I’m wondering if you have noticed that the plants are flowering at different times this year. The rhododendrons are usually pretty much done by the end of April, but this year, they are a little past full bloom toward the end of May. On the other hand, I have seen flower buds on Himalayan blackberries and they are usually not out until mid June. I can understand things being generally early or generally late, but not both at the same time. It may be another indication that nature is out of balance and our plants, and I suppose animals like us, are becoming disoriented. From now on, I will use the terms climate crisis or climate emergency because mere “change” doesn’t really address the gravity of the situation.
We can do a certain amount to address the climate crisis as individuals and communities, but we will need to see that the state, nation, and world are on board if we want to succeed. This brings me to the 2020 presidential election and the bewildering 23 Democratic candidates that are running. Besides the climate crisis, issues vying for attention include inequality (economic, gender, racial, and?), infrastructure, healthcare, foreign policy and war, political corruption, immigration, education – basically everything. You can see how at least 21 of these candidates feel about most of these issues by going to this website: https://www.politico.com/interactives/2019/04/25/2020-democratic-presidential-candidates-take-stands-issues/ or you can just google “Here’s where the Democratic candidates stand on the biggest 2020 issues.” Many of these candidates are featuring one or a few of these issues in the hope that the public will coalesce at some point behind their issues. I think what is really frustrating is that almost all of these issues need to be addressed now, so how do you prioritize? How can you leave anything on the back burner?
For me, the climate crisis is top priority. Any candidate that doesn’t prioritize that is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. That cuts down the number of candidates for me. At the same time, all the other issues are inextricably tied to the successful engagement with the climate crisis. We certainly can’t get anywhere without addressing infrastructure (energy and transportation for two), and much the same can be said to a greater or lesser degree about most of the rest. That is the particular genius of the Green New Deal, which recognizes the complexity of the problem and approaches it in a holistic manner by looking at all aspects of our lives. It is not a plan or program, but a resolution or plan of attack.
If you look at the comparison of candidates in the article mentioned above, you will see which candidates are not for the Green New Deal. I am eliminating those candidates from consideration. Some of them say it is too vague, unrealistic, or unaffordable. It is vague on purpose because it is simply a statement that all problems need to be addressed primarily with the climate crisis in mind. The ones that say it is unrealistic or unaffordable haven’t even bothered to try to understand its intent. In any case, we don’t have time to address their ignorance. Some that claim they are for the Green New Deal are on the bandwagon strictly to score political points. If you read their personal comment about each of the issues, you will see the ones that are leaving themselves an opening to opt out.
Another big factor for me is which ones are taking money from big corporate interests. Like Obama, the ones taking the corporate money will not be able to make the hard decisions that clearly transfer power and wealth away from the 1%. If I learned anything from Obama, it was that it doesn’t matter how nice a person you are. If you take the corporate money, you are on the corporate leash. Since Bernie Sanders, it has become popular to say that you get all your money in small donations from the grassroots. Most say that they do, but only Sanders and Warren are clearly sticking to the promise. If you keep your eyes open, you will see who spends time at posh fundraisers. If we are to make any headway on mitigating the climate crisis, our president has to have a completely unfettered hand to do what needs to be done. Our Governor, Jay Inslee, who is the strongest candidate focusing on climate, says he will take money from a big climate PAC, so he may be an exception to the rule, but will need to be watched. Of course, they all will need to be watched closely.
You can fulfill part of your duties at the state level by attending the coming Town Hall meeting with our State legislators, Sen. Nguyen, Rep. Cody, and Rep. Fitzgibbon. It will be at the Methodist Church on June 3, 7 PM. You will have a chance to hear about what has happened in the last session, ask questions, and find out how you can help. All of this political stuff is deadly serious right now. Your life literally depends on whether you attend to it.