Monday, November 01, 2010

The Calm Before the Storm

It's been a pretty quiet Monday. (Here at kona ranch, that is.) I've just been pondering how much might change between today and tomorrow. Elections have always been exciting events for me, and nothing much can match the adrenalin that flows through my veins as those polls close on election night and results start to trickle in.

This year is a little different in terms of the excitement. The excitement is not so much driven by optimism as it is by a sense of sharpened anxiety. The same anxiety one might feel while driving in freeway traffic during a horrendous snowstorm, or seeing news report of a 100+ car pileup caused by freaky fog conditions. Yeah, I think that's the one I'm looking for: freaky fog conditions pretty accurately describes the voting environment this year. And we'll know on Tuesday just how many vehicles are involved and the extent of the carnage. I guess I have prepared myself emotionally for the worst, to the extent I possibly can.

It has gotten way too easy for people to discredit something they don't like by calling it a hoax. I'm not sure why they do this. Maybe it's an uncomfortable topic to discuss if there is indeed a possibility that we are all contributing to something like...oh, say global warming, for instance.

It's hard to keep a straight face and argue that global warming is a hoax when there is clear evidence to the contrary. And think about this: the population of the planet didn't hit 2 billion until 1927. Soon it will reach 7 billion and will continue increasing. Along with that mind-boggling growth have been other drastic changes.

Think about how most Americans (and the rest of the world) managed to get around the planet back in 1927. Most people didn't have electricity in the home. The most high-tech gadget might have been a single AM radio.

Passenger car sales were starting to take off -- Henry Ford's Model T sales were at 15 million; SUVs weren't a dime a dozen, no 18-wheelers were plowing up our interstate highway system (because we didn't have one), and the skies were not filled with those hollow metal cylinders ferrying tens of millions of people from place to place. Even in my lifetime, I've seen China change from being a nation where people in large cities traveled by bicycle, to being a nation filled with cars and manufacturing facilities to fulfill our craving for cheap stuff.

And you know what? That human activity has to have some impact on the planet on some level because the planet sure as shit isn't growing in size along with the population! You can claim the climate is cyclical and warming is a natural event. Go ahead and hate Al Gore's guts. But don't take the easy way out by saying the discussion is off the table because it's just a hoax.

We only learn and grow as a society by having a debate, not ducking from it. We can't even have a rational discussion these days about the issue. There are politicians in office right now who deny climate change, and a fresh batch of new politicians waiting to march on in with the same attitude.

It's going to be an interesting Tuesday night on into Wednesday. I'll be here, and you can bet I'm going to have something to say about it.

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