Sunday, April 29, 2007

Phil Chase for President!

A president who installs solar power at the White House and drives in a motorcade of lightly armored Toyota Prius hybrids. A president who has a blog that he actually writes himself (with millions of comments, of course). A president who promises that the US will work closely with other countries through the UN to solve climate problems - and who really means it! A president who actually takes science seriously. It's just too bad that Phil Chase is a fictional character, otherwise he would definitely have my vote. Real candidates: please read this book!

I'm learning a lot of interesting things and really enjoying the final volume of Kim Stanley Robinson's "Science in the Capital" series, Sixty Days and Counting. Abrupt climate change has hit the world hard in this series (as it is about to do in real life), and science and politics have to join forces to save the world. There's a lot going on in our characters' lives - some of it rather weird and not that plausible, but I've gotten to like most of the characters in this long three-volume novel, and I'm willing to suspend my disbelief. I'll let you know if we make it.


Anonymous said...

Most voters are perpetual adolescents, unprepared by schools or the media to make the hard choices--cause they don't know about the hard choices. It's all surface patina.

If such window dressing would get your vote, you're like most people who don't look through the superficial.

FlyingSinger said...

Of course you can view such examples as "window dressing," but if you read the book, you would see that they are consistent with this president's leadership and willingness to make tough choices in a world-changing crisis; to be accountable to the people and not only to special interests; and to truly lead by example. Politics includes a lot of window dressing and sound bites, much of it completely fake (land on an aircraft carrier and say "mission accomplished"). It's the nature of our short-attention-span culture, alas. But leading by example (even in small things) is not necessarily window dressing.

Robinson's Phil Chase is a fictional character, and a mixture of the idealistic and practical that we have not seen in a real president since FDR. The current administration has not simply been asleep at the wheel, they have actively directed the downgrading of science, the handing over of regulation to the industries being regulated, the denial of climate change that every thinking person knows is real, the destruction of basic civil rights (and let's call that the "Patriot Act" so we can question the loyalty of anyone who opposes any of it), and on and on, ad nauseum.

There's a difference between cynical, manipulative window dressing and honestly motivated, lead-by-example window dressing. Whether we will see this in any near future REAL presidents, I don't know. But I hope so.