Many of my friends are excited about the coming election, but also frightened. They see that Governor Romney and President Obama are very close in the latest polls. In a recent Gallup Poll people were asked the following:
Suppose the presidential election were held today, and it included Barack Obama and Joe Biden as the Democratic Party's candidates and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as the Republican Party's candidates. Who would you vote for? Those who are undecided are further asked if they lean more toward Obama and Biden or Romney and Ryan and their leanings are incorporated into the results.
It shows that 48 percent are for President Obama and 48 percent are for Governor Romney. What's clear is that the election is likely to be close. And it's also clear that come Tuesday night, or soon thereafter, half the country will be ecstatic because President Obama has been returned to office while the other half will be despondent. Or the reverse will be true if the commander-in-chief is President Romney and Barack Obama returns to private life.
I am optimistic about our future whoever wins. Here's why. It is said that God works in mysterious ways. It's clear that this election will be forever tied to Hurricane Sandy. If the Republicans win, Democrats will feel that the election was "stolen" and the weather had an impact. If the Democrats win, the Republicans will feel the election was "stolen" and will cite the fact that all the focus was on the president in the weeks running up to the election and the "liberal news media" were clearly biased.
The reality is that whoever is elected, the big issues we face in this country aren't going to be addressed or solved by politicians. Climate change is a good example. Many Republicans feel that climate change is not man-made, that it isn't that important if it has been caused by man, and if it is man-made it isn't that important. Many Democrats believe that climate change is real, that it's man-made, but the country is too divided on that issue for the president to take significant leadership in making the changes needed to reduce greenhouse gases to a level that we can live with.
But here comes Sandy and it's clear to more and more people that something out of the ordinary is going on that is way beyond what we would expect. More and more people are taking climate change seriously (difficult not to, when you look at the devastation that is occurring in the eastern United States.) People are recognizing that burning fossil fuels heats the planet and contributes to global warming that impacts the weather.
It doesn't make good scientific sense to try and say that this particular storm was "caused" by global warming. It does make good scientific sense to recognize that climate change is real, that human burning of fossil fuels likely contributes to the increase in planetary temperatures, and that these changes influence the weather.
As they say, to use a baseball analogy, "nature bats last." And to recoin a phrase from business, "when nature speaks, the rest of us would do well to listen."
Well, clearly President Obama is listening and so is Republican stalwart Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey and political independent Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City. Bloomberg said,
Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be -- given this week's devastation -- should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.
Governor Christie repeatedly praised President Obama for his leadership in dealing with the effect of the storm.
When we listen to nature, we realize that we are all in this together. There are no Republicans, no Democrats, no Independents. We're just another species trying to learn to live in balance with the laws of nature. We will either learn to live and work together or we will die separately. We are one people. Whether this election brings us a Democratic or a Republican president is less important than the fact that it will bring us together as citizens of planet earth. That's an alliance we can all feel good about.