The Missing Debate

When Ronald Reagan took credit for the fall of the Soviet Union, there came a loud proclamation from the west that the United States was the world's last standing super power. In the end, the good guys had won. But neither claim is particularly true. There is among us another super power, it has always been and it remains so today. And that super power is We the People. Not We the American People, not We the People of the Arab Spring, or We the People of China. But, We, the People.

It is interesting to note that a great many North American Indigenes call themselves simply "The People" in their own language. I would presume this is common across the globe, but cannot say for sure. I do hope we've outgrown any negative feelings associated with the term, thank you Chairman Mao, for as long as it conjures memories of leftist cold war rhetoric, spun hard by western propagandists, it remains an effective first defense of Organized Greed. And, to be precise, it is only a super power when it becomes We, The Righteously Pissed People. Politicians and bureaucrats know this. Law enforcement knows this. The invisible super-wealthy and their corporate boards all know this. But We the People don't. Not yet, anyway.

Why else would so much effort be put into factionalizing the People, of keeping us arguing with each other? Are the House and Senate our reflection? Or our models? Why is disproportionate government muscle flexxed at every opportunity, such as three squad cars to issue a simple speeding ticket? And why are you already suspicious of my writing, expecting me to slide neatly into a bin someone else meticulously crafted for your use?

Is there anything you've noticed missing from all the sound bites and pontificating, the off-topic sophomoric attacks in this not-so-presidential campaign season? I have. Others have, too. Super-Frankenstorm-of-the-Century-Number-Three-in-Fourteen-Months Sandy brought a very timely reminder. Personally, I feel the Earth was sending the candidates a clear message since neither one has seen fit to say anything about the environment. Believe what you will, but the reincarnation of Hurricane Katrina stealing the show one week before their Big Day is no random act.

It is no secret cabals of big business that leave eco-destruction in the wake of their activities have made it clear any candidate pressing an agenda to protect the environment that could hamper their free range attack on the planet will lose. Supreme Court rulings that allow associations to fund without limits or disclosure their support or opposition of a candidate, has had a freezing effect on environmental debate. The people we look to for leadership on nothing less than saving the planet from human destruction, will not speak to it. Apparently, political careers are more important than future generations. The so-called legal rights of corporate bullies outweigh the rights of nature and mere humans alike, trumping Life itself.

Addressing a joint session of Congress, Gerald R. Ford said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." This includes another function of government; protecting the nation, which these days includes protection form the results of environmental destruction. Since our winner-take-all Electoral College "elected" politicians (I refuse to call any of them leader) have made the deliberate choice to ignore what over 73% (and growing) of the US public now understands as a major life-threatening crisis, it is clear these politicians, regardless of party affiliation, are working for the continued destruction of the planet.

Little wonder. The US constitution is an economic document, not a political document, and nobody knows this better than big business.

If there is any merit to the claims made here and you are not outraged, you're either some corporation's minion, or not paying attention. And I apologize if this feels like I'm attacking you; that is not my intention or purpose. My purpose, regardless of your station in life or politics, is to encourage you to think about the CULPABLE CONDUCT of US political culture and its egregious failure to address climate crisis in a serious, meaningful, and solution-seeking way.

As for all those giant corporations and their faceless, nameless owners, refuse to participate, but only one at a time. In my view, this is where boycotts typically fail; people want to punish corporate offenders company-wide, and it's usually big oil. Boycotting is not a new idea, except for the time allotted each retailer. Calls to do this before have always, and only, to my knowledge, asked consumers (you are not a person, you are a consumer. Sorry.) to boycott on a certain day. Next day, back to the pump or check-out counter as usual. Instead, pick one corporation in the retail business, boycott it indefinitely until it either goes out of business or its parent company concedes and turns green. Whatever the business is selling does not matter. The point is to demonstrate unity of purpose in the Consuming Public's demand for positive environmental action, and access. As consumers, we can only, realistically, access and impact retailers directly. General Dynamics is hardly a topic of conversation at the dinner table because it's not known for discount coupons in the Sunday paper for its latest model nuclear submarine.

If one retailer is shoved over the cliff at a time, the business community, as well as some of those savvy politicians might eventually take note. And to those of you who say, "So what, as soon as one is gone, there's always another to take its place." I hope so, that's the idea. The difference is, the one taking the place of our expired retailer is green; it manufactures green, it distributes green, it buys green, it sells green. And it will draw all those green consumers, putting additional pressure on retailers scheduled for the cliff but not there yet, to get with the program.

This idea can work locally. In fact, it might be best to cause one location of a chain to close, provided the home office knows exactly what is happening and why. This would cause the least disruption in the national economy. Jobs would be lost locally, for sure. But that would be a short term sacrifice for a long term gain; the future of our nation's children. And when the green replacement starts up or moves into town, who would they most likely hire first? This is a long term, unrelenting campaign to force the issue in a more rational way than waiting until it is literally too late and tornadoes and hurricanes and snow storms and flooding and fires and drought and landslides and rising sea levels and unbreathable air and undrinkable water and out of reach food prices, all leading to riots and political and economic upheaval take their toll. Just before the lights go out for good.

For sure, retailers will fight back with deals too good to refuse. This is where personal discipline is so important. No matter how attractive the price, do not buy their goodies.

And if you think this is just the wild rant of some renegade tree-hugging malcontent and none of this is really happening, then all I can say is you're ready to run for office. But remember, once the public is properly outraged it'll take all you have just to keep up. So, why not organize a boycott in your neighborhood today?

Rick McBride is mixedblood Tsalagi (Cherokee) and wonders why mainstream people tolerate so much incompetence, malfeasance, and culpable conduct in their politicians. He believes it's appropriate to be outraged, especially when expressed through non-violent non-cooperation. Please visit http://mixedblood.info


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