Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has moved beyond the realm of excuse as a senator. There is no reasonable explanation for his behavior and views on environmentalism alone, and it is truly sad that his reactionary, unfounded perspectives are infecting the rest of his, and my, party.
Inhofe is well-known for saying that climate change is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." Despite mountains of evidence and the vast majority of scientific opinion on the other side, Inhofe actually implied in a FOX News interview that we need not worry because, "God is still up there."
Has climate change been proven? No, only about 90% proven. It still could be wrong, but the fact is that we're nearly certain, and the consequences of being wrong and doing nothing could be catastrophic.
And yet our sorry ideologue from Oklahoma has the gall to say that instead of the "unresolved" science on global warming, we should put our trust in God, whose existence is not indicated by even a single shred of verifiable evidence. Yes, the jury's in on the existence of our supernatural overseer, senator.
Even if one accepts that God exists, the idea that we would base critical American policy on one small group's interpretation of his plans and intentions is wrong on so many levels.
Now comes word that Inhofe will expend his time as a legislator in blocking Al Gore from holding the North American leg of his Live Earth concert on the Capitol's West Front. Said Inhofe, "There has never been a partisan political event at the Capitol, and this is a partisan political event."
Well no, senator, it isn't. In case you weren't aware, the word partisan means "of a party," and a number of stars of the Republican party disagree with you. Governor Schwarzennegger, Senator McCain, and quite a few other important Republicans agree with most Americans that action needs to be taken on the environment. Just because you and G.O.P. congressional leadership is apparently using a climate change belief litmus test instead of actual merit in appointing its members to the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, doesn't mean it's a partisan issue.
Let's be very clear: environmentalism is not only backed by extensive evidence, it is now representative of the center of American politics. I don't mean far-left environmentalism, I mean the practical kind that believes in empirical evidence, knows we're messing things up pretty badly, and wants to do something significant about it, even if they don't always know what that is yet.
There is no rational position to be made for staying outside of this mainstream. It is attachment to the absolute dogma of free market principles and, at times, religious faith, that are keeping members of the Republican party from facing facts.
Conservatives often pride themselves on hard-headed realism in opposition to emotional idealism from liberals. They would do well to remember that dogma has no place in such a self-image. Climate change reactionaries are wrong, and I refuse to allow them to help make my party into a long-term minority without kicking and screaming a bit.