The great Dan Savage has written an excellent, EXCELLENT feature about something global warming and the AIDS epidemic have in common–the cowardly impulse to reject facts as a crisis unfolds. And you! You must read it! Here’s a long but good excerpt:
Which brings me to Pat Buchanan. In 1983, Buchanan wrote a vicious column for the New York Post about the emerging AIDS crisis. Buchanan gloated and celebrated a disease that had already killed hundreds and would go on to kill millions. Buchanan’s reaction wasn’t unique; almost all social conservatives at the time welcomed the AIDS epidemic with unconcealed glee. God’s judgment had come at last, and it vindicated everything the TV preachers had been saying since Stonewall. Homosexuals were sinners, the wages of sin is death, and now the homosexual sinners were dying. Praise the Lord.
The last line of Buchanan’s acid column was etched into my brain the day I read it: “The poor homosexuals—they have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.”
That line—17 words—stung more than all the anti-gay sermons thundering down from the pulpits of all the American churches combined. Writing this piece, I didn’t even have to look it up. I could recite it from memory. We had long been told that gay sex was unnatural—that we were unnatural—and now nature was moving to exterminate us.
Every time I read about fires in Colorado or rising seas or Canadian tar sands or Native villages already being washed away in Alaska or preparations for the next hurricane that slams into New York City, a slightly modified version of Buchanan’s vicious line about AIDS plays in my head. We have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.
We have declared war on the water we drink and the air we breathe. We have declared war on the forests and the oceans. We have declared war on the honeybees. All of us have—liberal, conservative, independent. Some of us, however, are ready to start making the changes that must be made if we want to survive in this world.
The Stranger ran another spectacular feature on the menace of global warming last year that you should also read.
This is top of mind for me because this morning I edited (well, proofread) the upcoming issue’s David Suzuki column, and it’s essentially about the same topic: the dimwitted, frightened, angry, corrupt and complicit villainy of the sort of fools and tools who insist there’s nothing wrong when evidence clearly contradicts that.
The fools and tools are mistaken and we must change their minds. And if we can’t? Then we must fight! Roar!