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You may have heard how some people like to play a drinking game during the Presidential Debates. If you haven’t, the rules of the debate drinking game work like this: You make a list of words that each candidate is likely to say and drink whenever the candidates say those words. The effectiveness of this game depends on what words are on your list beforehand. You shouldn’t choose a word that would be used too frequently. If you use the word “taxes,” you might as well call your “game” what it is: “a blackout waiting to happen.” The opposite is true for words that wouldn’t be used at all.
If you were one of those gamers who made the mistake of putting “climate change” on your drinking list, chances are you made it out of the debate stone-cold sober. “Climate Change” was not mentioned one single time in the Presidential Debates. Neither was “global warming.” Out of about four and a half hours and roughly 50,000 words, neither of those terms appeared even once. Yep, “Big Bird” was mentioned more than climate change.
For some perspective: this is the first time since 1988 that the subject of climate change did not come up in any of debates. This is so, despite all indications that this will end up being one of the hottest years on record, and despite the fact that the Pentagon considers climate change a threat to national security. This is so, despite a recent Pew survey in which 67% of Americans believe that temperatures are rising, and nearly half the country believes that man-made actions are the cause of it.
The point here is not to argue one side over the other. The point is that we should be having this argument. Period. Or rather, the two men who are running to be the leader of the free world, they should have this argument for all of us to see. The fact that there is no consensus on this issue doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be arguing about it. If anything, it means that some clear arguments are needed, so that some type of resolution can be found. And who better to give those answers than the two presidential candidates?
Well, there are reasons why Obama and Romney are mum on this topic. It could definitely be because certain financial benefactors behind both of them (Big Oil anyone?) just don’t want climate change mentioned at all, for obvious reasons. Especially during the second debate, it felt like both candidates were vying to be the apple of Big Oil’s eye (specifically, the part where they were arguing about drilling on public lands – essentially arguing who would drill the most). Even when both candidates mentioned clean energy for some vague, better future, they were talking about it in economic terms. For instance, when they spoke about wind energy jobs in Iowa, neither said those jobs were good for climate change, just that they were good because they were jobs in and of themselves.
And, there’s always the tried-and-true “wait till something tragic happens before we start talking about it” method. After being a non-issue in the debate season, the media and the candidates are finally talking about climate change in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Hopefully this is not all that can compel the candidates to tackle this issue. If it takes a hurricane to get them to even mention it, I can only fathom what it would take for them to actually do something about it.
Thus, it’s up to us, America, to demand what we deserve. Every side benefits from this debate being had, and the only way we can get the two men vying for the top office in this country to have that debate is to change their political math, is to demand that this needs to be settled before we keep investing wasted money on green jobs, or before the truly negative effects of global warming make themselves known. Let’s turn the tables and make it politically unacceptable to ignore this any longer.
So, here’s to hoping that I can put “climate change” on my list in 2016, and get completely hammered for doing so.