Dialogue is better than rants


by Colin Creasey

I have to assume that Jim Bertram’s vitriolic rant, entitled “Ceasing to think”, is in response to my article recently on climate change in this newspaper. I took particular offence to his inference that I have ceased to think because I supposedly know everything. I could respond in kind, but character assassination is something that I prefer to avoid. If you are trying to open up a dialogue with someone who doesn’t hold your beliefs, as he said that he was, then this probably isn’t the best way to start.

I’m not sure in my article where I said, or inferred, that we shouldn’t ask questions about the Federal carbon tax policy. I happen to believe that this policy doesn’t come close to doing what we need to do; however, if those on the right have a better idea, I’m all ears. Last I heard, they were still working on it.

Jim took particular umbrage to my characterization of what I have found to be the Conservative mindset. My observations come from years of talking to those who believe as he does, and then being unable to get into a discussion on those beliefs, simply because of the two Conservative mantras: those of too much government, and too many taxes, get in the way. Jim actually fell into that same trap in his article, citing those very same mantras. Probably couldn’t help himself, but, in doing so, he proved my point. I happen to believe that not everything revolves around taxes and government.

Jim, when he was talking to me, and not at me, has asked me on occasion where my political leanings lie, no doubt recognizing my socialist tendencies. Maybe this is what set him off, as the word “socialist” seems to make the right wing apoplectic, many of them likening it to communism, which is a long way from the truth, but it does seem to drive the fearmongering that they have a habit of descending into.

So, to confirm, I am actually one of those darn socialists, and of the Green variety, who, according to him, have no idea of the economic impact of rising to the challenge of keeping our planet safe for future generations, and are ready to “commit economic mayhem”. I doubt if Jim has read, or is even aware of, a Green party policy document called Vision Green, www.greenparty.ca/en/vision-green, a document that would refute this assertion. I would encourage him to read it. It has been around for a while, and has the same policies as the Green New Deal, but takes those policies further. Putting people and planet first is taking on a resonance with more and more of us.

I would like to share one bright spot that appeared on my horizon last week, when I was talking to a Conservative who did not want to see Andrew Scheer as Prime Minister, and was looking for another outlet. He was not interested in the other two main parties, the Liberals for not keeping their promises, and the NDP for being beholding to unions. The Greens were next on the list, and I suppose his interest might have been triggered by their recent electoral successes, or maybe it was the Green New Deal that seems to be gaining traction on this continent, or maybe it was just not wanting to see Andrew Scheer as Prime Minister. It doesn’t matter. The point was that he was open to alternatives, which was refreshing, to say the least.

We had a frank and honest discussion, and agreed to disagree on a number of items, but we all conceded when the other made some good points. This was just the sort of dialogue that makes me more hopeful for our collective future.

Lastly, there was Jim’s website link that turned out to be to the International Climate Science Coalition, a website funded by the likes of the Koch brothers and Exxon, which exists solely to debunk any and all peer-reviewed climate science. Finding a website to justify your ideology is not always the best way to go. Some scientists have questionable morals, and will write whatever they are paid to write. ICSC is such a site. When the funding comes from the very people who are profiting from the status quo, the obscenely wealthy and the corporations, then this should give anybody pause. In Jim’s case, it obviously didn’t.

Biases make it very difficult to engage the right wing in any sort of dialogue when there exists this ingrained distaste of anyone who sees things in a different light. Railing against those who hold a different opinion has never accomplished much, same as holding on to an outdated set of ideologies when the world is changing around you.

Besides, none of this is about us. It’s about our grandchildren, and what we are leaving behind for them to deal with. We have known about climate change for over 30 years, and have done very little about it. They will pay for our inaction.

Our world is changing, and we are the problem. We also need to be the solution.


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