Amy Roberts: Burning down the house on the Senate floor
I tend to lean slightly anti-emoji. It’s not exactly a cause I’m willing to be a martyr for, though I’m inclined to take the stand that thoughts and ideas are best expressed using grammatically correct sentence structure, not a digital cartoon symbol. But this week, I reversed course. I replied to dozens of texts and emails using nothing but icons — the eyeroll guy, the barfing one, angry face, exasperated dude, and the face palm, lots and lots of the face palm — in an attempt to convey my thoughts. Mostly because I just couldn’t find the words needed when asked to comment on Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s suggestion that we can breed our way out of the climate change crisis.
You don’t have to watch C-SPAN to know what I’m talking about. Any late-night comedy show will do. Lee was roasted on nearly all of them for standing on the Senate floor and stating, “The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution that we’re considering this week in the Senate, but rather the serious business of human flourishing. The solution to so many of our problems at all times and in all places is to fall in love, get married and have some kids.”
Allegedly, his speech was a rebuttal to the Green New Deal resolution proposed by freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Though rebuttal sounds a bit too sophisticated for what took place. Usually a rebuttal is a term used to describe a well-thought-out response, one that uses evidence and experts to disprove a previously stated claim. Mr. Lee used photoshopped posters of Ronald Reagan firing a machine gun while riding a velociraptor and Aquaman riding a seahorse to make his point.
Which begs the question, what is the right emoji for “this guy is whack?”
Regardless of your feelings on the Green New Deal, climate change isn’t a punchline, and the Senate floor isn’t the place to rehearse your stand-up comedy routine. (This is obviously reserved for the White House.) Mr. Lee’s time, along with taxpayer dollars, would have been put to far better use by engaging in policy ideas or meaningful dialogue, rather than a humorless attempt to undermine a very real threat.
Using Sen. Lee’s logic — that having more kids equates to solving more problems — if your house is actively burning to the ground, don’t attempt to extinguish the flames or call 911 and hope the fire department arrives in time. The best thing to do is reproduce and expect your children to put out the fire.
Aside from this being an utterly asinine solution, it’s also clearly proven ineffective. A whole bunch of people, most of the planet in fact, have fallen in love, gotten married and added to the population. Yet climate change is still a really big problem, one that so far, none of those extra humans have managed to solve. They have, however, greatly contributed to it.
No doubt, the Green New Deal was a longshot. It wasn’t going to pass in its first draft. But that doesn’t mean it should be ridiculed and dismissed. Not too long ago this nation got behind an even more preposterous idea — to put a man on the moon. When announced, that giant leap was an unimaginable goal, but the country got on board. Few considered the future benefits they’d enjoy as a result: new products, technology, innovations and scientific understandings. At the time, Americans were largely behind the Apollo mission because they wanted to be part of something inspiring, they wanted America to set and accomplish a progressive goal, they wanted to look at what everyone else deemed impossible and collectively tell the naysayers, “I told you so.”
Why can’t we have that same national pride for clean air and water? Aren’t those at least equally as important as moon rocks?
I don’t understand the hesitation, much less the disdain, for a big idea designed to make our planet a little less toxic. Why not fine tune it instead of mock it? The solution to any problem has never been to continue making it worse until someone else comes along to fix it.
When your house is on fire, you don’t pour gasoline on the flames because you’ve got a slew of spare humans who share your DNA and you assume they are pretty good with a garden hose.
And if that is your solution, you most certainly should not be in the business of passing on your genes.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
“Even the dogs were celebrating the reemergence of the sun.”