Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Christie and Climate Change

About a month ago, Governor Christie stopped by Contes Pizza in Princeton.  I found myself standing next to him near the cash register, while we both waited for pizzas to go. My impulse, not acted upon, was to offer to help him save the Republican Party from its denial of climate change. No one talks a better game of making tough choices than Governor Christie, and acting to slow climate change before it spirals out of control, stripping New Jersey of its beloved beaches in the process, is the toughest and most necessary choice of all.

To hear him speak, as he did at the Republican Party convention last night, is to hear a man speaking passionately about a subject he refuses to name. In taking on the really tough choices, he said, it's been easy for leaders to say "Not us, not now." "Now it's up to us," he says, the "grandchildren of the Greatest Generation", to eschew creature comforts, "stand up and make the tough choices." Let us "never be the victims of destiny; always the masters of our own." "Answer the call as a generation," for the sake of "our children and grandchildren."

A call to bold action and personal sacrifice for the sake of posterity? A call to consciously steer destiny rather than let the unintended consequences of our collective actions do permanent harm to future generations? There is no subject for which that sort of talk fits better, no tougher political topic given the entrenched resistance to sacrifice and collective effort, no issue with higher stakes for our shared future, than the irreversible destabilizing of climate. Christie, with his volcanic power as a speaker, his rep for shaking things up, could lead his Party out of its fantasy world of denial, and thereby help rather than hinder the global effort to finally take responsibility for our collective impacts.

Maybe, if he refuses to declare the most fitting subject for his gallant words, a sign could be placed in front of the lectern at his speaking engagements with words in parentheses:

(Climate Change)

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