Being a philosophical sort of guy, I enjoy looking at the big picture. The really Big Picture.
Like, where we stand in the cosmos. Which can be viewed as "super small" or "very tall" depending on one's perspective -- and they can merge into one vision when perceived through the factual lens of science.
Our universe is 13.7 billion years old. If Stephen Hawking is correct in his surmising, it is but one of a near-infinity of bubble universes which spring from quantum fluctuations in an everlasting energy field (no God required).
Most universes are inhospitable to life. We, obviously, exist in one that is living-being friendly, or we wouldn't be here, able to write and read posts about the marvelousness of human existence.
Yes, it truly is marvelous.
We tend to take not only our personal lives for granted, but also the web of life on Earth that enables Homo sapiens and every other species to prosper.
Yet here we are, on one planet circling one star that is part of the 200 billion or so stars in one of 100 billion or so similarly-sized galaxies in the observable universe. Looking out at the cosmos the only life that can be seen is right here, and the most advanced known form of consciousness in the universe is that which is doing the looking.
Seemingly this would lead people to a simple understanding: life on Earth is exceedingly precious. We may be the only island of life and awareness in an unimaginably vast cosmic ocean.
Why would we not do everything in our power to preserve, protect, and enhance the conditions for life on what may be the only planet in our galaxy, or even the universe, with sentient beings?
Ideally this question shouldn't be answered with any sort of political response. Life is a substantial reality far removed from the shadow-concerns of liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican.
In a sane society -- which unfortunately isn't a description of 21st century America -- there would be complete consensus among all political persuasions that the top priority is to maintain the environmental conditions which allow humankind to live, grow, and prosper.
It's crazy to consider that we face a choice between the "economy" and the "environment." There is no economy without the environment. Indeed, there is no life without the environment.
This is why I continue to be a staunch supporter of Democrats over Republicans, by and large, notwithstanding the frequent irritation I feel toward D's who fail to demonstrate the above-mentioned pro life commitment.
By which I mean, a commitment to ensuring that not only us, but also our children, grandchildren, and countless generations to come, are able to enjoy living on an Earth that is both hospitable to life and filled with enthusiastic living by all sorts of species.
I was raised by a staunchly Republican mother. She also was a lover of nature and of preserving our environment. Back in those days conservatives actually believed in conserving.
Not in the guise of the Republican Party of the United States, at least. A short blog post by Pulitzer Prize winner Cynthia Tucker says it all in just the title: "The GOP is now a party of know-nothing flat-earthers."
One of the greatest crises of our time is climate change, which threatens to create food shortages (as the Russians learned this summer), change geography, eradicate entire eco-systems and even wipe out cities and towns in coastal areas. (NOTE: If you are an anti-science know-nothing, don’t bother to comment. The clear scientific consensus indicates a warming climate caused by human activity.)
But we’ve reached the odd and depressing point in American politics where not a single Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate supports aggressive action to mitigate climate change. The last science literate, Delaware Congressman Mike Castle, was defeated by tea party favorite Christine O’Donnell.
The blog Think Progress did a survey of GOP Senate candidates, and it found that even those who had previously supported policies that would curb carbon emissions have backed away, fearing a backlash from their know-nothing constituents.
It isn't possible for our country, and the world, to prosper when crucial policy decisions are made by the Village Idiots.
That's why I'm voting for Democrats in the upcoming election. They aren't always brilliant on environmental issues. But they're much brighter than the alternatives.