By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist
Last week, the invisible hand got frostbite. Lost its grip on conservatism’s Second Commandment: “Thou shalt deregulate. Trust thee in corporate kindness.” If what happened in Texas doesn’t out the scam, nothing will.
Nothing will. Rightwing propaganda amplifiers are turned up to 11. As burst pipes propagated icicles, Texas’ governor blamed the not-enacted Green New Deal. Foxifieds’ favorite fibber, Tucker Carlson, who just speculated QAnon is a leftwing disinformation myth, dismissed wind turbines as “silly fashion accessories” that don’t work in cold weather. Are his strategically endumbed believers aware that windmill energy is generated year-round in Sweden, Alaska, Antarctica? That colder-than-Texas Iowa gets 42 percent of its generated electricity from wind?
While Ted Cruz lied his way to Mexico and back, AOC, the right’s favorite whipping girl for recognizing the seriousness of anthropogenic climate change, raised $5 million for Texas and went there to help. Travelin’ Ted posed with a box of bottled water. Rick Perry, former governor and Trump’s Ukraine-connected Energy secretary, pronounced, warm, hydrated, and fed, that Texans would rather suffer than subject themselves to federal regulations. Does he think they feel the same about their post-freeze, price-gouged electricity bills? (tinyurl.com/gouge4u)
After a previous freeze, ten years earlier, Texas was warned of the need to winterize its entire generating infrastructure. Because it’s Republican deregulatory paradise, attracting businesses that prefer to profit unrestricted, nothing was done. So it all froze, including windmills. Which, you’d think, would entomb another undead Reaganism: Government is the problem. Wrong. Bad government is the problem.
Of which we’ve seen plenty in Texas. By contrast to Trump’s even more massively failed governance, we’re seeing the opposite from President Biden, who, while simultaneously rectifying disorganized and inadequate vaccine distribution, immediately sent FEMA to Texas and made federal funds available (now they accept help); whereas Trump, because its governor declined backside osculation, delayed the same to California — and Malden, Wash. — while wildfires raged.
Failed governance was even more obvious as we passed 500,000 deaths from covid-19. Had Trump not denied it, botched and lied about his response, mocked wearing masks and social distancing, and had most red-state governors and Trumpists nationwide not followed him over his cliff of ignorance, maybe half of those lives would have been saved.
For perspective: Were that many names recorded on the Vietnam Memorial Wall it’d be almost 90 feet high. If that number of people were in buses, it’d make a caravan 100 miles long. And still there are deniers. Still Americans unwilling to make minor sacrifices to protect their neighbors. Because “freedom.” (tinyurl.com/nomask4us)
Like acne, more rightwing denialism erupted in the capitol this week. A strong contender for most repulsive senator, Wisconsin’s pustulent Ron Johnson infected Senate insurrection hearings by reading into the record a claim the rioters were “fake Trump protestors.” Right. Trying to overturn an election they won.
Similarly, Ta-Ta-Texas Ted used his time with attorney general nominee Merrick Garland, whose integrity and moderation shine a light on the darkness of Trump’s nominees, to suggest the “Obama-Biden” administration had politicized the DOJ, ignoring Trump’s most politicized ever, as attested by a score of former U.S. attorneys, Republicans all. (tinyurl.com/usas-say-no)
Another sort of denialism took a hit this week, as the latest mission to Mars ended its six-month, 34-million-mile journey, finding its target perfectly, sending stunning, high-resolution images back immediately, including of the landing itself. Brilliant engineers, mathematicians, physicists, biologists, technicians made incredibly precise calculations and extrapolations from afar, including how to fly a helicopter on Mars, built an amazing machine, programmed complex maneuvers to be managed entirely by onboard computers. Impressive. Unless you believe — like Ron Johnson and the insurrection being staged, Ted Cruz and Trump’s DOJ being pure, Trumpists and climate change, the virus, and Russian interference being hoaxes — that the whole mission was created on a Hollywood soundstage.
Which is the mindset you must have, and millions of today’s Republicans do, to believe there’s a difference between the science that gave us the Mars mission and that which predicted and proves climate change, including freezing conditions in the U.S. resulting from Arctic warming; gave us guidelines for controlling the pandemic; developed and assured the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. Science is science, like it or not.
Yet another mindset, that “cancel culture” is strictly a liberal thing, produced amusing irony this week when CPAC, whose 2021 bumper-sticker slogan is “America, Uncanceled,” canceled a participant for his flagrant anti-semitism. Americans are free to say offensive things. Others are free to reject them. Some call it canceling, others call it consequences.
Finally, on the passing of Rush Limbaugh, we defer to the more pleasantly quotable Clarence Darrow: (tinyurl.com/obitrush)
Email Sid Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.