For Mitt Romney, usually a less than stunning speaker, tonight’s speech was surprising in its passion and delivery. Pundits noted this speech was likely his best. He delivered a number of compelling lines including ones that don’t quite ring true for the most obstructionist republican party in seven decades. Lines like: ‘I wish President Obama had succeeded.’ I wonder if a party that reinvented the term filibuster can honestly say they agree? If Romney felt such a sentiment, it was a good one. Sorry to see it hasn’t born out among the vast majority of republicans.
That said, the most out-of-context reference in the entire speech occurred when Romney made light of the issue of global warming. Romney, in a rhetorical jab at Obama, poked fun at Obama’s promise to help stop sea level rise and begin to heal the planet. This jab is especially concerning when one looks at Romney’s energy plan which could well be described as coughing carbon dioxide. His promise to double down on fossil fuels, including coal, will certainly do further harm to an already fragile world climate.
These assaults on the validity of global warming science fly directly in the face of fact and reality. Romney’s loud whistle past the climate change graveyard happens during a year of unprecedented sea ice melt, during the hottest year on record in America, during the worst drought in fifty years and during a year of record fires around the world.
This belittling of an issue that is sure to have ever-increasing impact is nothing short of blatant irresponsibility. Romney claims to be concerned for families, for our future. But an ever-increasing amount of harm will come to our families and our future should we fail to respond to the very real danger of climate change.
Yet the most poignant note of the convention, for me, was watching children playing in the balloon drop. What will happen to them if their republican parents are wrong in their assertions? What will happen to them if the worst potentials of climate change are brought on by a sudden increase in dependence on fossil fuels? What happens to them in 20 years when the US farmlands are even drier than they are today? What happens if coastlines start to destabilize? How much poorer, more desperate and afraid will they be in such an uncertain and increasingly hostile place?
Romney speaks of the future even as he seeks to force dependence on the energy sources that may ruin it. And he brazenly laughs at the very climate change increasing use of those fuels would intensify. History will judge Romney very harshly on these points. And such judgement will be far more harsh should a Romney Presidency steer us full-speed into the teeth of climate change.