When Silence Isn’t Golden, Talk!

Last night’s “talk-a-thon” in the Senate on climate change was notable not for anything in particular said, but for the fact that it occurred at all.

Congressional Democrats have often been advised to focus on “economic issues” during bad economic times, and with the House coming under Republican control in 2011, prospects for reviving cap-and-trade legislation that expired in a Democratic-controlled Congress were low-to-nonexistence.

But silence hasn’t been golden for those concerned about climate change, since the fossil-fuel industry and its conservative political allies have occupied the vacuum to promote climate-changed denialism and skepticism, with considerable effect on public opinion.

So the first step towards changing that dynamic is to talk. If nothing else, it will provide some practice for what progressives will need to be prepared to say when new climate change regulations are implemented, and the deniers and their moneyed allies freak out.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.