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Opinion & Editorial

Living in Denial

Scrolling through Twitter last Friday, I couldn’t believe what filled my timeline.

Attacks on Greta Thunberg and the international climate strikes littered my home page, and after just minutes of reading tweets from fervent politicians and enraged citizens, I had to put my phone away.

It’s a well-established fact by now that climate change is a real issue with extreme effects at this very moment, yet when I scanned through the comments of our nation’s President, Fox journalists, and more importantly, people who I know and respect, all that I saw was spewing ignorance.

Attacks on Thunberg’s mental illness and intelligence as well as warnings about buying into the “hysteria” of global warming left me  appalled, and I forced myself to take a step back.

What I saw were words of hatred, words of revulsion, words of cowardice. 

Like countless other impassioned Americans and citizens worldwide, I wonder how anyone can see climate change as anything but urgent.

When I forced myself to step away and think about where the general American population stands on divisive issues in 2019, I realized I should not be surprised by the generally appalling response: we are living in an age of denial.

I spent hours afterward pondering how we as a country have arrived at a place in politics and society where issues such as climate change, gun control, and presidential abuse of power are being ignored and cast off as trivialities. Moreover, I also wondered how issues of such importance are being denied even the real possibility of further action.

When I think about these issues in a broad sense, the answers aren’t completely clear. There are kinks and roadblocks that come with every proposed solution to a societal problem, let alone climate change or gun control, but unfortunately, this is not what’s holding our nation back from taking action.

What is holding back our politicians, our reporters, and our citizens from taking action and making change is simple denial.

Politicians mock the idea of climate change by ignoring the overwhelming evidence right before our eyes. They send a copy-paste message of “thoughts and prayers” in response to every mass shooting without considering the overwhelming success of first-world nations that have enacted firearm restrictions. Likewise, citizens across all 50 states ignore the blatant wrongdoings of President Trump week after week, whether it is his increasing authoritarianism, his inappropriate rhetoric, or his direct abuse of power recently displayed in his phone call with President Zelensky. 

Deny. Deny. Deny.

It’s dishearting that we’ve come to a place in the world where actions don’t seem to have consequences for those of the highest power, and the status quo has left me questioning if our nation can reverse its downward trajectory.

Politicians adhere to the every word of those who can support their paycheck, and as long as we continue to abandon what is most important, they will too.

This means that we must move towards data and statistics, not away from them. 

We must think logically and objectively, keeping in mind what is important, both in the short-term and the long-run.

We must keep open minds and not close ourselves off to ideas that have not yet been explored. 

We must not put those in Washington above the law and above our morals.

Astonishment over current affairs is becoming routine, so the question now becomes if there is a reason to be surprised at all.


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