Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
Wisconsin treasurer Matt Adamczyk was acting in that tradition when he told the state's Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, which he heads, not to concern itself with climate change or even talk about it. As the board exists to distribute revenues from publicly held timber lands to local governments and schools, a climatic turn that threatens to kill off the timber could be a matter of some concern. But if global warming is either a left-wing fantasy or an act of God, what's the point of belaboring it?
Determined to eliminate all distractions from the commissioners' duties, Adamczyk also has proposed canceling their subscription to the New York Times. "We live in Wisconsin and we don't need a subscription to this publication," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has Adamczyk explaining.
Meanwhile, in Republican-run Florida, employees of the state's Department of Environmental Protection say they're under orders never to use the terms "climate change" or "global warming" in their documents or correspondence.
Silence has a long, distinguished history at the domestic level. Millions of marriages successfully skirt points of no return because husbands tempted to say something for which they'd never be forgiven say nothing instead and turn up the TV. As many millions of wives remain vaguely curious about the men they married only because they have no idea what they're thinking. Now the Republicans are adapting silence to our greatest national crises. Democrats go on and on about global warming but Republicans tune them out. Republicans know how useless talk is, how it helps no one make it through the pass in January. The only way to do that is to shut up and hunker down: lash the little lady to her saddle and whip her horse forward. The horse will either collapse or it won’t, but in life nothing is guaranteed.
I concede there's another way of looking at this: the Republicans have painted themselves into such an absurd ideological corner over climate change that all they can do now is pretend the subject doesn't exist, whatever the insult to the First Amendment. But it wouldn't be kind or charitable to say this, not that I forbid it.