What planet do we actually live on? Start with this fact: the last four years — 2015, 2016, 2017, and (it seems a sure thing) 2018 — will be the hottest on record. And if that doesn’t seem like evidence enough of something worth noting, how about 20 of the last 22 years being the warmest on record? Of course, as TomDispatch regular Rebecca Gordon makes clear today, little of that matters in the 2018 version of America, not even California fires unique in the historical record that sent a haze of smoke 3,000 miles across the U.S. to the city where a president with “very high levels of intelligence” sits in the Oval Office — on the rare occasions when he’s not on a golf course — angrily tweeting about how cold it is outside. (“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”)
With the latest of the president’s tweets mesmerizing just about every media outlet in sight, the latest in the Mueller investigation dribbling out to yet more presidential tweets, Rudy Giuliani comments, raging headlines, and… well, you know the score (and so does Rebecca Gordon), no wonder it’s hard to keep your eyes on the actual world. I’m thinking about the one that lurks somewhere behind the giant form of Donald J. Trump. Still, curiously enough in Donald Trump’s America (though you undoubtedly won’t have noticed it), the latest Monmouth University Poll does indicate that even 64% of Republicans (not to speak of 92% of Democrats and 78% of independents) believe that the Earth’s climate is changing in less than thrilling ways. The president himself and all his climate-denying minions are part of a shrinking crew of very high-intelligence-level types, a mere 16% of Americans in fact, who are still convinced that climate change isn’t happening. So consider that something of an achievement in a world in which when you look, it’s hard, as Gordon points out today in her own striking way, to see anything but… well, you know exactly who! (And given the way he wields exclamation points, I use that one advisedly.) Our president blocks… under the circumstances, I wish I could say the sun… but our view of more or less anything else, which, given the state of the planet, is in itself no small disaster.