Wildfire: Worsening fire seasons are yet further evidence of climate change. Courtesy photo

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?

Well, we could do nothing. Throw up our hands and admit, this is the world we have now, and go about our business. Stick to our own kind and let the crazies stick to theirs.

But we’ve run out of time.

Of course, it depends on how you define “crazies.” The ones I would peg that way, are looking at me the same. Is getting vaccinated crazy, or is refusing to? Or they might call me elitist, or a sheep, for basing my beliefs on science, history, math, medicine, physics, cumulative proven credible news sources like the New York and LA Times, BBC and NPR. Information attributable to demonstrable facts. Rather than QAnon. Bob Woodward, not Sean Hannity.

As for my shorthand of “crazies,” it generally has to do with people whose beliefs, and actions, and votes, are not fact-based, but they hold those beliefs dearly and unshakably. Few of them are really crazy (whatever that is), many of them are bright, educated and accomplished. But their ideas are lethally insane.

Then there are those who know the truth but use “alternative facts” to push their own agenda, which usually centers on substantially increasing their net worth, and/or their power. With no care for the destruction caused. They come off sounding the same as the easily duped, but we know they know better. Which is more contemptible, willful ignorance or greed? Neither will budge. Don’t waste your time arguing, once you have identified the closed mind.

THERE’S NO QUESTION

The country is divided, as is our city. So, why not just give up on convincing folks determined to operate from their own set of “facts”? It could be annoying or even amusing. But it’s literally killing people, killing democracy, killing our planet. And if you think my words are crazy, well, there you go.

There are too many of them, millions in America (74 million?). COVID-19, a woman’s right to choose, gun laws, the right to vote, racial justice, police protection not murder, the right to love whomever you choose and other LGBTQ+ rights, education, housing, student loan debt, income and taxation inequalities, and clean foods, clean air, clean water…

That’s the big one, that looms and dooms over all: climate change. It’s like the right to vote being the key to all the others. If our planet is made unlivable by us, no one is going to worry much about race or taxes. We’ve run out of time. Our beautiful planet is on fire, torn apart by hurricanes and tornadoes, split by earthquakes, burned and blackened by monstrous fires and volcanoes, drought then flooding, and famines of food and drinkable water. Ask a millennial or younger (unless they are a misinformed crazy), and you will likely find anger and hopelessness, rather than a willingness to discuss “the issues.” When your house is on fire, there are no other issues.

We’ve run out of time. And yet we plod along as though we have all the time in the world, chipping away at issues in the same old compromising ways. That’s why Bernie has so many young supporters. Like them, he knew the urgency, and the need for “radical” solutions. Now.

WE’RE ALL TO BLAME

And we’re all responsible. But as in anything, there are degrees. We would be doing so much better on all these fronts if it weren’t for the conspiracy crowd. They are our neighbors, our friends, even our family. We can’t just cut them out of our lives. But intentionally or not, they are destroying us. What a dilemma. What are we going to do? Gosh — I was hoping you’d know, and tell me. Here’s what I do know.

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Is not going to get us out of this. Responsible individual actions are commendable but too little too late. We now require action on a governmental, global scale. You know, like the Paris climate accord we pulled out of. Five years ago, when facts and reason lost at the voting polls, it was almost too late. Then we went full speed backwards. History is going to look at Al Gore far more kindly than we thought in 2000.

So yes, as to those degrees of responsibility, give Gore kudos for his vision but an F for lacking the will to resist hanging chad recount corruption and GOP election thuggery. It should not have taken him by surprise; it’s been the GOP playbook for a century.

Let’s count how many elephants there are in the room, because the truth is, the facts are, that’s where this noxious nonsense is coming from. But even now the Democrats are allowing an unelected House Parliamentarian to tell them they can’t vote on a national minimum wage raise or protection for Dreamers, and they do not move to brush that aside when they easily could.

EQUALLY CORRUPT?

I have always had frustration with people who say both parties are. The facts don’t bear that out. I am amazed at those who say Joe Biden is as bad as Trump. Can you imagine what we would be talking about right now if Trump had won re-election? In his defense I think Biden has presented a much more radical agenda than anyone thought he would. I think Bernie in the background is a force.

But that’s irrelevant now. It’s not enough. I don’t really fault Biden. He’s asking for trillions (from taxing the super-rich just a smidgen more) and a lot of it is to combat our climate crisis in ways that were unimaginable a couple of years ago. But the Republicans, and a few “blue dog” Dems like Manchin, Sinema and others, hold the razor-thin balance of power, and it will be a miracle if we get anything close to what we need.

Same goes for Santa Monica. We celebrated the miraculous election results that saw three “people’s candidates” upend the decades-old power structure. But three is not enough, and our City Council is still moving glacially along the old paths, needed reform being resisted by Gleam Davis and Sue Himmelrich, often abetted by Kristin McCowan. The next election, in 2022, is life or death both locally and nationally, and if we’re not ready now, it is already too late. We must also put extreme pressure on the elected officials we now have, like never before.

If our neighbors, friends and family don’t see California burning yet, we must love them and bless them and move them aside. We’ve flat out run out of time. Our children and grandchildren may not forgive us.

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com