Posted by: ericgrimsrud | January 21, 2018

President Trump continues to play “Rope-a-Dope” with the public

An opinion by the Washington Post Editorial Board this morning (1/21/18) has prompted this post. It was entitled “The shutdown brouhaha has covered up far bigger news” in which the “bigger news” was correctly said to be man-caused global warming. I have included a portion of that editorial below.

“ONE BYPRODUCT of the day-to-day chaos of the Trump presidency is that the nation’s biggest, long-term challenges are often forgotten. While Washington spent this week agonizing over the prospect of a totally unnecessary government shutdown, what should have been far bigger news went nearly unremarked.

According to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last year was one of the warmest years on record. …… One warm year is not necessarily cause for concern. The trend, however, is. The past three years were the warmest three ever recorded. The five warmest years in the record all came since 2010. Seventeen of the 18 warmest years in the data came since 2001. This decade is on track to be warmer than the 2000s, which were warmer than the 1990s, and so on. The heating of the Earth is unmistakable.

Some climate doubters insist that while the warming trend is established, humans’ responsibility is not. This assertion is nearly as absurd as denying the warming in the first place. It is not coincidence that breakneck warming occurred just as humans began pumping increasing amounts of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

…….Others argue that the country should not get lost in an unsolvable disagreement on the science but rather just talk about solutions. But without a clear sense of the problem, policymakers will waste time and money on the wrong responses. If global warming were a totally natural phenomenon, the task would be simply to build a society more resilient to temperature extremes, crazy weather, droughts, floods and scrambled-up ecosystems. But because humans are warming the planet, the top priority must be to remove the underlying cause by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year also marked a recent low in the federal government’s response to climate change. President Trump installed a climate-change denier, Scott Pruitt, at the Environmental Protection Agency, signaling the end of landmark climate rules on power companies. Mr. Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, pushed for a pro-coal policy so absurd that the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected it out of hand.

In 50 years, many of the unnecessary distractions that Mr. Trump packed into his presidency will be forgotten. But no one will forget how selfishness and purposeful ignorance reigned in the United States as the world began to cook.”

I could not agree more with the message of this editorial. Our current President has found it all too easy to “rope in dopes” by encouraging them to place priority on issues of minor importance while ignoring the ones they should focus on. In addition to the example provided in the WP editorial, another occurred recently when President Trump unnecessarily involved the White House in the “taking a knee” issue being played out at the beginning of NFL football games. Instantly a multitude of “dopes” out there took the bait he offered them thereby moving substantial issues one more rung down the ladder.

The readers of my website will have noticed that I have repeatedly criticized my alma mater, St. Olaf College of Northfield, MN, for not taking a much stronger leadership role with respect to the man-caused global warming problem. Instead, the college seems to embrace other issues of distinctly lower importance. Note, for example, that on January 23, 2018 St. Olaf College’s Institute for Freedom and Community will be hosting on a forum (https://wp.stolaf.edu/news/a-dialogue-on-sport-protest-and-the-nfl-national-anthem-debate) on the controversies surrounding the NFL and its players taking a knee during the national anthem. President Trump must be singing “Um Yah Yah!” (the St. Olaf fight song) over that one.  Isn’t it about time for St. Olaf College to sponsor an in depth forum on the greatest real problem facing mankind today?

 

 


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