"Because you can't hug a tree if you can't find one."

9/19/2008

Everything is Political

Some green bloggers have shocked their readers lately by writing critically about the GOP’s scary vice presidential candidate. There are those who just want to read about changing their light bulbs, and find other tips for lowering their individual carbon footprint. These readers are appalled when a blogger “gets political.” Never mind that the positions and policies of elected officials can steer the country towards continued dependence on greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels and further loss of biodiversity.

We miss the point of the Green movement if we fail to realize that everything is political. We (Americans) live in a society whose culture of consumption, excess and waste, has been shaped by the powerful advertising machinery of corporations. They had all the help they could buy from a government only too happy to hand out corporate tax breaks, deregulate, and promote the corporate worldview. In many cases corporate executives and politicians are interchangeable: today’s governor or V.P. will soon be serving on the board of directors of a multinational corporation that contracts with the military or develops agrofuels.

Rather than focusing resources on developing energy alternatives (or restructuring to reduce national energy consumption) the US government is fighting a war to secure a large share of the world’s remaining oil reserves. That oil is not primarily for the people, but for the corporations who will then profit by selling it to whoever can pay the most. The war is likely to continue no matter who is elected in November because as the system is designed, the corporations control the government. They contribute the big bucks to the candidates (on both sides), they own the media that does its best to steer public opinion. They leave nothing to chance. And while some of us carry our reusable bags and grow a few vegetables, the corporations package ever more unnecessary products in non-recyclable packages and build shopping malls to entice us to drive and spend.

If we want to be effective as environmentalists, we need to get beyond changing our light bulbs. We need to organize around all the issues that affect our world and its diverse populations. And that certainly includes speaking out against a politician who could, on a whim (or based on a personal belief) obliterate everything we are trying to achieve.

2 comments:

Mitchel Cohen said...

Rejin, I'm glad you brought up this Sarah Palin lunacy. The problem is that Joe Biden is hardly any better.

I'm sick of the way the pundits, including most bloggers, are discussing the Vice President candidates' debate. It is so energy-sucking to read even intelligent comments about the debate, because they're mostly about form: Who won? Who will the American people think won? Who was able to parry the other's tricks?

We've turned politics into Family Feud, where you have to guess what you think others are guessing about what others have guessed.

So Joe Biden is never really taken to task on his actual legislative record. He has "experience," but experience doing what? He can "walk across the aisle" to work with Republicans .... But no one asked him, on what?

No one challenges him on his crucial defense of the credit card companies, and how this feeds into the current debt crisis.

No one challenges him on his support for The War On Drugs -- and all that means for the huge incarceration rate in the U.S. (What is it, now, 2.5 million actually in prison at any given time, and twice that figure in the courts, on probation or parole?)

No one challenges him on his and Obama's statements concerning the "Surge" in Iraq -- a euphemism for a large expansion of the war; or on his quotes supporting Bush around WMDs in Iraq; or of his proud support for bombing the hell out of Yugoslavia under the pretext of "defending Kosovo."

No one challenges him (or Palin) on their statements in favor of "Clean Coal" -- as if such a thing is possible without serious environmental calamity; carbon-trading and offsets, and why their support for such schemes is just a free-market way of destroying the earth and letting them get away with it; genetic engineering of agriculture; liquid coal, stored under the ground and polluting drinking water; agro-fuels, exported from countries whose people are starving but who have turned their lands into cash-crops for SUVs elsewhere; mass use of pesticides; nuclear power plants, which they both support -- oh, my god, that's their solution? That's what's in store for us? As the saying goes: "Better active today than radioactive tomorrow."

and, No one challenges either of them on their support for the $700 billion bailout of billionaires on Wall Street, except to ask, "What programs will you have to cut as a result?" Why not provide immediate relief to those facing foreclosure or eviction, instead of to the banks foreclosing them, evicting them? And, what about forcing open the corporate books for all to review, if they're going to be bailed out by our tax dollars?

On the other hand, if I hear Sarah Palin use the word "Maverick" one more time, I'm gonna call up James Garner and ask him what he, the original t.v. "Maverick", thinks about McCain stealing his alter-ego (Rockford files be damned).

Parry ... thrust; thrust ... parry. Instead of worrying so much about "what will play for the American people" -- who, I think, are far far far more intelligent than liberal New Yawkers give'm credit for (people don't know what to do, we feel impotent, helpless, blown about by forces beyond our control or influence and so lamely grab onto any straw that's offered) -- how about focusing on the substance, on the policies being argued, and forcing the candidates to go into depth on them? (I know, that's why Palin and the Republicans wanted each answer limited to 1.5 minutes; imagine if she had to keep repeating the word "Maverick" for 3 minutes at a clip!)

The way punditry works is to comment on how one thinks the comments would play on others. Hey, what are we, chopped tofu? What about what we want?

I'm sick of the Meta-Comments -- comments about how other comments might play, regardless of their content. It's all a big game -- What's the score!? -- Place yer bets, now!

Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn Greens / Green Party

Rejin/Urban Botany said...

Mitchel, I'm afraid I have fallen into the trap of Palin bashing because she is so-o-o scary. But that doesn't mean I plan to throw my vote away on the lesser evil by voting for the Democrats. Some months ago I posted about the nuclear industry's contributions to Obama's campaign, and I've been questioning Obama/Biden's adherence to the myth of clean coal.

It is outrageous that Americans can choose from dozens of "different" kinds of deodorants, but are satisfied to choose between two presidential candidates who's policies are so similar. I plan to vote for McKinney and the Green Party, but rather than fight with people who feel it is urgent to vote Obama to (once again) keep the Republicans out of the White House, I have just been raising questions about the democrats and letting people come to their own conclusions.

Guess it is about time I step up my support of McKinney and the Green Party.