Sunday, April 18, 2021

Hard Truths Can Rightly Create Discomfort

Dear Editor,

Years ago I saw a video of an interview that the former Vice President, Al Gore, was giving on TV. The subject was Climate Change denial. Mr. Gore compared fighting Climate Change to the fight for Civil Rights in the Southern U.S. in the 1960’s. He said that Black Civil Rights leaders had done just about everything they could to try to resolve the problem. And that they were stuck. Until ordinary White middle class Americans started to respond to racism by telling the racists that what they were saying was ignorant, lies, and unscientific garbage.

He remembered that it was uncomfortable at first. These people were after all their neighbours. Mr. Gore went on to say that Climate Change was stuck in the same place. By then Climate Scientists had done everything they could to warn the Government and the Public and it just wasn’t working. He argued that ordinary citizens of all races, when confronted with Climate Change denial, needed to be much less polite.

From that day forward I have made it my business to respond to people who deny the reality of Climate Change with a fairly standard set of points. I tell the denier that what they just said was every bit as ignorant as it is dangerous. I usually find a way to tell deniers that they are too stupid to be in the room when the adults are talking and that they need to go away and get an absolute minimum level of knowledge if they plan to rejoin the discussion again any time soon. It has harmed a few friendships, but as Mr. Gore said, it was only uncomfortable at first.

When I started to read Ms. Charmain Green’s letter opposing the measures imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 I was horrified. I assumed, quite wrongly, that you had completely taken leave of your senses. But when I read your Editor’s Note I quickly realized there was a method to your madness and the intent was to provide a teaching moment for the benefit of every single one of your readers. Including, maybe, especially, Ms. Green.

If Vice President Al Gore was a Meaford Independent reader I am positive he would approve of your methods. This subject is far too important for us to not challenge misinformation as strongly as we can wherever we run into it. No exceptions.

I commend you for the restraint and courtesy you showed in your Editor’s Note and your subsequent follow up to the reader who believed you needed to be scolded as well. In your place I would have immediately gone to my standard set of Climate Change denier points that I have slightly modified for the mask deniers among us. With precisely the same tone.

Thank you for trying your best to keep us all safe.

Bruce Mason, Meaford

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