Monday, November 21, 2005

No, Seriously...

They put on a good show last night, Bush, some of the best comedians in America, in aid of the effort to put the brakes on global warming. No, not a telethon. Not a fund-raiser. More, really, of a consciousness-raiser. All they were asking of what they hoped to be a substantial national audience was that they check in with stopglobalwarming.orgto join a virtual march to protest your administration's lack of serious attention to a problem that is already adversely affecting our planet.

A noble cause, Bush. And not merely noble: an increasingly urgent one. While you still act the skeptic and ask for further studies, virtually every reputable scientist in the field accepts that global warming is a proven fact, and that it is we humans who are causing it to happen. Your disregard for science--and your blind support for everything that, in your short-term view, promotes American business--is no longer questionable. Your scorn for the opinion of the rest of the world and for the well-being of all but the wealthy few is also well established. Your inability to listen to anything but your own pre-set opinions is something we have talked about together numerous times in the past. But your failure to commit this country to the global effort to slow the destruction of our protective ozone layer may well turn out to be your costliest lack of judgment.

I had a good few laughs as I watched the show, Bush. But I switched off my TV set with a sense of real discomfort that it should take a bunch of comedians turning verbal somersaults to awaken us to the urgency of this issue. The program was long on both wit and slapstick, but remarkably short on what the American audience most needs: hard information on a subject their leadership has dismissed as being of scant importance. Even the disastrous hurricane season and the destruction of a major American city seem to have done little to increase the outrage at your contuinuing support for the abuse of our natural environment. Have we really, finally turned into a catatonic flock of incurious, indolent children, Bush, that we need to be entertained by clowns--no matter how brilliant or funny--in order to listen to a simple message? Imagine what kind of an audience would be turning on their TV sets to watch a science program!

Hand it to Robert Kennedy, though, who managed, at the end of the show, to introduce some valuable truths in his few minutes of showtime. Who declared the basic facts of global warming with commendable brevity and clarity, and who was careful to make the point that this was not about curtailing business, but rather about stimulating growth and productivity for a new age. There's a Kennedy I'd vote for. Would that we had more men of conscience and ability like this one! And you, Bush... Isn't it time to finally join the rest of the world in some real, effective action? Why don't you lend an ear, at least, to Tony Blair, who has supported you beyond your due? Give us all a break, Bush. Listen up!

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