Threats and Issues

It was 80 degrees in New York City last evening, which probably shouldn’t come as a surprise since 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded and, said the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, “2016 has really blown that [record] out of the water.”

If the history of this presidential campaign is any guide, global warming – or any environmental issues, for that matter – will not be the subject of much discussion in tomorrow night’s debate. This would be unbelievable, given the worldwide focus on such issues, except the campaign debates so far have been pretty much devoid of any issues.

Hillary Clinton’s website lays out her policies on climate change, which she calls “an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. It threatens our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures.”

Donald Trump’s website, on the other hand, not only has no policy position on climate change, it has no position on any environmental issues whatsoever. He is, however, on record as saying that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

This would be laughable had it not been tweeted by the Republican candidate for president. I’m not suggesting that we all must agree on issues. On the contrary, democracy is based on the free exchange of competing ideas. Trump’s campaign, however, doesn’t traffic in ideas. Instead, insults have been substituted for issues and thinly veiled threats have become the response to disagreement.

This is dangerous territory.

James G. Blaine

About James G. Blaine

Most of us undervalue what seem our tiny contributions to our communities and the world. As a result, we feel powerless, even victimized. But, like the butterfly effect in science, the lives we lead with our families, in our communities, and at work – all the so-called little things we do – collectively change the world. As I grow older, my ambition grows more modest but not less important: to participate fully and to contribute what I can. That’s my goal with this blog.