Month 2, Day 3: In The Wake Of The Crazy Comet

The Amazing Dkos/R2000 poll of self-identified Republicans came out today, and gosh-a-roonie! It certainly revealed a lot. If you haven’t read it, you owe yourself a few horrifying minutes. These are the people who control the Opposition Party in our government. They would be funny if this was a movie or a TV show, but because Republicans are making governance impossible, it’s essential that we take notice of them.

So I wrote to the President, who seems like he’s been getting a little mojo rising recently.

Dear President Obama,

By now you must have seen the results of the Research 2000/Daily Kos poll of self-identified Republicans. These statistics are horrifying and revealing. Sixty-three percent of Republicans believe you’re a socialist (although I suspect that less than one percent know what the word means). Thirty-nine percent think you should be impeached (although it’s unclear that you’ve committed an impeachable offense). A third think you’re a racist; half think Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than you are. A quarter of self-identified Republicans think their states should secede from the Union. And on and on. As you correctly noted in your Q & A session with the House Republicans, they cannot compromise with you, even a little, because their base is so insanely paranoid that it will erupt at the slightest hint of collaboration with their enemy.

The Republicans represented in the R2000 poll are clutching their remote controls, desperately pushing buttons in the hope that somehow, somehow, somehow you’ll just go away. It’s easy to blame Fox News for a big part of this. But I think Fox is a symptom, not a cause. The larger problem is the erosion of the national attention span, which means that our ability to think carefully about long-term issues is essentially non-existent.

Global climate change is both a long-term and an extremely urgent issue; never has the threat to humanity’s continued survival been as serious as the routine reports of climatologists now reveal it to be. James Hansen’s “Venus” scenario is easy to dismiss as a worst-case example — until we stop to consider that almost every day the “worst-case” predictions of climate scientists turn out to be unrealistically optimistic.

The Research 2000 poll did not specifically ask its Republican respondents whether they believed the Earth was only 6000 years old, but given the other answers to related questions, it seems a safe bet that a sizable majority are Young Earth Creationists. Many are probably anxious for the Rapture, which I suppose qualifies them as pro-global-warming. How can you talk rationally about climate change to a group of people who are unable to conceptualize long spans of time, or who are eager for the Earth’s incineration?

While I applaud your adherence to an ideal of bi-partisanship, it is impossible to form agreements with an entire political demographic that is clearly delusionally paranoid. The delusional paranoids will think you’re out to get them even if you adopt the entire Republican platform. Why bother? Please, Mr. President! The time is now for you to get the Democratic majority in the Senate to pass your policy agenda through reconciliation. Healthcare, Jobs, Financial reform — all of these are essential. But my deepest area of concern is the terrible threat of climate change, for if we don’t get that one right, none of the rest will matter at all in the long run.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

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