Climate change isn’t most folks’ biggest worry

To the editor:

The crowd was pretty spirited at Louie’s the other day. Some of the regulars who hadn’t heard that Louie and Loretta had come back from Florida began to show up again.

Ken was there, as usual: “That guy Trump gives me heartburn; he talks and talks. One day he says this; the next day he says that. People ask him about something; he says, ‘We’ll wait and see; maybe something will happen.’ Any time anybody says something that irritates him, he starts insulting them with all these tweets. When is it going to stop?”

“Well, at least he’s a fighter,” said somebody. “People know that if they challenge him, they’re going to end up with a funny nickname. He’s good at that.”

“Yeah, but every day, on and on,” answered Ken, “don’t any of you suffer from Trump fatigue?”

“Ken,” said Harry, “this guy Rick Reilly, who writes funny books, decided to write something about golf. So he caddied for all these famous golfers and other people, to see what they were like. He caddied for Trump one day. At the end of the day, he said to Trump, “I’ve had so much fun today; can we do it again?” And Trump said, “No, you couldn’t stand me for more than one day.” So at least Trump understands himself. Yeah, maybe we’ve all had too much of Trump. But there’s an easy answer to that problem. Don’t pay any attention to him; don’t watch the news. Just wait until there’s news about something that he has done, not about what he says.” Then he looked at Ken and laughed, “Don’t you have anything better to do?”

Ken growled back at him, “Hey, I like to keep in touch, OK?”

“No,” said Harry, “you secretly enjoy watching Trump, just so you can think up something else to criticize him for. If he weren’t on TV every night, you’d be bored to death. Let me ask you: how much of that last Democrat TV debate did you watch?”

“I watched some of it,” muttered Ken.

Harry answered: “And the reason you didn’t watch more of it because every time one of those candidates proposed another trillion-dollar plan to solve all of our problems, you had a little sinking feeling your stomach that that person couldn’t match Trump when the chips are down. They say all these Democrats with their wacko schemes will move to the center if he or she gets the nomination. How are they going to answer when Trump asks them why they had their goofy plans six months ago?

“The Democrats are in a hole right now, and they don’t know how to get out. You know, I wish they had someone reasonable and well-spoken and clever who could stand up to Trump in a debate. I think it would be good for the country, and I think such a candidate could beat Trump, simply because a lot of people do have Trump fatigue. But they don’t: they’ve hitched their wagon to climate change. If it’s a problem, they don’t have any clear answers about a solution. Bernie Sanders’ answer is that poor people should have fewer babies; Buttigieg says people should stop eating meat. Are you kidding me?

“When people hear some Democrat blaming every unusual natural event on climate change, they know they’re being had. People have more important things to worry about. Take student debt, for instance. Some people in Washington are starting to think it might have an effect on the economy.

“People worry about gun violence. Every time there’s a shooting, politicians wave their hands and say we must do something, and they never do, because they can’t. Because of the nature of gun violence today, the government can’t stop it. Why? Because these attacks are usually carried out by mentally-disturbed people who can get guns. The government can’t lock those people up, and they can’t make guns go away. What should happen? I’ll tell you: every community in this country should understand two things: one, that there may be a potential killer in their town, and two and more importantly, if there is, people probably know who he is. Usually, after a shooting, people will say, ‘Oh, we’ve always known about that guy; he was always bragging about guns or doing weird things,’ To help gun violence go away, a community has to recognize its own responsibility to identify these people. A community must be given the right to guard itself against dangerous people. Maybe they have to be publicly identified, like sex offenders. This thing has to be addressed on a local level.

“Those are the kind of things that people worry about, not climate change.”

Harry was finished, and the room was silent, but with a lot of tension in the air. People were ready to talk, but I had to go, and I don’t know what they said.

John Brittain