Wayne Clark PhD and Woodrow Clark PhD
Extreme climate events can no longer be a surprise they are the normal. The new year is here and the prospects for 2022 are thrown on the wall of the future, there will continue to be political divisiveness, there will continue to be innovative technologies shaping how we transport and communicate with each other, there will still be a pandemic shifting back and forth between resolution and new variants. Yet one of the prospects that is of most concern will be the “surprises” of climate change, whether it is the winter fire storms in Colorado, the multi state tornadoes in the Tennessee, Arkansas, Ohio corridor, the floods in the northwest, extreme snow storms in the east coast, increased number and veracity of hurricanes in the eastern seaboard, or the drought conditions followed by atmospheric rivers in the west. The usual extreme weather events should no longer be surprises, instead expect the best put prepare and plan for the worst. Local, state, and federal governments should be prepared with road improvements, bridge safety, fire mitigation, in these times governments are the solution not the problem. State local and federal governments will need to prepare for these normal extreme climate events, massive infrastructure spending should identify and meet the needs for extreme events. We cannot control Mother Nature, but we can create plans to mitigate the impact of mother natures growing pattern of extreme conditions. What if scenarios need to be developed with supplies stored with resources at the ready to be deployed.
Just as extreme climate events and their amelioration are now the norm for mother earth, we humans have extreme events that also need to be dealt with. Here I am talking about threats to our democracy and holding those responsible for creating and supporting events to undermine this 250-year-old American experiment, called Democracy.
A conservative pundit recently stated that there are those who have a stranglehold on the Republican Party. One that will mean the end of the Republican Party we all grew up with. My parents were republicans, my younger brother was a republican, several of my good friends are republicans, and many neighbors are republicans. They are not racists, nor violent, nor are they filled with hate. Many of them would be people you would go to when you need something, many have great skills in everything from carpentry to banking, to parenting, to real estate, to teaching. You name it, they are kind and decent people. Today they need to step up and save their party.
The stranglehold is in the hand of former President Donald Trump and his cronies. It is the Republican Party that is at risk and could lead to the death of the two-party system of compromise and negotiation and participatory democracy. In a representative democracy which we have here in the United States, an educated, participatory electorate can act by ceasing to vote for certain party leaders that are not honest in what they say and what they stand for. The kind of Republicans I know should hold the Republican Party accountable for trying to end democracy, if the party does not hold the dishonest, corrupt trump leadership accountable then the party itself will not survive. If the current leadership continues to not push back on racist, violent attacks on our democracy then, the Republican party will cease to exist, and the democracy will be in peril. If the republicans I know instead act to save their party, then the Republican party and our democracy will survive. The republicans have a choice, either escape the stranglehold by bolting from giving those that would hold on to pronouncements of violence, attacks on voting rights. These republicans should confront those with the cult republicans by using their democratic right of withholding their votes or switching to being independent undecided voters or even vote for the democratic candidates.
Voters are the lifeblood for democracy, if voters escape from the grasp of Donald Trump and his blind loyalists, there will be a Republican Party. Traditional Republican values will re surface, encouraging enterprise, standing up for the rule of law, accepting that we all are Americans, encouraging diversity, accepting that government has a role to play in protecting and maintaining the earth we walk on, the air we breathe, the water we drink. Leading Republicans of the past will be resurfaced as heroes like Eisenhower. Lincoln, Javits, the Bush’s and others. We should end the idolization of egomaniacs that hold themselves higher than the rest of us, that look down on those they claim to support, that do not care about us, just themselves and other wealthy cronies. The American dream of a successful full life is a Republican dream that is available to all of us. But we need to get rid of the self-serving leadership at the top from choking off our ability to breath by holding us back while stuffing their pockets by their own corrupt practices. There is an opportunity to turn this anti-democratic movement around.
The American dream needs to be set free; the republicans need to awake from the smoke screen of Trumpism. The republicans I know are not racist, they are not hateful, they do not look down at others, they are generous neighbors, they love our country and what it stands for. They can and should take the individual responsibility of the vote to remove the trump leadership cohorts. These friendly republicans should unburden themselves from fantasy conspiracies, continue the American way of knowing what we stand for and ending the stranglehold.
When I say educated, I am not just talking about the highly educated book learners. I also mean those who know how to do things the carpenters, the electricians, the farmers, the truck drivers, the teachers, the nurses, the bankers, the lawyers, we all have knowledge and experience that gives value to our families, communities, and society. We have a responsibility to bounce back from the fog of propaganda, misinformation, and deception. We can vote with our feet. Stop watching networks that do not share information but instead push their self serving and untruthful opinions, and social media that is more interested in counting us than respecting us. The choke hold discredits each of our vital role as participants in a democracy, the vice grip around our necks does not respect our skills, so we need to take back the Republican party from leaders that are squeezing every breath out of the party of Lincoln.