An administration that believes in science

virginia_winners.jpg“Imagine — in four months we could have an administration in Washington that believes in science.”

That was our former Governor, who brought both parties together to save Virginia from the disastrous policies of previous Governor Jim Gilmore; the favorite to take Virginia’s second US Senate seat into the Democratic column this November. That was Mark Warner, keynote speaker tonight at the Democratic National Convention.

Imagine. After eight years of an administration that has not only ignored science, it has shown open contempt and hostility for the role of evidence in policy decisions on a wide range of issues from stem cell research to critical environmental issues to birth control. After eight years of an administration, and its lapdog Republican Congress, that has almost literally declared war on science. An administration whose pathetic stance on so many of the weighty issues of our day have made possible the surreal spectacle of men who aspire to be President of the United States stating on national TV, with straight faces, that they believe every word of the Bible is literally true.

Imagine. Elected national leaders, sitting in the White House, that understand — as the surging European Union and China clearly do — the central importance of science to navigating the tumultuous future of this country and the world.

David Gergen, commenting on CNN after Gov. Warner’s address, noted that it was the first time he could remember a convention keynote speaker talking about how science and technology were the key to the future, the key to jobs and the economy. Rather than merely irritants to faith-based initiatives. What a breath of fresh air. “It was not a barn-burner speech”, says Gergen, but isn’t it refreshing to hear — on the floor of the Democratic National Convention — a keynote speaker actually spending time on the necessity of science? Imagine.

just_one_look.jpg Now, to be fair, John McCain has been talking about the seriousness of climate change for some years, almost a lone voice in the GOP until quite recently. I salute him for that. But in his new incarnation as presidential candidate, his handlers appear to have successfully steered him back to “staying the course” of energy policy written by Dick Cheney’s industry buddies in the smoke-filled room early on: “Drill here! Drill now!” As Nancy Pelosi said to protesters chanting this nonsense the other day, “Can we drill your brains?” Let’s hope that Senator McCain, when he returns to his life as a Senator in January, also returns to his senses on energy policy.

And keep an eye out for Mark Warner as we approach 2016, after Obama’s second term . . .

About Emmett Duffy

I am a Natural Patriot and an ecologist with expertise in biodiversity and its importance to human society. My day job is Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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