Upside Down Thinking

Upside Down Thinking

Where do I even begin? Oh, I’ve got it! In the final paragraph of an opinion piece by Linda Greenhouse in today’s New York Times – “The Worrisome Future of Abortion Rights,” in the Sunday Review section, she uses the phrase “a symptom of a world turned upside down.” And yes, it has to do with Trump, how’d you guess?

Actually, the piece isn’t so much about Trump as it is about what he and his people — and the people his presidency has empowered — are doing to chip away at reproductive rights in this country (their ultimate goal, of course, is to reverse Roe vs. Wade). This immediately caught my attention because in my new American Atheist magazine ad — which I believe is out now, if I’m not mistaken — I’ve gone with wording which reflects that sentiment. My ad states: “If you thing things are upside down now” (here, you need to flip the magazine upside down, to be able to read the rest) / “just wait another four years.” This is in reference to Trump, of course; but it’s not just him. He’s nominated, appointed and empowered many individuals; and this has set in motion a chain of events that will change the course of history.

I wasn’t sure about the wording. Since a year has already gone by, shouldn’t it be “just wait another three years?” But he could also be re-elected. (Just today, in a blue state, I overheard someone, some distance away, say, in reference to Trump: “He’s the best f***ing thing to happen to this country!”) So he could be there for eight years. (And personally, I’m not thrilled about the thought of him being impeached, since Pence is just as scary — only a different flavor of scary.

Something I saw in the paper on Thursday is also worth noting — since we now live in an upside down world, where, for example, people who don’t think man can affect the climate, are today running the show in Washington. This article, published in the Times (Kai Schultz, Hari Kumar and Jeffrey Gettleman, “India Closes 4,000 Schools Over Dirty Air” Nov. 9) this past Thursday, reports that “a toxic cloud” descended on New Delhi, “India’s capital, delaying flights and trains, causing coughs, headaches and even highway pileups, and prompting Indian officials on Wednesday to take the unprecedented step of closing 4,000 schools for nearly a week.” Air in New Delhi is “notoriously noxious,” it states in the article, but this time it reached “levels nearly 30 times what the World Health Organization considers safe.”

The article reports that “Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister of Delhi State, said he was driving to a meeting Wednesday morning when he passed a school bus and saw two children throwing up out of the window.” He said he found this “shocking” and immediately decided to close the schools.

Try telling people in New Delhi that man can’t affect the climate. See what they say. Upside down!

Trump also stated this past week that he asked Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin multiple times whether he meddled in our elections, and guess what? He denied it! In other news … Jack Ruby claims he never shot Lee Harvey Oswald. Upside down!

A week ago, the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment was released. And surprise! Researchers have once again confirmed there is substantial evidence to link climate change to anthropogenic causes. But will this make a difference? Let me quote from an article that appeared recently in the Times on this very subject (Brad Plumer, “A Climate Report That Changes Minds? Don’t Bet on It” Nov. 5):

But there is little reason to think that yet another scientific report will fundamentally shift attitudes on global warming — either among policymakers or the public at large. Researchers have found again and again that attitudes are shaped far more profoundly by political ideology or by comfort with proposed solutions to global warming than they are by the science itself.

Will it sway Trump’s thinking? Of course not. Upside down!

Are you ready for more upside down stuff? In today’s New York Times there is an editorial that literally takes up the entire page. It is titled “President Trump, Please Read The Constitution.” (Good luck with that, by the way — you probably couldn’t get Trump to read a postage stamp.) The editorial makes some fine points; and it matches up Trump’s actual statements with the text of our Constitution itself. Thirteen powerful examples are provided, including one which I believe hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention, considering he appears to be advocating for the killing of innocent people: “The other thing with the terrorists, you have to take out their families.” (He stated this on December 2, 2015.) Upside down!

And Kathleen Hartnett White was recently in the news. Remember her? She has in the past described belief in global warming as “a kind of paganism.” So what happened with her? She applied for a job at the EPA, and was told to get lost, right? No. Clearly, you haven’t been paying attention. This is bizarro world we’re now living in. White has been chosen by the Trump administration to run the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Also, as reported in a recent New York Times article (Lisa Friedman, “Environment Nominees Draw Democrats’ Fire” Nov. 9, 2917), “Andrew R. Wheeler, a lobbyist for Murray Energy, which is owned by Robert E. Murray, an Appalachian coal mining magnate and major backer of President Trump, has been nominated for deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.” Draining the swamp? No, upside down!

That article I referenced at the beginning of this post (“The Worrisome Future of Abortion Rights”) concerns a topic that will not go away any time soon. It will shadow the Trump presidency for the entire length of his presidency. He owes his Election Day Electoral College win to the Right-to-lifers out there, plain and simple. He is beholden to them, big time. And he knows he will need them to win if he decides to run for re-election in 2020.

This topic regarding abortion rights, brings to mind an obituary that was published in Newsday (with a Washington Post byline), over a dozen years ago (“Joseph Coors, 85, Brewer, Activist” Mar. 18, 2003). Joseph Coors Sr. was very active in conservative causes. For example, funding that he provided helped launch the Heritage Foundation, he was a major backer of the John Birch Society, and he also helped found a television network to advance conservative views. It states in the obituary that he helped underwrite Ronald Reagan’s political career, and “became a powerful presence in Washington when Reagan became president in 1981.” It also states that Coors “lobbied for the appointment of James G. Watt as Interior Department secretary.” Watt has often been described as being anti-environmentalist; and he became a  controversial figure once appointed.

The final line in the obituary reads: “Besides his brother, survivors include his wife, Anne Coors; five sons; a sister; 27 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.” Whoa, now do the math. Imagine what it would be like if every person on this planet had dozens of grandchildren. Scary! No doubt about it, abortion should be an absolute right! That’s just a fact.