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In a January poll by the Pew Research Center, Americans were asked to choose from a list of policy issues which single issue should be Washington’s top priority. The top six policy priorities, according to the poll, were: strengthening the nation’s economy (80%), improving the job situation (74%), defending the country from terrorism (73%), improving the educational system (69%), making social security system sound (66%), and reducing the budget deficit (63%). Way down the list, garnering only 29%, was dealing with global warming. So, this question must be asked: why did 30 Democratic senators host a 14-hour talkathon in the Senate chamber on climate change when there are so many other pressing issues?
Frankly, my best answer is that the Democratic Party has been experiencing little success on major issues over the past several months so they are attempting to change the conversation. The White House is in on this discussion as well, taking to Twitter to live tweet the all nighter. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Jakarta, Indonesia last month that climate change is “the greatest challenge of our generation.” In this same address, Kerry compares climate change with issues like “terrorism, epidemics, poverty, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” saying that climate change “ranks right up there with every single one of them.”
Let me be clear in saying that scientific evidence does, for the most part, support the claims of environmentalists and the senators who spoke all night earlier this month. Perhaps I am naïve in making this claim, but I agree wholeheartedly with the Americans who cast their votes in January prioritizing policy issues in the United States. I do not believe climate change ought to be our top priority.
Despite the scientific evidence, I find it rather repulsive that those 30 senators would entertain such a discussion after they have unilaterally usurped power in the Senate and refuse to debate legislation that liberals are not interested in (ironically many refer to the Senate as the “world’s greatest deliberative body”). By taking this action, the Democrats effectively snuffed the voices of some 48 million American voters who have elected Republicans to the Senate since 2008. Furthermore, both senators in 14 states are Republican. This means there are 14 states that have no say in various senatorial actions that require only a simple majority (there are 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 Independents).
I am well aware that as a conservative there will be many times that I disagree with those on the other side. That being said, when the Senate Majority Leader says that dealing with climate change is “a question of our own survival,” but calls the horror stories of those that lost health insurance due to ObamaCare “untrue,” I can’t help but wonder where the Democrats’ priorities are.
Climate change may well be a pressing issue of our time and we ought to be more responsible in the way of air and water pollution. But, if the government cannot get its fiscal house in order, climate change will be the least of our worries. Governing bodies are presented with a series of challenging questions and are expected to prioritize them. Legislating is not meant to be an easy task; if it were then we could close down Washington. Decisions must be made, and they must be made responsibly.
To those 30 Democrats I would like to say this: open your eyes. We are in desperate need of collaborative leadership on both sides of the aisle and the climate change conversation is a red herring; for the sake of our nation, lead responsibly. Misguided priorities will be the death of our Republic.