Fresh Ideas: Get over it, Grannie
September 19, 2012
Imagine you have a beloved grandmother, an old lady you really love and rely upon, and she’s sick. She will, in fact, probably die if you didn’t get her the treatment that her doctors recommend. But imagine that this treatment means some inconvenience for you: Maybe you would have to get outside more, or stop smoking.But now imagine that you don’t really want to make all these changes in your life just to keep old Grannie alive. You’re doing OK where you are — even if those changes the doctors recommend mean not only that Grannie will survive, but that you and your kids would live better, longer lives, too. So you decide that Grannie’s doctors are wrong — even though they’re the best doctors in town. You decide they’re lying to you: maybe Grannie isn’t sick at all. You find people who have some expertise in something other than medicine — geology, say, or history, and ask them if they think Grannie is sick. No, they say, her illness doesn’t exist. And even if it does, you probably can’t do anything about it, so let her die. You choose to listen to those odd experts you found and not to her doctors. How would someone view your behavior? Deluded, selfish?Where is this story going? Our Earth’s climate is that old “Grannie” whom we love and rely upon and take for granted. And “you,” you’re the Republican Party with your persistent, well-funded denial of climate change. We’ve all heard Mitt Romney’s line from his convention speech: “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans (pause for laughter) and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”Think about our children trying to raise their kids in the face of steep rises in food prices, droughts, melting polar ice caps and sea level rise, wildfires, (summer of 2012, anyone?) or even, Heaven forbid, trying to survive as climate refugees — and tell me that Romney cares about the conditions in which average people must raise their families, now and in the future.It is shameful. As Chris Hayes of MSNBC said about the mocking laughter at Romney’s line (by the way the only mention of climate change in the entire Republican convention): “It will someday be in documentaries as a moment of just-what-were-they-thinking madness.”I have now been on this suffering planet for more than a half century, and I have never seen any political party follow a policy that is as immoral, deceitful, and dangerous as the Republican party’s denial of climate change. That is why I cannot vote Republican. I’m not ready to throw Grannie under the bus. • Anne Macquarie, a private-sector urban planner, is a longtime resident of Carson City.