Democrats fear a debate about the end of the world will put viewers asleep - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Democrats fear a debate about the end of the world will put viewers asleep

BALTIMORE – As everybody knows, the Democrats are a little reluctant to hold impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump, no matter his outrageous behavior or his insufferable language. They’re afraid it might hurt them at the 2020 ballot box.

Big deal.

They’re also reluctant to hold a debate on the potential end of all life on the planet. They believe this, too, might hurt them at the 2020 ballot box – assuming the planet lasts that long.

Of course, we generally have a name for politicians who are both reluctant to criticize President Trump and reluctant to point out alarming changes in the earth’s climate.

We call them Republicans.

The Republicans sit there silently while Trump makes the most outrageous statements. Last week, for example, he was all over the place on accepting help from foreign adversaries on election campaigns. Never mind what the law says about it, and never mind that it’s what the Mueller team spent the last two years investigating.

And the Republicans – particularly Trump himself – sit there silently as the earth sends off one warning cry after another that it’s in pain, that it needs help from human beings, and that time has begun to run out.

In the face of this, we have a president who denies the obvious warning signs and apparently doesn’t have much belief in science itself. That little Trumpian problem, well documented, we’ve dealt with for the last couple of years.

But, when it comes to climate change, we didn’t expect the latest kind of equivocating from Democrats.

Consider some reporting of just the past week or so.

Last Thursday, more than 40 percent of Greenland experienced melting. Total ice loss was estimated at more than 2 million gigatons – that’s equal to 2 billion tons – on that one day alone.

Using an analogy offered to the Washington Post by Columbia University scientist Meredith Nettles, to visualize how much ice that is, imagine filling the National Mall in Washington with enough ice to reach a point in the sky eight times higher than the Washington Monument.

In one day.

Meanwhile, we have huge swaths of the sprawling Arctic Ocean now reported at historic lows, with the most striking declines in seas just above Alaska. Hello, America, it’s right there at our doorstep! Who’s up for water skiing down Main Street?

Where the Arctic was once covered in older, thicker ice, we’re now looking at remaining ice that’s younger, thinner, and more easily melted. Scientists say we’re looking at 436,000 square miles of Arctic-area sea with its lowest levels of ice on record.

And how does the Democratic Party – the one that allegedly believes in climate change, believes in scientific analysis, and believes the earth is in genuine trouble – how does this party react?

As the Atlantic Monthly put it the other day, in headline form, “Some Democrats want a climate-change debate. The Democratic National Committee says, Nah.”

This in-fighting came to light via Jay Inslee, the Washington governor who’s running for president with a singular focus on climate change. To him, if we don’t settle climate issues, all else becomes irrelevant.

Inslee demanded the Democrats devote one of their many upcoming TV debates entirely to climate change. But the DNC, searching for a way out, says an all-climate debate would be against its rules and it can’t capitulate to the demands of one candidate (though other Dems have expressed agreement with Inslee.)

No matter that polls indicate climate change is a big issue for Democratic voters – the real problem is that the DNC’s afraid such a singular debate could put viewers to sleep, cause them to turn the channel, and ultimately lose political energy.

Because, you know, scientific stuff’s such a bore.

Even, apparently, when it’s about the end of all life on the planet.





About the author

Michael Olesker

Michael Olesker, columnist for the News American, Baltimore Sun, and Baltimore Examiner has spent a quarter of a century writing about the city he loves.He is the author of five previous books, including Michael Olesker's Baltimore: If You Live Here, You're Home, Journeys to the Heart of Baltimore, and The Colts' Baltimore: A City and Its Love Affair in the 1950s, all published by Johns Hopkins Press. Contact the author.
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