid and use that "it could have poison or a razor blade" thing as an excuse. Not that I often went trick-or-treating but, when I did, that's what happened.

      It's hard for me to blame the media's problems on the media. People are responsible for what has become of the media, just as people are responsible for what has become of... everything. Because "people" don't stop and thing of the long range consequences of... anything.

  2. So many people love lies. They're excited by lies. They can't wait to repeat the lies. I don't understand. It's like having a juicy piece of gossip that you know isn't true, yet you can't wait to tell someone else about it. I have decided that I am a "truther."


    1. Janie: I was never one to get involved with gossip; maybe that's why? If I know something isn't true or isn't likely to be true, I'm not going to tell someone else about it. My instinct has always been to go to the source to find out the truth.

      I already hate this "post-truth" movement, so I'm with you on being a truther.

  3. #TrumpPeople: "But...but...the Kool-aid, it's so good! I use it to wash down my daily blue pill."

    1. Nancy: I'm assuming the blue pill is the one that keeps you in the matrix? It's been so long since I've seen it.

  4. Well said, Andrew. There could be and probably will be long term fallout that short distance thinkers don't consider. My sister told me recently that out of the six people who came to her early Christmas get together in Georgia, (all family) four of them voted for the big T. and were patting themselves on the back. To say it caused a rift is putting it mildly. My little sister thinks like I do. Will Congress back his wish to have his whole family in the White House? Nepotistic placement of family in positions which affect the American public is disgusting, and shows what he thinks of others who have the experience and the smarts to govern.

    1. D.G.: Will Congress back his every horrible idea? I think you can look at Newt for your answer: He is already advocating the strategy of Trump just extending pardons to his cabinet picks for any laws they may have or might break. You know, because the President has that power, so he ought to just go ahead and empower his people to do whatever the fuck they want.

  5. The majority of people my age have been saying something similar to this, since we're now adults and actually want a world for us an our children to live in. We get called spoiled millennials for it. Meanwhile our parents are retiring and saying how President Dump is going to save the country or something. It's pretty damn annoying.

    1. Jeanne: Yeah, I have no good response to you. The Boomers continue to fuck everyone to get what they want, and the Gen Xers continue to bend over and take it. We have, evidently, moved on from complaining about it to begging for more.

  6. With normal conservatives, it kind of makes sense, to run up the greed factor has hard and as fast as possible, because you need that money to buy a palace in heaven, and saving the earth doesn't matter, because Jesus is coming to save you very soon. But with Trump, since he's no Christian, it has to just be stupidity. Only a virus is dumb enough to destroy its own host.

    1. Matthew: Greed is stupidity.
      And, well, you know, "Christians" aren't Christians, either, so it's all greed and stupidity.