Worlds in collusion

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One of the most galling things about the neo-conservative trend toward performative outrage over “wokeness” is the pure, naked hypocrisy of the whole thing. Think of it yourself: privileged, upper class white people actually declaring that “wokeness” is the most offensive thing they ever saw. I’m not just talking about Republicans here. I’m also talking to you, Bill Maher

Conservatives are pretending to be offended because they’ve been asked occasionally to take a moment and consider the feelings of people less fortunate than themselves, people traditionally shunted to the margins. That the unprivileged classes suddenly dare to want equal rights and equal respect for themselves must be a difficult pill to swallow for those people used to having it all — the rich, white, chattering, cocktail classes. I dare say you need to look all the way back to Auschwitz to find people who have had to endure greater inconvenience. My god, what an imposition all this wokeness must be for them!

But this kind of thing is really nothing but a sideshow of a greater systemic evil. It’s all part of a grand strategy, partly planned, partly stumbled upon, by the haves to shift their guilty culpability of venality and evil to the have nots. And it’s working, too. Last time I checked the bad guys are still doing it and still getting away with it.

Consider global warming. You’d hardly notice that every year 20 million people are displaced because of extreme weather and environmental degradation due to global climate change. You hardly notice because it happens mostly in those parts of the globe that some of us have so successfully swept under the rug.

Those are the same far flung places where all the plastic crap we bring home every day from the grocery store gets hauled to. It chokes THEIR rivers and clogs THEIR streams and putrefies THEIR oceans, not ours. So far, so good. First world climate science denialism survives so long as the worst of its consequences remains in third world countries.

But nothing gets a Conservative’s attention faster than having bad things that they previously ignored or disdained happen to them. Suddenly when they discover their son is gay or they have ventilator-style Covid or their daughter needs an abortion they start to “get” what the rest of us with empathy and imaginations “got” long ago, without it having to happen to us. That’s one reason why, broadly speaking, liberals worry about climate change and conservatives do not. We care about the displaced poor and future generations. Conservatives only care about themselves.

Meanwhile, the various worlds of corporate greed, Republican hegemony and evangelical end-of-the-world adventism continue to collude in ways that make climate change very much a backseat issue. They distract with culture wars against wokeness, M&M’s spokescandies, Hunter Biden, the “stolen” 2020 election and Dr. Seuss. Any shiny object to distract their drooling base and muddy the narrative with cosplaying crap will do. Nobody does “selfish” quite like a Republican.

This will go on until global warming comes right to their door, and by then it will be too late. The forces arrayed against our survival include the very people threatened with extinction. I wouldn’t mind if they went extinct, but I do object to their taking us with them.

What can we do? The usual things I’ve mentioned before: recycle, spread the word about climate change peril, go vegan (or at least consume fewer animal products) if you can, stop having kids, and cultivate a low carbon footprint.

But we can also stop participating in Republican absurdities, like disdaining “wokeness,” like believing some of their idiotic conspiracy theories, like repeating their evidence-free claims. And we can vote them out of office.

The survival of the planet depends on us. Unfortunately, failure is an option. It’s also known as suicide. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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