Thursday, June 22, 2006
College Republicans: Proof that Stupid is Contagious.
[The piece below was published this week by syndicated columnist Ed Flattau of Global Horizons]
Whatever happened to the Republican Party of Teddy Roosevelt, a political party distinguished by its forward-looking environmental policy? Today, we have the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) urging its 200,000 student members on 1500 campuses to hold beach parties to mock the threat of global warming. If this is representative of the generation that is going to inherit the earth, the earth is in trouble big-time.
Indeed, deriding climate change is the last thing we need from the age group that could well have the last best chance to atone for the environmental sins of the past.
So the question becomes: is the CRNC’S stance of self-destructive denial a preview of the future identity of the Republican Party? If CRNC’S call to revelry has any traction, you’ve got to wonder what in heaven’s name is being taught in colleges these days regarding science, moral values, and social responsibility. The CRNC derives its dismissive view of global warming from a small clique of increasingly discredited scientists who claim the climate change threat is an exercise in scaremongering. It is a claim that is refuted by the weight of evidence, and subsequently by a consensus of scientists (including leading climatologists) throughout the world.
Global warming may not signal the end of civilization, but nor should it be the target of ridicule. Responsible political leaders cannot afford to sit idly by and wait for proof of a false alarm while the average global temperature is rising with rapidity unprecedented in memory. They don’t have the luxury of wallowing in pedantry at the inconclusiveness of the evidence when ice is melting at a record clip at both poles. They would be derelict to procrastinate because of the complexity of the issue. Uncertainty is no excuse for apathy, and reflection without action is not the answer, when significant impacts from climate change are being abruptly felt by man, beast, and plants in many places around the world.
Facing such a potentially calamitous condition, governments have a moral obligation to implement whatever cost-effective precautionary measures are available. These are measures (e.g. energy conservation, reforestation) that standing alone make sense even if global warming turns out not to be as menacing as originally thought.
As for college age Republicans, if they blindly follow the titular head of their party and thumb their noses at reality, let us pray they don’t end up in political office. On a more contemporary note, should the Republican students choose to frolic on a beach to celebrate rising sea levels and killer heat waves, let’s hope they don’t forget their sunblock.