The Latest Republican Gaslighting Climate Denial Message & Why We need to see it for what it is.
Now that climate change is fully here and anyone with a thermometer knows it, the Republicans don't want to appear totally lame nor do they want to be blamed for their decades of denial and blocking solutions. So they have a new message.
This message has been out for about a year, so if you are already fully familiar with it, no need to read this. But two trolls have tried to post this new gaslight message on this site, including today, so I feel it necessary to set the record straight.
Lest we forget, do you remember when Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a rule just a few years ago that no one in that state government was allowed to use the term climate change or global warming? There was a hilarious Youtube of a Florida state senator goating the state's emergency management administrator to use the words global warming in open session. That was when denying climate change was the rule.
But now water is sloshing up through the floors of Miami hotels. And now that much of the state is set to disappear from sea level rise over the next century or two, they switched to a new message about a year ago.
Since I try not to trouble my mind by reading Republican literature, I wasn't aware of the new message until I asked a Republican gardening friend earlier this year if he believed in climate change. The two of us were at our community garden planting in early April which would have been two months too early a decade ago. [See the change in the plant hardiness zones 1990-2006 here. it's more extreme now but don't have a link for that] I didn't know he was a Republican at the time, but something he said made me ask him if he believed in climate change. Keep in mind that the man is a wonderful person as are all my Republican friends. We just don't talk politics. But I didn't know he was a Repub, so I asked him.
He answered craftily and cautiously, "I believe that the climate changes, yes."
Hmmm. Sounds like there's a new Republican line going around that I hadn't heard yet.
Then I got a troll-like attempt to post on this site that, while sounding oh, so reasonable, deflected blame away from the Republicans, diluted the solutions, and emphasized that nature knows best. Here is the new Republican message:
Yes, climate change is real, but it is only partially human-caused and mostly a natural part of climate fluctuation, and Mother Earth will take care of it. Yes, we should do some renewables, but we don't need to stop burning fossil fuels! We need those fossil fuels (translates into they need those profits). Mostly they say, we should stop focusing on who is to blame, and focus on solutions.
First, no one needs to tell environmentalist to focus on solutions. We have been focusing on solutions - everyone I know has been doing so -- except the Republican-controlled governments who have successfully blocked many solar and wind energy initiatives. For example, we would have up and running a large wind farm off the New England coast that would fuel electricity for all of Cape Cod and part of eastern Massachusetts if it weren't for Koch Brother interference. The rewards for driving electric car or erecting solar panels would be greater if Republicans hadn't blocked them.
The new line sounds reasonable except it's more gaslighting and it's their attempt to control the conversation.
They want to be sure that they are not blamed even though they are to blame. And they love to point to China as a way to deflect blame.
And they want to be sure they can continue keeping renewables down and fossil fuels up, and making those profits.
I recently learned that the Koch Brothers sponsored a fossil fuel initiative in Massachusetts which was nearly unanimously passed by the state legislature by giving big dollars to key legislators and by calling it "The Solar Bill".
Also we have a Republican Governor, Charlie Baker, who pretends to be a centrist but is an environmental and renewables stone wall. He was successfully sued by some teenagers from my town for failing to protect the adults of tomorrow from climate change. And still he blocks.
I will not let the Republicans take over the conversation on this site. They are gaslighters and I will never forget the darkness and pain they have caused unless and until they come clean. And as climate change escalates, I will not forget their role in it. I forgive them, but I will not enable them.
Environmentalists began sounding the alarm about climate change in the 1970's. Jimmy Carter (D) put solar panels on the White House and then in 1980, Ronald Reagan (R) took the solar panels down. Thus began the gaslighting. Anyone who doesn't know the history, can google it.
Here's one of many articles on the new gaslighting message: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/10/22/18007922/climate-change-republicans-denial-marco-rubio-trump
I want us to come together in unity in this country. But unity does not mean enabling gaslighters.
I became aware of this new line a couple of weeks ago. We have some travelers from Alabama in our dept. One of them is pretty well brainwashed. She said that climate change was "natural" and part of the earth's cycles and that we all knew the earth was not going to "last forever." Unfortunately, this was all in the presence of a patient and also, since we are in the workplace, cannot really argue such points. I just looked her straight in the eye and said that yes, there are cycles but what is happening is unusally accelerated by human beings (industry) and our consumption and release of carbon in the atmosphere causing a greenhouse effect and that it is not normal for glaciers to be melting so quickly. It is not normal or part of "earth's cycles" for there to be so many earthquakes. I have a Canadian friend who is an environmentalist and she too, is very angered by the conservative environmental proposals in her country.
Jeanne, I appreciate your firm position and focus on the environment here! The myriad of problems we face are so deeply entwined and intersectional with the dominant culture's misuse and abuse of our natural resources. The most vulnerable among us suffer the most from pollution, flooding, fires, tornadoes, etc., and it is imperative that we act now. (As we should have decades ago.)
This article, from Forbes, of all places, makes a good case that cheap oil takes a toll on the economy (in addition to furthering the devastation of the climate crisis: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2019/06/15/united-states-spend-ten-times-more-on-fossil-fuel-subsidies-than-education/?fbclid=IwAR2ouUI0I_zQoY5kGc5IeQQH_h6XyE53EfbYi3Hm45KkmVPiRf4kENf1_ko#185c77404473
To connect with the point about gaslighting, my view of the article includes a link to another story titled "Trump Administration Rebrands Fossil Fuels As 'Molecules Of U.S. Freedom'". It is clear that the Koch Brothers, et. al. are pushing politicians to hold on to fossil fuels in a way that brings to mind Charlton Heston clinging to his guns ("from my cold, dead hands..."), but at least some wealth-focused people are starting to see the light that this era is a dead end.