In 2010, when Republicans took over control of the House, they changed the national dialogue from economic recovery to reducing the federal debt. They persuaded Americans that the central issue was no longer recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression, but instead the national debt. They claimed this was the country’s biggest problem. And I think people believed it because they framed the debate around the children. Republicans always claim our rising national debt will only lead to a desolate future for our children and grand children. They turned the national debt into a moral issue, and it worked.
However, I think there is a bigger, more pressing moral issue at hand that few Democrats and absolutely zero Republicans are tackling: global climate change. The national debt, in all honestly, is not at unsustainable levels, and is relatively fixable; unlike climate change, which is rapidly getting worse and quick fixes are no longer a possibility.
The earth is warming at unprecedented levels. It’s causing problems now. And the ideas to solve the problem are sparse and seldom addressed. Hell, half this country doesn’t even believe it’s an actual problem, which is sad because climate change is the real moral issue. Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more violent, and they’re only getting worse. Were seeing terrible droughts in areas like the southern United States. And this is just America. Sea levels are rising and it’s wreaking havoc around the world. Island nations like the Maldives are literally disappearing due to rising sea levels. If nothing changes the country will be erased from maps by the end of the century.
That is a moral issue.
Yes, the national debt is a problem but not nearly as problematic as climate change. Republicans are so concerned about the children, but continue to chant ‘drill baby drill’. Fracking is becoming wide-spread in this country. Funding for innovations in green energy pales in comparison to oil subsidies. Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, mocked all-electric cars and made fun of the possibility of using algae for fuel.
If Republicans (Democrats are to blame here as well) really care about the children they need to focus on the real moral issue of climate change. The national debt if left unaddressed will cause problems, but if climate change continues to be neglected it will cost billions of dollars in damages and the loss of many lives. If Republicans really care about the children I ask them to stop believing oil is the answer to all our problems, and realize climate change if left un-tethered is the absolute biggest problem our country and world faces.
P.S. I’ve been at the Cleveland International film fest all weekend and have seen quite a few environmental documentaries.