Of course there are numerous issues – vital issues – in next year’s US elections. The way some Americans are living high on the hog – undeservedly – while others struggle in vain to feed their families is among the most glaring. And there’s the horror of Islamic extremism; Americans cannot afford to let some amateur become commander in chief at a time like this. But to me, the most vital issue is protection of the environment.
The Republican Party has made no secret of its position on the environment: If protecting God’s earth gets in the way of some big shots making more money, trash it. Climate change? Deny it. So what if coastal communities get flooded? So what if wildlife suffers horribly? So what if the only world we have to live in is destroyed?
Surely, that’s an issue worth fighting over.
The anti-environment forces, financed largely by billionaires with a financial ax to grind, have declared war on the Environmental Protection Agency. And they are vowing to roll back President Obama’s latest attempt to save the wetlands – an executive order banning pollution of small streams and marshes.
Republican senators have come out in force against the President’s executive order. North Dakota’s John Hoeven, is promising voters that Republicans will “continue our efforts to either rescind the rule through legislation or defund it through the appropriate process.”
The anti-environment crusade seems to be backed by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Their rulings have weakened the Clean Water Act, making the President’s executive order necessary to protect the nation’s drinking water.
I can’t recall a period in American history when public figures were so bold in their assault on nature. I can’t remember a time when politicians dared to deny compelling scientific evidence and even question the validity of science itself. For the first time since the beginning of the Enlightenment in the mid-17th century, the very idea of science as the commonly accepted way of gathering knowledge about the world is being challenged by heavily financed public relations campaigns.
I shudder at the prospect of these ignoramuses controlling the future of our Earth. And that’s a very real danger because they are backed by special interests with enormous financial power.
If there were no other issues to vote for next November, surely this one would be motivation enough.