Florida Governor Rick Scott (R, De Nile) apparently ordered a prohibition on use of the terms “climate change” and “global warming” by Florida state officials. That’s right, the state that will be affected most by ocean rise, the state struggling to protect its coral reefs, the Lower 48 state that will suffer the most from climate change, has banned state government discussion of the subject.
Just when you think politics has sunk to a new low, someone like Governor Scott comes along and sets a new, even lower benchmark.
Exactly what is the thinking here? “If we don’t talk about it, maybe it won’t happen”? Or maybe, “My biggest campaign donors don’t want me to talk about it”? Or “It might hurt my presidential polling?” Is it simply the inability to face reality?
There’s no question it is the official policy of the Florida state government not to use “climate change” or “global warming.” Granted, there doesn’t seem to be a written memorandum; there’s no published regulation or policy. But the confirmations are coming from too many sources for the story to be untrue. The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting has a nice article citing multiple sources. Too many people from too many parts of Florida’s state government are reporting the same official prohibition for this to be invented.
If it’s denial, it’s an extremely dangerous instance of denial. High tides in the City of Miami Beach are flooding the streets. Salt water is infiltrating the domestic water sources. In as little as 100 years, one third of the State of Florida could be under the ocean. And Governor Scott doesn’t want the Department of Environmental Protection to talk about climate change.
If it is denial to please campaign donors like the Kochtopus, it is borderline criminal behavior by Governor Scott. He is endangering lives and property for personal gain. At a minimum, it is the very antithesis, the polar opposite of leadership. If Governor Scott is ignoring what the scientific consensus identifies as the biggest threat to his state to please campaign donors and potential donors, he deserves to be impeached.
Governor Scott reportedly has presidential aspirations, along with every other Republican governor and former governor west of the Mississippi. Perhaps WC is being too cynical, but polling of the right-wing Republicans who vote in Presidential primaries likely shows a majority are Fox-educated climate change deniers. To get yourself chosen Republican nominee, you have to appeal to these ignorant, mis-educated nut-jobs. Is Scott’s directive aimed at pleasing those primary voters? But that’s just another kind of personal gain. It’s just another excuse for putting personal benefit ahead of public safety.
Is it that Governor Scott is unable accept reality? Is the prospect of one-third of his state drowned too much for him to cope with? That’s a kind of mental illness. There’s something called Anosognosia, which means “denial of illness.” Denial serves a useful purpose in helping people cope with sudden change, and is harmless as long as it is not maintained too long. Denial becomes harmful when it interferes with a person’s ability to cope effectively with the challenges he faces.
While society might be able to allow an individual time to adjust to change, to come to grips with an unpleasant reality, it’s catastrophic in an elected official. And an elected official who instructs the rest of his government to also ignore reality needs to no longer be in office.
The science is long past the point that any intelligent, thinking individual can deny it. That leaves a limited suite of explanations for Governor Scott’s behavior: denial, criminal self-interest or mental illness. Florida’s situation is grim enough. A Governor with Scott’s apparent . . . deficits . . . is more than the state can stand.