It took about 25 years, but reality finally caught up to the right.
In 1987, I was in the audience for a debate on global warming held in Washington, DC. Reagan was our President at the time, and it was my first exposure to the subject. I’m cannot recall who was on the panel. Al Gore, who joined the Senate in 1985, could have been there. All I really remember is that one of the Republicans on the panel, after stating repeatedly that there was no such thing as global warming, and implying that liberal academics were just looking to increase their federal research funding, said that, even if there was, it wouldn’t matter. He said – and I remember this very distinctly – we’d just make bigger, better air conditioning units. The free market, in other words, would solve everything. That was the level of debate in 1986, and it’s been a long, hard slog since then. It seems as though, we’re finally making some headway, though. Today I read the following quote from Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina:
“I have been to enough college campuses to know if you are 30 or younger this climate issue is not a debate. It’s a value… When you say that those who believe it are buying a hoax, and are wacky people, you are putting at risk your party’s future with younger people.”
I’d argue that the same thing holds for gay marriage and gays in the military. According to polls, the right has already lost those fights. Young people just don’t care. On one hand, it’s depressing as hell that it takes decades or more to turn this enormous ship of state that we’re all on, but at least we know that it can be done. We know that the effort is worth it, and that reality eventually wins out over fear, superstition and prejudice. That, I think, is something to be happy about.