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[greenyes] Neither Side is Going to the Gas Chambers
    In the continuing controversy over my posting on GreenYes of a Wall 
Street Journal article about Stephen McIntyre, who is a global warming 
critic, one of our listserve members, Steve Bloom, reemphasizes the fact 
that McIntyre has more to worry about with his own errors than criticizing 
Michael Mann, developer of the "hockey stick"graph that easily shows the 
sharp uptick in warming that has occurred in the 20th century.

    I don't disagree with Steve that McIntyre is not entirely out on a holy 
quest for truth, nor that his critique is full of its own mistakes.  But, 
that's not the point I was raising.

    The thing that concerns me is the part of the front page story that 
reported: "Mr. McIntyre emailed Dr. Mann requesting the raw data to build 
the hockey stick. After initially providing some information, Dr. Mann cut 
him off."  (Today, Mann's web page now has all the data and computer 
algorithms posted for anyone to double check, which is as it should be, 
though I don't know if it was posted earlier and the Wall Street Journal 
published incorrect allegations about Mann's willingness to share his data.)

    Whichever way the facts are in the Mann/McIntyre case, though, is 
immaterial for what I'd like to recommend going forward for everyone's 
consideration, because, true or not, it could have been true. And in any 
event, the personal venom that is directed at McIntyre by global warming 
advocates on any of the web sites Steve references makes same point.

    For it all comes back to a seminal point for getting us all out of the 
toilet the election flushed us down in terms of achieving the things we care 
about.  Over the past 40 years (with the cultural revolution), accelerating 
like a hockey stick after 1994 (with Newt Gingrich's congressional sweep), 
the two sides of the cultural divide in this country have engaged in battle 
royal aiming for each other's throats, with no doubt that, if given the 
chance, each would go for the kill of the other.

    The question is whether this a template for our conduct going forward 
into the future.

    I can still remember a show in the 60s (in the era when Johnson had 
defeated Goldwater by almost 2:1) on NET, the forerunner for PBS in NYC, 
with the host, urbane David Suskind, in which he had pro and anti abortion 
advocates on.  With disdain dripping from his lips, Suskind ripped into the 
anti-abortion spokesperson, as if she was dirt, beneath contempt, fit to 
dumped into the ashcan of history.

    Now look. I'm not claiming any mantle of nobility. At the time, I 
enjoyed Suskind's witty and cutting rejoinder to someone who's views I 
abhorred.  But, looking back today, with the advantage of hindsight, I am 
not at all certain that attitude was the wisest thing to have indulged 
ourselves in when we were on top of the world, when Roe v Wade is now 
understood as having also been the Great Awakening of Evangelical 
America...something that's a lot easier to discern now that our positions 
have reversed, as they will again in the future, and again.

    I know from when I taught a University course during the late 80's in 
activism and went looking for a reasonable opponent of abortion to insure 
that my lectures had balance that there are beautiful souls on the other 
side of the fence from mine, people who honestly believed in the sanctity of 
life, rather than being driven by a morbid fear of sex that unleashed in 
them a sick need for retribution, who wanted to be heard, without imposing 
their views by law on expectant mothers.  But, Suskind's widely shared 
approach among the left did not winnow and sift through the opposition for 
shared values. He just attacked the whole lot of them, with unexpurgated 
disdain.

    Recently, two events separated in time from each other and from 
ourselves by centuries has influenced my thinking about what we need to do 
next.

    One of Lincoln's most famous speeches was his second inaugural in which 
he, as the soon to be victor in war, announced "with malice towards none..." 
A few months later, when Lee's troops were spent and on the verge of defeat, 
a significant component urged that they take off their uniforms, melt back 
into the landscape, and mount a guerrilla war against the occupying north. 
Lee turned his renegades aside and rode on to meet Grant at Appomattox.  I 
keep wondering whether the two things were as connected in Lee's mind, then, 
as they seem, once the connection is drawn, today.

    What I'm trying to say is two things.

    The first is that neither side of the Great Divide in America is going 
to be packed off into box cars and sent to a concentration camp, and there 
gassed(not, at least, just because either side lost an election).  Both 
sides, roughly equally balanced, are here for the duration, and we have to 
figure out a way to comport ourselves with each other than recognizes that 
fact.

    The second is the power of love.  I also remember 1984, the year that 
Jesse Jackson ran for president, and there were a number of profiles of the 
unexpected people making up his coalition.  One interview in particular 
stays with me, which was not unique, was of a white, Southern, redneck who 
hated blacks with a passion deeply embedded in his psyche.  He reported how 
he hated King most of all, and whenever he saw King on TV, the veins in his 
neck with throb with the visceral anger he felt.  Then one day, he had his 
metamorphosis, having seen in King's eyes that he (King) loved him too. And 
that was why, almost 20 years later, he was voting for Jackson.

    Along with a belief that life on Earth began 10,000 years ago, among 
many social conservatives is a companion commitment to life and the human 
soul over mammon.

    I suggest that we first chuck our cloak of anger and then look among the 
Evangelicals and their compatriots for those who share a common love for a 
world that respects life over money, even though for the past decade we have 
slipped into the counterproductive habit of hating. If we don't, then try 
contemplating how a better world is going to come out of the fray when we 
have abdicated communication with the other side and Karl Rove can get away 
with convincing religious people, who worship Jesus Christ, that they should 
oppose a bill increasing the gas mileage of SUVs by one mile a gallon 
because that's anti-family!

    The first step on that path begins with eschewing whenever possible the 
adjectives of venom and war when dealing with those we have neither agreed 
with nor respected.  The second, building on that ratcheting down of the 
rhetoric, and finding common ground among those from among enough of those 
who we have been engaged in political warfare to alter the political 
calculus.

                                                                             
    Peter


_________________________
Peter Anderson, President
RECYCLEWORLDS CONSULTING
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
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