Columns / Discourse / November 6, 2019

A vote for the future

The skies above California are at their prettiest around the fall. This, of course, is because of the tremendous amounts of smoke from the fires that inevitably consume the state around this time.

Wildfires have been increasingly out of control in recent years as summer becomes ever drier and longer. And now, President Trump has threatened to cut-off emergency federal funding to the state.

Nevermind that most of California’s forests are federally owned and that Trump rolled back federal funding that was to be used to manage these forests and prevent massive blazes. Nevermind that Trump has spent his duration in office undoing decades of progress in setting environmental standards for emissions, drilling and land clearance.

California’s fires cannot be viewed in a vacuum like this, independent from the other climate emergencies that are striking this part of the world. From a white Halloween in Galesburg to the complete devastation of the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian, North America is already feeling the effects of climate change.

Our president is doing little more than throwing around blame and his supporters are enabling him as usual. Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader and Representative of Bakersfield, California, has maintained a deafening silence in response to Trump’s threats to defund the state that he purportedly represents in Congress.

Instead of defending his state’s interests, he’s appearing on television spreading falsehoods about the House’s impeachment hearings. Mitch McConnell has stalled legislation to address climate change in the Senate, along with hundreds of other bills meant to help the American people.

With an executive that remains so purposefully ignorant of the causes behind the disasters ravaging our nation, it’ll get worse before it’ll have a chance to get better. There’s no doubt that the past three years of rollbacks and denial by the Trump administration will ripple through the climate for several years more.

At the same time, it highlights the urgency with which America needs a president who accepts the climate crisis. It’s why, a year from now, we need to go out and vote. California’s fires will only get worse, the Atlantic hurricanes only more intense. And it’s ultimately our responsibility to evict those who enable these disasters.

Rudy Koppikar

Tags:  california climate change Donald Trump Mitch McConnell vote voting wildfires

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