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James A. Cusumano, Ph.D. Headshot

Dear Mr. Republican: I Know You Love Our Children

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Dear Mr. Republican:

I'm afraid, very afraid -- for my children and for yours. And I'm not quite sure what to do about it. Can you please help me? Even if you just listened to understand, that would go a long way.

Sir, I'm neither a Democrat, nor a Republican, but I see a rapid rise of two new "religions," Democratism and Republicanism, both deeply pitted against each other, and it's terribly frightening. In spirit and emotional casualties, the outcome appears not unlike the terrible consequences of the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades.

As I see it, Sir, the increasing daily dogma of these two new religions is putting your children and mine at terrible risk, all in the name of your assumed duty to fight what you perceive as an evil sect called Obamaism -- even if it means that your strategy is not in the best interest of the American people. I fear this will take all of us into a darkness from which there is no return. Please allow me just one example -- climate change. I know you believe it's a global conspiracy, but please, just hear me out. Please.

It seems to me that all respectable card-carrying Republicans support the view that climate change is a cleverly created hoax, and since fighting climate change is part of Democratism doctrine, this makes your conservative dogma on the subject a matter that is not open for discussion. But, please Sir, just a few more minutes of your time.

This month a report prepared and issued by a high-level military advisory board concluded that climate change poses a serious threat to America's national security. The authors of the report, all retired high-ranking officers have warned us that droughts, rising seas and extreme weather were already the cause of global instability and conflict. And it will only get much worse -- a perfect storm is brewing for civil war. (Eric H Cline, Climate Change Doomed the Ancients, New York Times, May 27, 2014.)

Sir, as I am sure you are aware, your esteemed colleague, Senator James M. Inhofe of the great state of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and an acknowledged believer that climate change is nothing but a big "hoax," dismissed this military advisory report as simply a publicity stunt.

Sir, as someone trained in the sciences, I have always experienced the vast majority of scientists I have met to be truth-seekers, no matter how the chips may fall. Yes, there are exceptions and there certainly are some who have managed to get a questionable degree in science and now occupy the fringes of research and often support what you may prefer to hear. They're the same types who were funded by Big Tobacco for many years to prove that smoking does not cause cancer.

Sir, what perplexes me about the climate change "hoax" theory is, how do you get more than 20,000 climate scientists -- 2,000 of whom are members of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] -- into a room and say, "Now here's the plan? All agreed?" How do you maintain the sanctity of this conspiracy and assure that not a single rebel spills the beans? More than 97 percent of thousands of peer-reviewed research papers on climate change conclude the reality of a devastating future for us, our children and beyond if we don't take immediate and significant action. This is not a someday it may happen event. Do we really want to leave that kind of a legacy? Sir, is it really nothing but one big global conspiracy?

You are probably aware that in another report issued this month by the National Climate Assessment Panel, scientists warn that the effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every sector of the United States. Water is becoming scarcer in dry areas, torrential rains are increasing in wet regions, heat waves are becoming increasingly common and more severe, huge out-of-control wildfires are no longer unusual, and forests are dying from insects that prosper in increased warmth. (Justin Gillis, U.S. Climate Has Already Changed, Study Finds, Citing Heat and Floods, International New York Times, May 6, 2014.)

In Senator Inhofe's own Midwest neighborhood, several deadly supposedly once-in-a-lifetime tornadoes have ravaged communities beyond physical and emotional repair. And data from scientists at respectable American institutions such as MIT say we can expect more of the same with ever increasing intensity.

The report goes on to warn that "severe and sustained drought will stress water resources, already over utilized in many areas, forcing increasing competition among farmers, energy producers, urban dwellers and plant and animal life for the region's most precious resource." And you know, Sir, this report was overseen by a large committee representing a cross section of American society, including two oil company representatives.

One of the big surprises found in this report is the huge increase in flooding torrential rains over the last 50 years. It increased 71 percent in the Northeast, 37 percent in the Midwest and 27 percent in the South. A few examples--in 2010, Nashville was inundated after 20 inches of rain fell in less than two days. Last year, there were floods in Colorado after as much rain fell in a week as normally falls there in a year. And several weeks ago, the Florida panhandle was devastated by rains that appear to have exceeded two feet in 24 hours. (Ibid)

And now Sir, one of the scariest findings to date. Two weeks ago, scientists from two different highly-respected institutions announced that a large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun disintegrating and its continued melting appears to be unstoppable. This is due to increased warming of the earth's oceans. This is not speculation, but observation. A sea level rise of 10 feet or more is likely over decades ahead. A rise of less than four feet will inundate 3.7 million Americans in cities including Miami, New York, Boston and New Orleans. And that's without storm surges which will make things devastatingly worse. (Justin Gillis and Kenneth Chang, Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt, International New York Times, May 12, 2014.)

The papers I'm citing, Sir, appeared in Science and Geophysical Research Letters, two of the most distinguished scientific journals in the world. NASA was so concerned with the conclusions in the report that it called a telephone news conference to underscore the criticality of these findings. Now Sir, I ask you again, is all of this part of a huge global conspiracy?

And Sir, I have not even mentioned what will happen to our neighbors abroad and how this will have critical consequences for America. I say "neighbors" because globalization has forever linked us economically. As British archaeologist Susan Sherratt notes, we are all living in an "increasingly homogeneous yet uncontrollable global economy and culture" in which "political uncertainties on one side of the world can drastically affect the economies of regions thousands of miles away." (Op. cit., Reference 1.)

So you see, Sir, I believe these data tell us that climate change is happening NOW, and the U.S. as a country is not providing nearly the level of global leadership it is capable of. In my opinion, this is because of the "Crusade" war between Republicanism and Democratism, Republicans trying to stamp out Obamaism and Democrats trying to protect it. The losers, Sir, are the American people and for that matter all global citizens. Repercussions will be increasingly severe.

The Republican Party is badly damaged for reasons you understand better than I. Why not rebirth your party as a true leader with a vision and a dream that all peoples can buy into, by negotiating a peaceful settlement with the Democrats, dissolving the dangerous dogma in both parties, and putting the interest of the American people back where it belongs, as number one?

Why, Sir? Because you love your children; I love my children, and in fact, I love yours, as well. I want them all to see a sustainable future and not civil war; to experience hope and not despair; and to have an opportunity to bring their marvelous innate skills forward as part of their life purpose and passion, so that they might create a great global society, one that stemmed from what their parents left them.

Then one day, Sir, when you are lying in bed making ready for that transition to your "next life," wherever that may be, you can smile, feel at peace and know your did all in your power to make this a better world because you loved our children.

Thanks for listening.

James A. Cusumano, PhD