Author of SAVING MISS OLIVER'S & NO IVORY TOWER

HOW TO STAY OPTIMISTIC

Advice from a grandfather

Just remember: Nobody believes the earth is flat anymore. That’s all you really have to do. But if you are still discouraged, try focusing on the fact that even people who work for Fox News agree that the earth revolves around the sun. Yes, I know: the powers-that-be put the guy who proved this to be true under house arrest until he died, and then it took 350 years for them to admit he was right, but we all also know that patience is a virtue. Just hang in there. And even if there are a few residuals who believe Galileo was a dangerous left wing nut, take heart: none of them is running for president.

But, you say, no less a person than Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, recently went to London to demonstrate his interest in foreign policy and build his credentials for the presidency, and was overheard by millions of Brits punting the question, “Are you comfortable with evolution?”  You might respect his honesty and his tact, but you have deep fears about his judgment, his allegiance to facts. Does he believe that two times two is 26, except on Thursday afternoons? But take heart again: The talk show host swooned with amazement, and many of the audience thought the governor was joking. And there is some hope that the Republican Party will nominate a person who actually believes in science.

But, you say, still discouraged, many of the present crop of presidential hopefuls refuse to accept that the harm of global warming is in great probability caused by humans, and claim the right to hold this opinion “because I’m not a scientist.” Isn’t that like saying to the doctor who tells someone that he has cancer that he doesn’t have cancer because he’s not a doctor? Does that mean that if he were a doctor, he would have cancer?

Yes, it would be a lot less scary if all the presidential candidates, whatever their party, agreed that human caused global warming is a serious threat and debated about how best to slow it down. But rest assured: in a decade or so, the grandchildren of politicians who are presently debunking the notion will wish that dear old granddad had just kept quiet, and pray that everybody forgets, remembering the smart things he said, instead, much greater in number, and all the good deeds he did throughout his life. And maybe, if such a politician does get elected in 2016, and actually has to take responsibility, he or she will have a change of mind, under the pressure of data, evidence and plain old common sense. After all, our first African –American President – a person whom our first and third presidents might have claimed the right to own – changed his mind about the right of gays and lesbians to marry.

I used to think the definition of a conservative as a person who agrees with a dead liberal was just a joke, a pithy half truth at best. Now I have grandchildren too, and I say it over and over to myself, my mantra to keep me optimistic for them.

 

 

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Caroline

    Well done, Steve. Witty and wise. Thank you!

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