Staff Columnist

Making America suck again

U.S. President Donald Trump announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

While Democrats who want to be president were outlining their plans to combat a climate crisis and clean up the environment, Republicans were grabbing at straws.

OK, so some Democrats might want to grab our straws.

“I think we should, yes,” California Sen. Kamala Harris said to a question about banning plastic drinking straws during a CNN forum this past week. “I mean. Look, I’m going to be honest. It’s really difficult (to) drink out of a paper straw, like, if you don’t gulp it down immediately, it starts to bend, and then the little thing catches it. So, we gotta kind of perfect that one a little bit more.”

That prompted President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, to triumphantly tweet about the virtues of “Trump Straws,” made of classic plastic and available for just $15.

He didn’t say they would “Make America Suck Again,” but I think it’s clear between the lines.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, faced with a question about another GOP environmental straw man, whether energy sucking incandescent light bulbs should be phased out, wasn’t willing to play environmental trivial pursuit.

“Oh come on, give me a break,” Warren said. “This is exactly what the fossil fuel industry wants us to talk about. ... They want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your light bulbs, around your straws and around your cheeseburgers. When 70 percent of the pollution, of the carbon that we’re throwing into the air, comes from three industries.”

She pointed to “the building industry, the electric power industry and the oil industry.”

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Still, judging by their glee on social media, Republicans are convinced these are the straws that will break a Democratic donkey’s back. Of course, there are real, substantive reasons to curtail our addiction to single use plastics, and the wisdom of banning straws is debatable, but Trumpians aren’t going to get sucked into debating substance. You can’t chant substance at a raucous rally.

Instead, we’ll hear how a truly greatened America doesn’t need to think twice, or really at all, about its environment, or climate, or the urgent actions needed to clean up the massive mess. Ignore science, shun scientists, slash regulations and poke fun of Americans seeking solutions. Tree-huggers.

Tell us they’ll ban our burgers, confiscate our roomy SUVs and regulate our mud puddles. And if that nonsense doesn’t sell, yell “socialism!”

You want detailed environmental plans? How about our Greenland New Deal?

If a hurricane approaches, just pull out a Sharpie and change its track. And be sure to steer clear of the cancer-spawning windmills.

Come on, America. Drink in this sweet, hilarious feel-good Kool-Aid, through a Trump Straw. Suck it up! Suck it up!

Speaking of sucking, no Trump straw can hold an incandescent light bulb to “atmospheric rivers.” That’s what scientists call large quantities of warm Gulf moisture being sucked into a heating atmosphere and then dumped on the great Midwest. A report released last week by the Iowa Policy Project and the Environmental Defense Fund argues these atmospheric rivers will get juiced up a lot more often by midcentury, thanks to our warming climate. Warmer air holds more moisture.

That means more extreme flooding events where we live. Springtime precipitation in the Upper Mississippi River Valley could increase 20 to 40 percent. The study points, once again, to research done on behalf of the Iowa Department of Transportation showing infamous “100 year” floods are now four times more likely.

So while oh-so-clever Trumpists are making hay out of straws, we’ll be filling sandbags and HESCO barriers. But take heart. As we look over flooded farmland, inundated homes and billions of dollars in damage, rest assured that the libs have been owned. So owned.

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And please remember when we see Iowa Republican elected officials touring the damage, with their concerned faces, thoughts and prayers, that they stood by this do-nothing, jeering, sneering president 100 percent. Remind them about all of their warnings of “socialism!” as they beg the federal government for aid to clean up the mess.

For voters, this sorry lack of leadership really should be the last straw.

Comments: (319) 398-8262; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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