(Tom Toles)
Editorial cartoonist

There are tentative efforts being made to put a few people on Mars to try and survive in a bunker under constant high radiation in sub-frigid temperatures in an atmosphere 100 times thinner than Earth’s. If we make good progress on this endeavor, we will be able to evacuate the population of Earth into space around the year Never.

But this is apparently our plan to deal with climate change, because we don’t have any other one. Because the best current estimates are that we need to start significant action on the problem right now, and what we see is …

What we see is continuing successful efforts to strangle action in its crib led by, what else, massive oil-company money.

Just as seeing schoolchildren gunned down doesn’t lead us to action on assault rifles, neither does seeing people incinerated to ashes and bones in their houses or cooked alive in their cars lead us to act on the planetary assault rifle of unregulated emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The difference here is that the atmosphere, once fully loaded, will never stop firing at us.

It is becoming increasing clear that the Trump phenomenon in government is not just the result of bad actors. It is a result of a citizenry so disengaged from tending to their interests that outrage has been piling up on outrage here in the nation’s capital, and we have been acting in the role the assisted suicide of our own kids. How in hell did it come to this?

Part of it has been the soothing purr of a national ideology telling us that the market solves all problems. Just sit back and select your products! No need to bestir yourselves in civic action. If kids shouldn’t be shot in school, the market will sell defensive assault rifles to the soccer moms. If people aren’t supposed to be cremated alive at home, discount tickets ($250 million this week only!) for a family vacation on Mars will keep you safe.

The election we just experienced was perhaps the beginning of a new era of sanity, demanding what we want in the face of a thousand obstacles. We were waiting for the adults in the room to stand up and do something, and now we have finally realized that we ourselves are going to have to be the adults.