It’s been a tough run of news this week. We have our new EPA chief claiming that Carbon Dioxide is not the primary cause of climate change, despite that being the conclusion of the scientific community, his own agency, NASA and NOAA. This is not surprising coming from someone who has made a career opposing the EPA and the science behind climate change. That background and the bipartisan opposition to his appointment and eventual confirmation to head an agency that he so loathes is detailed here.
There’s also the repeal of the ACA being rolled out at a rapid rate in comparison to the debate and passage of the original piece of legislation.This will be interesting to watch as the repeal passed its first hurdle by clearing the House Ways and Means Committee after a marathon 27 hour session (side note: I’m pretty sure that actually doubled the total hours worked by those members of congress for this session). There was notable Republican opposition due to the fact that no cost/benefit analysis was completed, a lack of action that is especially strange from a party claiming to champion fiscal responsibility by the government. Massachusetts Representative, Joe Kennedy III, gave an impassioned speech focusing on the millions of Americans who stand to lose health care coverage and more who stand to lose even the option of having their mental healthcare covered by their private insurance provider under the proposed repeal.
However there is some good news! A new CNN/ORC poll shows Americans by and large favor compromise in Washington. The poll also reveals a significant increase in discussion of political topics on a regular basis by the populace. These are encouraging results indeed, considering the framework for our political process, the Constitution of the United States, is essentially an exercise in compromise.
What I wonder is if the continual polarization of news sources and trend of building political “bubbles” will allow us to have these conversations in a productive manner. If two parties are seeking to reach middle ground but are beginning with stark differences in opinion on governance there is the possibility of compromise if they share the same reality. In a world of “fake news” claims and the existence of actual fake news, do the opposite ends of our political spectrum even share the same reality anymore?