Ever since global warming became an issue, climate-change-denying Republicans have relied on four big lies to block solutions. Now they are trying to use these same lies to reduce fear of the coronavirus, and they are failing. The difference between climate change and the coronavirus is that the effects of the former happen over decades, while those of the latter happen over days. The four big lies allowed Republicans to successfully kick the climate-change can down the road. But that is not going to work with COVID-19.
The four big lies are:
You cannot trust the federal government
You cannot trust scientific experts
You cannot trust the media
You can trust prayer.
Let’s take a look at each lie and why it was successful in the past and is failing now.
You Cannot Trust the Federal Government
The patron saint of the modern Republican Party is Ronald Reagan, and his most sacred revelation is, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Since Reagan, whenever Republicans took control, they did their best to mismanage the government to confirm to voters they should not trust it. They cut taxes for the rich, cut needed services for the poor and working-class, and reduced federal regulations to combat climate change. Now in the age of coronavirus, what we could use right now is AN EFFECTIVE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT! Relying on Donald Trump and Republican Governors who ignore the CDC, pass responsibilities to the governors, force local businesses and bars to reopen, and send kids back to school “to save the economy” is not working. Which brings us to…
You Cannot Trust Scientific Experts
Multiple studies published in scientific journals show that 97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. Because climate changes happen slowly, oil companies could always pay one of the 3% of the other scientists to provide a counter-argument on camera and get the Republican Party to block regulations designed to reduce oil consumption. After 40 years of ignoring climate scientists, Republicans and Donald Trump found it easy to ignore the CDC and pandemic scientists. The problem for them is that with climate change, they will be proven wrong in about 2050, but with the coronavirus, they are now being proven wrong in about four months. Which brings us to…
You Cannot Trust the Media
Let’s expand this a little: you cannot trust the media except for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. In the conservative news bubble, Fox News repeats the lies told by the Republicans, and Republicans repeat the lies told by Fox News. It has worked great for climate change. According to a report by Public Citizen published on August 13, 2019, climate-change denial dominates 86% of Fox New climate segments. It has been a disaster for the coronavirus. On May 20, Sean Hannity said, “Florida got it right, Texas got it right…the mob and the media, by the way, you owe Governor DeSantis a huge apology.” On July 12, Florida reported over 15,000 new cases, which broke the record for the most infections posted in a single day by any state.
If you want the truth about the coronavirus, get out of the bubble. Go to multiple news sources. Watch NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and Fox News. Read the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Visit Drudge Report, Politico, and Talking Points Memo.
You Can Trust Prayer
Before I wade into this issue, I need to say that I am an active member of a downtown Methodist Church, believe in the power of social ministries, and take comfort from praying. But whenever things start going wrong for Republicans, they rely on an answer that contains “thoughts and prayers.” Take gun violence. If there is a mass killing of children, the solution is not improved gun safety, but more “thoughts and prayers.”
They apply the same strategy to climate change and the coronavirus, especially evangelical Republicans. If the ice caps are melting and the ocean level is rising, it must be God’s will. If deaths are rising due to COVID-19, it must be God’s plan because Donald J. Trump has been selected by God to lead this country. Let’s say a prayer to thank God for him. If one of your relatives survives a coronavirus attack, then your prayers were answered.
Unfortunately, the loved ones of more than 130,000 people have not had their prayers answered. Just as people used to say that God died during the Holocaust, it seems clear that the God of the evangelical Republicans is not answering the prayers for the dying in this Christian-dominated country. Rather than praying for a cure to the coronavirus, we should be taking actions recommended by the scientific experts.
The solution to the coronavirus pandemic includes funding an effective federal government, listening to the pandemic scientists, relying on news from several national media sources, offering more action than prayer, and voting the lying Republicans out of office.