Opinion

How Do Progressive Political Activists Handle Really Bad News?


Of necessity, this article is the personal opinion of the newsletter editor. Other expressions of Democratic opinion are not only welcome but encouraged for inclusion on the Club’s website.

On April 3, 2012, Gordon Brown, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010, spoke at one of the most politically liberal locations in California, the UC Center on Global Justice in La Jolla. And he delivered some astonishingly bad news. He has given up hope that the global warming crisis can be solved.

At the 2009 Copenhagen Conference, the Prime Minister sat next to President Obama and across the table from German Prime Minister Merkel. The Western nations came to Copenhagen with a major proposal to stop global warming and to stop the carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere from rising higher, ever higher. The Western leaders thought they were making major concessions to save the planet, and they knew what a tough sale these concessions would be at home. And China sent such a low level diplomat that nobody knew who he was, and India refused to send anybody at all. The almost universal response from the developing world was that any restrictions on polluting the atmosphere were a reversion to colonialism and a refusal of the Western nations to allow them their fair share of the 21st century world.

The Prime Minister then went on to those progressive goals he believes can be achieved including universal worldwide primary education where boys and girls are treated as equals. However in my opinion, it is the global warming crisis that needs immediate attention among California Democrats. First of all, going into denial will accomplish nothing. The global warming crisis, based on current information, really is hopeless. California setting an example for the world would be futile when nobody is paying any attention. A global crisis requires a global solution.

None of this course changes every person’s individual responsibility to be a good citizen of the planet. But it is a timely reminder of what politics is all about. Half the effort needs to go toward standing up for the values of our Party. And the other half is winning elections. It does no good for every Democratic candidate to be True Blue on every issue, and then for the public to be so turned off by it that the Tea Party is swept into power. The time has come for Democrats to dispense with draconian proposals such as gigantic increases in the gasoline tax, or reducing everyone to golf cart-sized automobiles, or spending multi-billions for public transportation that the public will never use.

There is a positive way to go instead. And this of course includes looking for every opportunity to encourage India and China to abandon their self-destructive policies. But Democrats need to spend less time thinking about bicycle lanes, and more time thinking about how to prepare for the next Hurricane Katrina and the next Joplin tornado. FEMA was a really sick joke under George W Bush. FEMA needs to be a properly funded and first class agency under every Democratic administration. Global warming is coming, ready or not, and we had better be ready.
Robert DeVries

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Point Loma Democratic Club of which he is a member.