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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Editorial: Stop the presses! Climate change is more important than Donald Sterling

  • We love to have “national conversations” in this country. There’s a national tragedy, or maybe a landmark court decision, or some other supposedly earth-shaking story rocks society to its foundations, and a network news anchor will say something about the commencement of a “national conversation” on the subject.
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  •     We love to have “national conversations” in this country. There’s a national tragedy, or maybe a landmark court decision, or some other supposedly earth-shaking story rocks society to its foundations, and a network news anchor will say something about the commencement of a “national conversation” on the subject.   
        Those two words were uttered yet again last week, when Donald Sterling, owner of the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Clippers franchise was recorded by his estranged girlfriend saying bad things about African-American people.    
        Racism? Yes, that’s a topic that warrants an endless national conversation among those who think it permeates everything and those who think electing an African-American president means everything is peachy-keen.    
        But Sterling? He’s a non-factor. He doesn’t deserve a seat even on the back of the bus. Sterling’s remarks don’t warrant a national conversation. They don’t even warrant a conversation at a tiny township hall, or even in the grocery store aisle. If you want to talk about racism’s continued existence in the United States with your kids, by all means do so. That’s an entirely appropriate and excellent conversation to have as you seek the truth together.   
        Just don’t tell us that we’re having yet another national conversation on a subject like racism because an 80-year-old super-rich guy with not only a wife and a terrible hairpiece, but a girlfriend young enough to be his granddaughter, and a long history of ignorant behavior gets caught on tape saying more ignorant things.   
        The same TV news anchors going on and on about Sterling last week will, in a few years, mention in the closing seconds of a broadcast that Sterling has died. That will likely be the next time you hear from him, and the last time.    
        Moving on...   
        For a few days, the Sterling saga made all the headlines and was the lead story on all the TV news broadcasts, but do you know what story Sterling bumped? The latest round of severe weather ripping parts of the country to pieces.   
        Sure, covering the weather is easy because the tragic tales are so gripping and the video is so compelling, and any lazy reporter can don a windbreaker and stand in knee-high floodwaters while hanging stoplights sway too and fro in gale-force winds in the background.   
        Is there a national conversation worth having? Is there a topic in your particular household that will distract your kids from their smartphones for a minute or two? Yes, there is, and it’s nothing less than the world they’re going to grow old in. Tell them what the planet will likely be like when they’re your age, or when they have teenage kids. Tell them how much higher the seas will likely be when their kids are adults, how awful the storms will be, how hot it will be, how precious fresh water might become when their grandchildren are trying to make a go of it. And tell them how so many countless people, at the direction of our nation’s so-called leaders, seem to not care less about any of it.   
    Page 2 of 2 -     Donald Sterling? He’s nothing. Climate change? It’s most definitely something. But just try to get a nation to talk about it.
       

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