In case you missed the news, it’s 100-percent official: No one is allowed to talk about climate change.
So … shhh.
At least that’s what the Republican party seems to be saying. Yesterday, in a predictably bland and soulless media session, Jeb Bush expressed respect for the pope, but said he shouldn’t be influencing environmental policy because, “he is not a scientist.”
Indeed, Bush is correct. The pope is not a scientist, just as I am not a football player, and therefore should not have an opinion on Giants-Redskins. Just as you are not an actor, and therefore cannot criticize Keanu Reeves for his work in “The Devil’s Advocate” (or 20 other films). Just as—by this thinking—nobody can have a valid opinion on anything, unless they are literally certified in the field. It’s the new line of reasoning in the right’s fight to prevent anything being down on climate change. The playbook is simple: When someone asks about climate change, respond by saying, “Look, I’m not a scientist, so …”
But here’s the catch; the wacky, wild, funkadelic catch: The same politicians shrugging their shoulders while offering the ol’ “I’m no scientist” line repeatedly (and, by “repeatedly,” I mean all the time) dismisses climate scientists as frauds, as biased, as liberal hacks, as Al Gore loyalists, as UN operative. No matter how many climate experts scream and shout and plead with us to take this problem seriously, Republican officeholders and office seekers shush them with a flick of the hand.
So who can we listen to?
Maybe, just maybe, the Alf puppet. But he’s about it.