There was a time when Americans had the will to muster the courage to face major crises. We did so during the Great Depression and the Second World War. If you read Sen. Mike Enzi’s recent op-ed critiquing the Green New Deal, you walk away feeling we might not be able to do that again.

The senator describes the resolution “as a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.”

Wyoming’s senator believes that diminishes the Green New Deal in the minds of constituents. Enzi is curiously out of sync with dozens of the world’s largest corporations, nearly all of the world’s coastal cities and the U.S. military. They believe the science and are mobilizing for climate change.

Sen. Enzi receives no leadership points. Heaven forbid a politician might have the courage to ask people to sacrifice. But, conservatives have always opened the bidding with a resounding “no” to every progressive idea that eventually became mainstream, e.g. social security and Medicare.

Enzi’s political ancestors fought against the mobilization required to lift America out of the economic crisis of the 30s. They opposed selling military equipment to England when Germany was overrunning Europe and came within one vote of defeating the draft, though it was vital to stopping the Nazis.

The beat goes on.

Now, it’s climate change. The United Nations assessment of global threats says, “Climate change is the defining issue of our time. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale.”

The Republican caucus created Enzi’s talking points. However, the UN report was the work of more than 130 scientists, reviewing data from 6,000 scientific publications, reviewed by another 1,000 experts.

They concluded we are on the eve of destruction.

If you are inclined to follow the pandering words of Wyoming politicians, take time to actually read the UN report. Do a minimal amount of research rather than rushing like lemmings headlong into the rising sea. Expose your mind to something other than right wing media and the musings of those whose economic and political wherewithal depend on convincing you it’s all a hoax.

Science matters and the scientists who wrote this report were as blunt as they were specific. We have already reached some tipping points. We witness it daily in the extreme weather and devastating fires. Some of the worst impacts can yet be avoided if greenhouse emissions are slashed below 2010 levels in the next decade.

How old will your children or grandchildren be 10 years from now? Do you have enough concern about the planet on which they will live to take an hour to read the UN report? Unfortunately, the GOP talking points are sadly sufficient unto themselves for the vast majority of Wyoming politicians and the people who elect them.

These politicians say no sacrifice is required. They say it’s all a liberal hoax. They are not leading and you’ll regret following.

The Green New Deal may not have all the answers. But, don’t mislead people. Don’t simply ridicule it as “socialism,” Mr. Enzi. What’s your plan, Senator? Climate change is real. The threat demands “a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rejoinder for those who scoff at the Green New Deal? “For everyone who wants to make a joke about that, you may laugh, but your grandkids will not.”

Yes, it is our grandchildren who will suffer the results of today’s political carnival barkers. They will reap what people like Enzi sowed. They’ll question their grandparents’ ill-informed reliance on politicians beholden to the fossil fuels industry. They won’t understand why we didn’t listen to the science.

However, the most painful irony will come when they ask grandpa, “Why didn’t you listen to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?”

Rodger McDaniel lives in Laramie and is the pastor at Highlands Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne. Email: rmc81448@gmail.com.

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