#KenBone is everything wrong with our Climate Change discourse
Why the hell are we talking about his sweater?
We here at Invironment have already decided that there’s no stopping the Climate Change train, and last night’s U.S. presidential debate provided yet another illustration of why this is the case. In a night filled with tawdry personal attacks and malodorous rhetorical cesspools, the only person to ask a question even peripherally concerning climate change was Ken Bone, an undecided voter in the audience.
“What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?”
Fair enough — very middle of the road. How can we supply energy to people with minimal environmental impact and job loss? It’s an excellent question.
The responses were pat and contentless, familiar to anyone with even a basic exposure to Trump (Kill the EPA) and Clinton’s (Solar Panels but also Fracking) policies. Nonetheless, as climate change is the biggest single issue facing the planet, you’d think this would maybe perhaps possibly just a little get people discussing it.
Instead? We’re getting this:
In an ugly night of lies, interruptions, and pointed attacks, America found it's hero in the audience of the second…qz.com
However, it was not his question, but rather his dashing mustache, bright red sweater, and striking name, Ken Bone, that saw him quickly trending on Twitter. One hour after the debate ended, there were 56,400 tweets about Ken Bone, compared to 21,500 about Justice Scalia.
No discussion of his question, and the worthless answers provided by both candidates. Instead it was all about how “quirky” he is, how he “saved the debate.”
Even pieces that aren’t as hyperbolic about Bone’s persona gloss over the actual question asked. Vide this fluffer in the New York Times:
In his everyday life, Mr. Bone regularly works 12-hour shifts sitting in the control room of a coal-fired power plant. He said that while energy from coal is “near and dear to our hearts,” that he and his co-workers “recognize the need to be environmentally responsible.”
With his question he had been hoping to “spark a debate about subsidies for environmental controls for older coal–fired power plants.”
“I’m just glad I was able to spark the energy debate a little bit, it was kind of getting overlooked,” he said.
Where’s the actual discussion regarding which candidate would be better on climate change (obvs not Trump)? This is why so many of us have come to the conclusion that “fighting” climate change is useless.
When the only question about energy policy during the presidential debates, the only question even touching on climate change, is reduced to a discussion about how much the guy who asked it looks like a character from a Toy Story movie, you know we’ve already lost the fight.