Nope. That wasn't a typo. I'm of course referring to global warming, but I'm going to deviate from my typical post for this one. I'm not going to boil down the science of global warming (for those that wince at that term, read "climate change") or the insurmountable evidence that exists that human activities are the main contributors. There's too much out there, and frankly, culling through it all and posting it here in the hopes of convincing some nay-sayers is just too depressing. If you want a summary, look on Wikipedia.
I timed this post to come out on Inauguration Day for a reason. I, along with many others, am distressed at what's being said and how the truth is being handled in this current political climate change (pun intended).
I should first say that I'm a strong believer in democracy and political discourse. And that process is frequently messy. Disagreements are the norm, not the exception, and everyone should expect that. But the nature of these disagreements have changed in a fundamental way. It used to be that people started with some basic assumptions and attacked the problem in different ways until a solution could be found that somewhat satisfied/somewhat dissatisfied both sides. As the saying goes, you paddle a little to the right, a little to the left, and you move forward.
However, this requires starting from some common basic assumptions. It also requires compromise. I know that's a dirty word these days, but it shouldn't be. That's how things get done. Compromising on a solution does not mean you're compromising your values. And while we're at it, changing your view on something over time does not make you weak, it makes you intelligent. Being able to critically appraise new information as it comes in and allowing it to affect your view is what being a human is all about. It does not make you a "flip flopper."
Moving forward, we need to be careful not to lose touch with the truth. Solutions are debatable, but the truth is not and never can be. That is getting harder and harder to reinforce when you have someone occupying the highest office in our country who on Monday says, "A. A. A. I'm saying A as loudly as I can." and then on Tuesday says, "B. B. B. I don't know what you're talking about. I never said A. I have always said C... I mean B." The word "doublethink" from 1984 comes to mind.
When people dig in their heals and don't listen to each other, everyone loses. When people ignore the truth because it's inconvenient, everyone loses. Collectively, we all need to remember this and never lose sight of fundamental or scientifically proven facts, because if we do, we sacrifice our integrity as a nation. And that should never be up for debate.