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Lower-left-wing conspiracy
June 29, 2010 - 9:37pm

Speaking for all of us here in the Northeast, I want to apologize. In truth, we probably deserve our fate. We didn't do it consciously, nor intentionally, nor entirely without justification (ahem!), but we did do it and we should not have.

We should not have looked down on the rest of the country for being provincial, and illiterate, and unscientific, and ... well ... other. Even if they are. Those of us in the upper-right quadrant of the country have felt, and acted, and ... been ... especially privileged. After all, when President Reagan revived the "city on a hill" meme, we knew what (Hub) city he was referring to. We even knew what hill the light shone from (although I have an historic distrust of Baystaters' knowledge of the Jeopardy category "Hills beginning with B").

We should not have regaled ourselves when televangelists from the lower-right and lower-left quadrants claimed that natural disasters were God's wrath being visited upon the unrighteous, safe in our knowledge that floods and fires and earthquakes and tornadoes and fire-ants occurred predominantly in the Bible Belt. We might have to suffer through the occasional blizzard and the rare hurricane remnant, but true disasters were reserved for elsewhere. For less-where.

Nor should we have laughed ironically when nativist and jingoistic pronouncements came from the mouths of politicians whose ancestors were neither on the Mayflower nor already on the shore when she landed. Because the truth of the matter is that James Inhofe was right. Far right, but right nonetheless. "Right" in the sense of successful. "Successful" in that he's currently having his revenge on the Northeast. Maybe not fire-ants yet, but certainly the floods, earthquakes and tornadoes. (OK, the earthquake's epicenter was technically in Canada, but ... hey ... Ontario was largely settled by displaced New Englanders, anyway.)

So our woods are being slowly transformed into rainforests. Our towns are being rapidly visited by tornadoes (which just as rapidly depart). Our roads are getting flooded out -- not as widely as in Oklahoma or East Texas, but given the shape of the land up here, unbroken widespread flooding would take rain on the order of forty days and forty nights -- we're not at that point yet.

The facts are clear for all to see. Our weather is changing. Our winters are later and milder. Our summers are hotter. Our storms are more frequent, and larger, and have more energy within them. Climatologists can insist that no single weather event can be attributed to climate change. Statisticians can argue over levels of statistical significance. To those of us on the (increasingly wet, windy and unstable) ground, none of that matters. They (whoever "they" are) aren't making weather like they used to.

So Inhofe can retire from the field of combat, secure in the knowledge that those of us in the upper-right now have a sense for what folks in the lower-left have been going through for decades. (Even if they do think that decades is a long time down there!) Climate change has been an effective weapon for him, so he can stop denying (or should I say "cloaking") its existence. Let Kerrey and Lieberman score a meaningless political win. The war on the ground is already lost.

Maybe we can negotiate a cease-fire. Maybe we can locate the refugee camps in Oklahoma.


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