written 4 July 2021
published 11 July 2021
In unity reality, everything arises from the same source, so if anything is exceptional, everything must be. Consequently, the assertion of "white male Christian exceptionalism", a current tenant of the Republican party, is a foolish, self-destructive fantasy, attempting to justify exclusive gain of a few at the expense of the larger whole. Such self-proclaimed religiosity is even contrary to the core teachings of Christ.
The propositions of "American exceptionalism", which denies our globally interdependent economy, and "human exceptionalism", which denies our interdependence with the biosphere, are similar long-standing fallacies of exclusive gain, now being tested by the inclusivity of the reality we all inhabit.
The collapsed 12-story apartment building in the Miami area is a perfect metaphor. The fundamental design, which benefited a few at the expense of everything else, was flawed, then degraded further by self-serving corruption during construction, additionally compromised by short sighted, cost saving, lack of maintenance, culminating with an abrupt collapse and massive loss of life and value, due to unacknowledged changes in the underlying physical structure. How many other buildings are in the same situation? How secure do their occupants feel? What will be the long-term impact on the Florida economy?
The same week that building fell, temperatures in the Pacific northwest broke multiple records. Portland, OR, was 35°F above their normal for this time of year. The town of Lytton, BC, recorded a new high for Canada, 121°F, halfway to boiling, and then completely burned to the ground a couple of days later, as high winds drove lightning ignited fires through the narrow canyon.
In addition to increased fire risk, the heat wave rapidly thawed permafrost across the region, creating landslides, killing forests, accelerating soil erosion, choking rivers, causing flooding, and released more methane, which will further enhance warming. Arctic researchers are concerned that much of the remaining multi-year ice, the last refuge for many Arctic animals, so thick it was expected to last into the next century, has been melting rapidly, to the point that regular ship traffic in the area is increasing.
The east coast is preparing for arrival of tropical storm Elsa, which formed unusually early this year. Extreme flooding in the upper mid-west has disrupted farming. At what point do these interrelated disasters affect the economy? How many Lytton, BC, or Paradise, CA, disasters will it take for the insurance and real estate markets to be affected?
The warning signs have been apparent for decades, and the alarms are ringing. Yet, under lobbying by Exxon-Mobil and the Chamber of Commerce, putting profits over people, the climate change provisions were stripped out of the "bi-partisan" infrastructure bill. A sting video with an Exxon lobbyist revealed which Senators were on the Exxon payroll to make sure the government does nothing about the climate, despite massive public support.
But the Republican party, with no policy beside remaining in power, is not committed to democracy. In 2010, Republicans on the Supreme Court removed limitations on campaign contributions, allowing corporate dark money to explode. In 2013, they removed protections against State voter suppression in the Voting Rights Act. Last week, the Court, further strengthened the rights of corporations, which are legal fictions, to buy an election, while expanding State voter suppression of actual citizens, and made it harder to challenge the rules. The party of exclusive gain believes this will allow their minority rule to endure a while longer.
However, if democracy is subverted, if corruption replaces the rule of law, if the economy collapses due to the changing climate, what exactly will they rule? Their tactics are crude, and their lies supporting inaction are becoming more ludicrous and obvious every day. The climate crisis is already here, and the quantity of people being affected is large, so public concern, especially among the young, is growing, demanding real action on voting rights to preserve our democracy, and on climate change to preserve a planet hospitable to humans.
I have faith in Americans, and believe we will embrace reality, and the real promise of democracy, which accepts everyone as valid.