7 min read

The Clarity of Lost Options

The Clarity of Lost Options

Content warning: This is gonna be one of those real frank talks about our situation. I'm going to discuss the realities of climate change and the rise of christo-fascism in this newsletter, and the harm that may be brought to particular marginalized groups because of that rise. If you think engaging with this material could be harmful to your mental health, please do not read further.

I went into the summer proper with a backlog of posts scheduled. June and July were supposed to run on autopilot–I could sit back, drink coffee on my porch, raise my cattle, ride my motorcycle, whatever the trope is. But then the helicopter kept coming over the horizon, and a dude in a suit kept jumping out to say "You're a hard man to find," and I had to write another post.

I wanted to have something put out this week because, if you're paying attention at all–which I don't recommend–you've seen things getting predictably worse, but also, perhaps more importantly, you've seen some of our last vestiges of hope disappear. So I think it's a good idea to talk through some of that pain, to explain why this loss in particular isn't the end of the world, and to provide you with a cold splash of water in case you're still logy about things.

The End of American Climate Policy

Last week, Senator Joe "Bored Dem Yacht Club" Manchin clarified that he would not support any of Joe "Fistbump a Murderer" Biden's climate agenda, dooming any chance of a legislative package making it through Congress. This is bad, as it stalls most meaningful climate action and relegates any further work to the limited powers of the EPA and executive orders. But I want to stress two things: Biden's climate proposals were never going to get passed; and they fell woefully short of efficacy anyway. What we witnessed last week was the foretold doom of a patronizing, placating agenda. It would have been great if Manchin got on board and the legislation was passed, but it would have been great if the solution to climate change were for everyone in the country to adopt a puppy that ran its own ice cream parlor. While Biden's moves were a step in the right direction, they were only slightly more effective than the Puppies 'n Ice Pops program that my local mayor insists is folly.

Biden's planned emission cuts were not substantial enough. The course he set for the nation was thoroughly neoliberal, and would only encourage over-consumption of ostensibly green resources instead of fossil fuels. The resources needed to keep the American economy growing in a post-oil landscape would bring about a tremendous amount of environmental destruction, and likely a tremendous amount of political upheaval. If the only thing we're changing is our reliance on oil to a reliance on, for example, lithium, then we're going to find ourselves suddenly very concerned about the inhumane treatment of citizens in Chile and Argentina as a convenient excuse to "bring freedom" to those nations while "liberating" their mines.

What comes next exactly is hard to say, but what comes next broadly is this: very little. It is not terribly likely that the political situations for the Dems improves after the midterm elections, which means that no new policy will move forward on the climate front. Local and state governments are doing some decent work in this regard, but we really need federal-level movement if we want to see the needle dip. The US military alone produces more CO2 emissions than most countries, and no amount of new bike lanes in your downtown revitalization district will offset that.

I don't mean to seem fatalistic. I don't believe in fate. What I do believe is that the actions of the US government are predictable, and that this scenario was predictable. Even with Biden's climate plan in place, I've said time and again–and more importantly, people smarter than me have said time and again–we were not going to be in a position to stop climate change. Every little bit helps, but the mole hills will not make the mountains tumble. We would not have been on track to avert the 1.5C target, and that's the critical threshold. Weather is going to get worse–as we're seeing right this second–and that's not going to change. As we speak, Europe is enduring a record-breaking heatwave that has already killed over a thousand people, and wildfires have caused tens of thousands to evacuate their homes.

Whether other nations get their act together, whether the blue states of America cut all emissions, doesn't really matter. The math has been explained to us for some time now. We needed to cut emissions, we needed to change the way our countries worked and how we lived our lives. We didn't. Not in time. But we knew this. The falling away of this limited action, in a way, should clarify matters for you. Without these lukewarm, mealy possibilities to hang our hopes on, we should better understand what we're coming to reckon with.

This Isn't a Fictional Dystopia, It's Sunday in America

A few weeks ago, the Georgia Guidestones were damaged by an explosion. The stones themselves were funded by some shady folks and the stones say some shady things. Nevertheless, some conspiracy-minded Christians became convinced that the stones were monuments to the Antichrist, and the instructions were for the creation of a new world order. After years of vandalism and public outcry, it's likely this monument was damaged by someone of the opinion that they were striking a blow against Satan–speculation on my part, of course. Though the stones were only damaged, the local authorities had the remainder destroyed for "public safety," and thus far the police investigation has yielded no suspects despite the existence of security footage.

I bring this up to illustrate a point that we're all, I suspect, aware of: Christians think that this is a Christian nation. Any other religion, any other system of belief or lack thereof, is seen as an attack on the country and their God. What's more, this is no longer a slow-moving, mainstream Christianity. This is an evangelical, paranoid, extremist religion with some members more than willing to take matters into their own hands. As the conspiracy theorist's enemy has melded into a lizard people/alien/One-world-government salad all helmed by Satan, the conspiracy theorist thereby selects God as the righteous power. This marriage of conspiracy and Christianity, solidified in recent years, has fueled acts of violence and terror across the globe. And because neither spouse requires logic, the umbrella of their enemy has become a pretty huge tent–there is no one, excepting white cishet men, who is not a potential globalist or satanic pedophile. As Christian nationalism and Christo-fascism take deeper root in America, this will become an increasingly dangerous country for anyone who steps out of line, or whose existence is seen as contrary to their interpretation of God's will.

This is not just an issue of religion–persecution is going to be found codified in law soon enough. People of all stripes sounded the alarm when the Alito opinion leaked regarding the fall of Roe v. Wade and the recommended re-examination of other Supreme Court rulings. This re-examination is fast approaching, as more and more mainstream politicians bring up the matter. Ted Cruz, just a few days ago, stated he thought the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling was "clearly wrong." Cruz is not just against same-sex marriage–he's advocating here for states' rights, which he can both use as a shield in this instance to moderate his view and to push for the further balkanization of the US. A little over a month ago, the Texas Republican Convention revised their party platform. In addition to calling the 2020 election illegitimate, the platform refers to homosexuality as an "abnormal lifestyle choice," and calls gender-affirming care "medical malpractice." The rhetoric is quickly ramping up, and I don't think it will stop at anything short of blood.

It's Time to Act

As a newsletter of preparedness, this work is meant as a guide for the before-phase of catastrophe. That time has passed us by. We're now in the time of catastrophe. There is no more time for preparation because that is by definition before the disaster has struck. If you have been waiting for some bigger, brighter, louder signal, you're going to be waiting until you see the flash of the bomb. This is the signal. Act now.

The next several weeks, after I totally, definitely, take a break *wink*, we'll be returning to some of the roots of this newsletter, re-examining practical steps for preparedness even if those actions are now after the fact. In the meantime, I would highly encourage you buy and store (more) food and water, reach out (again) to neighbors and friends about their safety and security, and begin learning (more) useful skills, like first aid, sewing, or a martial art.

The people on the far right have the drop on us. Most institutions are in their favor. They've been preparing for this for a long time, while most of us, probably, were voting blue no matter who up until recently. This doesn't mean they have the overwhelming advantage. More and more people are coming to understand how the world works, and they don't like it. As things crumble, as the path forward narrows ahead of us, it will become easier to see the way things are headed for the world and for ourselves. Find the people coming to this knowledge, help them. Let them help you. The only way out is through.