US election and it's consequences for environmentalism,

Matthew W. 471°

The US election has been pretty hard fought, with both sides talking passionately about climate change and how they plan to address it. However, for me it simply boils down to politics... those with vested interests in industries that traditionally have the largest impact will do least to push new climate change bills through - it's that simple.

I'd like to see Senator McCain so something to make us all really sit up and take notice, but I'm just worried that the puppeteers are holding onto the strings and there is nothing he can do about it...

4 replies

C Robb W. 429°

We need to find a way to cut the strings. Cast the puppeteers adrift. The US has the same wealth inequality profile as existed in the 1920's. Leaner and meaner has not led to making the US more competitive, rather the US economy has been driven into the dirt, corporate raider style, to enable the rich to skim off every last ounce of value for themselves. Infrastructure is crumbling, R&D is declining, education is failing, adequate health care is only for the elite. Much of this is due to the union busting strategies created by Ronald Reagan and improved upon ever since. The political system now accepts that hourly wage jobs keep people in poverty rather than lifting them out of poverty. By keeping the minimum wage down the politicians are keeping all the hourly wages above that level down as well. 80% of the workers in the US are hourly wage workers. In 1968 the minimum wage adjusted for inflation was $9.88, it is now $5.85. Campaign finance reform, protests, consumer boycotts, highly visible lifestyle changes, repudiation of the debt economy, self sufficiency, repeal of person-hood status for corporations as well as the corporate legal framework that encourages the detriment of the many for the benefit of the few, these are all steps that need to be taken. When I was a kid we had to take social studies in school. This is where we learned what it meant to be citizens. How many people consider themselves as citizens now? We have become consumers, to ourselves, the media, government and worst of all, the rich. A crop to be harvested. This is insulting and degrading. Without massive involvement from educated citizens things will not change, not in any sort reasonable and necessary time frame anyway. This transition to a just and sustainable society will involve a struggle larger than the civil rights movement, more vociferous than the antiwar protests during the Vietnam war, and probably more discomfiting for this generation than anything we've experienced. But if we can pull it off, life will be immeasurably improved for future generations who at the moment face a grim existence.

Written in June 2008

1 person thinks this is a cool reply

It doesn't matter who is in the White House. Presidents can't get anything done due to the checks and balalnces system. Divine right monarchy is looking better every day. At least something gets done. I'd like to see America cut up into smaller nations -- in that way, maybe we might get governemts who actually do something other than make money for themselves. All that being said, I'm still going to vote democrat -- just on the slim chcnce that I'm wrong and Obama can get something positive done, or at least it will give me the right to complain.

Written in June 2008

C Robb W. 429°

Rena, Far be it from me to be optimistic, it goes against my nature, but I hope and pray both that you end up with no reason to complain and Obama gets it done.

Written in June 2008

1 person thinks this is a cool reply

Charles M. 110°

To an extent the USA **is** already a set of smaller nations called states. Each state has its own laws about many things and in some ways the USA is like the EU.

The first step to breaking the process is of corporatization is to stop lobbying. This is really just legalized bribery. Obama has made some signals about this which will no doubt make some parties very skittish.

US minimum wages stink. They are lower than in many parts of the world (Europe, Australis, New Zealand etc). Sure they are higher than many African and Asian countries, but I don't believe that Americans want to be equated with these economies.

Minimum wage labor provides much of the engine room for a consumer culture: from farm laborers picking those Californian tomatoes to freight workers and retail staff.

The other huge step is for America to become a better international citizen. Instead of needing to dominate from a position of military power it should be trying to play nice with the other kids in the sandpit. This obsession with domination goes hand in hand with fear. Again, Obama seems to be signalling better relationships with the rest of the world.

Sure, these don't directly impact environmental issues, but they would shift thinking towards a position with more lealthy outlooks (ethically and environmentally).

Written in July 2008

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