Sunday, November 06, 2022

Why political debates tend to put those wishing to reduce climate change on the defensive.

Sign I sometimes bring to Bellingham Peace Vigil.

Some people might think I'm judgmental of people who drive cars. I realize that automobiles are the way most folks get around in our society. Some of my best friends drive cars.

The main thing I worry about is the way issues are framed in media and public discourse. Democrats and folks taking action against climate change are being hammered by the negative news about high gas prices. Republicans find this fertile ground for talking points.

I think society may have to accept high gas prices as a price for addressing climate change. Yes, it's harder on low income people, but we do need more thinking outside the box. Owning a car is often more expensive than public transit, if public transit is available and convenient in an area.

We need to connect the dots for longer term solutions. Technology can solve some of these problems for us; such as electric cars, solar energy and if we can develop hydrogen fusion.

Total reliance on private cars has other drawbacks as well; such as all the space taken up for parking as well as the safety issues.

Until green technology becomes widely available, average consumers do need to practice conservation.

One thing that bothers me is how so much of the political debate is about blaming someone; rather than solving problems. On the left, people tend to blame the oil companies; such as opposing pipelines and refineries that are still needed to keep the economy intact. Sometimes, there is even violent sabotage which can give Republicans more anti crime talking points. Yes, we can blame business and advertising for some of this situation, but human behavior, in mass, is very powerful. Republicans tend to emphasis personal responsibility. They certainly have their problems, but the idea of personal responsibility has merit.

Personal responsibility may not explain everything. We do tend to think in extremes of either or, but it is an important part of the discussion.

We need to rethink the discussion about personal responsibility and not turn all that turf over to the Republicans.

There is more to responsibility than just the typical Republican line that goes, "I was on drugs, I hit bottom, then went on the straight and narrow, got a job, worked my way up and now I'm a multi-millionaire."

There are other self help stories that lead to such things as health and community connection in one's personal life. The road to happiness doesn't always lead to becoming a multi millionaire.

We, as consumers and voters, do have more power than we often realize.

Too much blaming, on both sides, leads to much of the political vitriol.

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