Left to themselves, it seems that our politicians are not going to cut our addiction to foreign oil from unstable and unfriendly countries, adequately invest in the #1 job creation category of the future, or counteract the biggest human-caused environmental threats in history.
But, should they be left to themselves?
Van Jones, a temporary “victim” of the right-wing extremists that have gained more and more political power in recent years, recently brought this topic up in a speech beautifully covered by Adele Stan of AlterNet. Rather than blame Obama or elected officials or common people who don’t understand what we understand about the environment and the economy, we need to take responsibility for our part in this matter. Jones challenged:
The politics of hope and change in this country did not start in Iowa in 2008. The politics of hope and change started in 2003, when we didn’t have a superhero; we didn’t have a messiah, we didn’t have a lot of organization, we didn’t have a bunch of money. What we had was one-party rule here in D.C., and an unjust, unlawful war about to start — and each other. And with no superhero, and no messiah, you and me and people that we know took to the streets. And in six weeks, we organized more people against that war in Iraq than were organized against the Viet Nam war in six years. We did that. You did that….
So, if there’s an inspiration deficit, or an inspiration gap in America, don’t look to him, let’s look back to ourselves.
When it comes down to it, we are responsible for ourselves, and have we been doing what we should be doing?
Obama got into office from a strong surge of grassroots activism and support. But once he got in, we left him and members of Congress to do almost everything on their own. The forces against them (i.e. Big Business) turned the switch to full-steam-ahead and most of us went back to sitting on the couch.
With the momentum on their side, and a totally different Congress coming into office, they are looking to go further, looking to outright slam the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal body left with the power to significantly address climate change.
What are we going to do about it?
Van Jones said, we better get ready to fight, or else the whole planet is going to pay the price.
“That fight is going to be the most important fight for the environment on Planet Earth next year,” Jones said. “If we allow the authority that [EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson] already has to be taken away, the planet may be greenhouse-gas attacked.”
We need to get off our high horse, stop saying “if only Obama would do more” and get to work promoting the change we need, sharing the information too many people don’t have, and building momentum behind serious change again.
Jones said, “somehow we became a movement, after our greatest victory, that sits around munching popcorn, waiting for one person to give a great speech so we can feel good. Now, that’s gotta stop.”
Everyone holds some responsibility in this matter, and the question is, are we living up to ours?
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Photo Credit: kk+ via flickr (CC license)
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