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Answering More Questions

A few weeks back, I wrote a post about answering the questions that are often asked of politicians. (Reminder: a lot of candidates from the last cycle didn’t bother to answer some of the questions.) Here’s the next one.

What issues will your campaign focus on? Telling the truth. I keep saying this, but that’s because there’s nothing more important. Most politicians are not being honest with you. It’s important to note that their dishonesty, however, is quite nuanced. For example, last time around someone responded with:

I am committed to solving the climate crisis.

This reply is pure politics. First is the signaling, with climate crisis. The use of the word “crisis” sets up the fight by putting other people on the defensive. If you have any other view, then you’re ignoring something which is IMMEDIATE and CRITICAL and MUST BE ADDRESSED RIGHT NOW OR WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

The term “crisis” refers to something where we are truly at a turning point. But that’s not where we are with climate change. It’s never been the case, no matter which expert you talk to. Rather, the general consensus from scientists is pretty straightforward:

  1. Humans have changed the planet’s atmospheric system on accident
  2. Humans could help slow that change or maybe even reverse it if we work together on purpose.

How quickly those things happen, how strong the effects, how much we do, and whether it’s worth it–these are all critical questions.

But it’s not a “crisis.” Something we’ve been talking about for decades can’t be a crisis. An asteroid headed toward earth? That’s a crisis.

(I know that people who are gravely concerned about the climate may object to me pulling back this word. But I think it helps their cause. If you want to convince the skeptics, then use accurate language. That gives them less to critique.)

I could also talk about the word “solving” which doesn’t actually represent the problem at hand. Climate change is not a riddle or a Rubik’s cube. We’ve already taken tremendous action in response to the changing climate and based upon current predictions. What is next is more action. That’s not a “solution” but using that word allows the listener to believe that climate change is “solvable” and therefore something they can look forward to not worrying about.

That’s what this candidate said was a key issue. “I am committed to solving the climate crisis.” You probably didn’t know eight words could be so sneaky, did you?

What issues will your campaign focus on? Telling the truth. I can write and speak about climate change, and I will. But I promise to only tell the truth, with no spin, no pushing, no effort to make my opponents look bad.

Beyond, of course, what they do themselves.

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