If you were to rely on the mainstream media for an analysis of Tuesday’s election, you might think that a Tea Party revolution is about to take hold of Washington. Yes, Rand Paul was elected; the countdown begins on his vow to eliminate entire Federal Government departments. Yes, some amazingly effective leaders such as Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold were defeated. However, in the larger picture, those concerned with creating a sustainable future can celebrate some important victories.
First of all, California voters dealt a resounding defeat to Proposition 23, which would have suspended California’s pioneering greenhouse gas reduction law, AB 32. Prop. 23 wasn’t just defeated, it was defeated 61-39. California voters said no to Texas-based oil interests. They are committed to an energy future that recognizes the externalities of fossil-based fuels, and demand a clean energy revolution. Try that on for size, Tea Party.
Second, while many sympathetic politicians lost, some stalwarts of sustainability, like Senator Barbera Boxer in California, fought off challengers. Former Denver mayor, and sustainability advocate John Hickenlooper was convincingly elected Governor of Colorado. Governor Deval Patrick was re-elected in Massachusetts, and Independent Lincoln Chafee held off a last minute challenge by Republican John Robitaille in the Rhode Island Governor’s race. Even one Republican victor, Governor-elect Rick Snyder of Michigan, offers hope, as he is a board member of The Nature Conservancy. Extremists like Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell were defeated. In short, while no one will confuse incoming House Speaker John Boehner as a champion of sustainability, Tuesday’s midterm election was not a disaster.
This Saturday, reasonable Americans will be gathering on the Washington Mall, and In A Future Age will be onhand to document the sanity.
In the midst of all the political vitriol, hypocrisy, and insanity being expressed on the campaign trail, it is important to document the reasonable among us.
After all, no one really bats an eye when reasonable people open their mouth. People pay attention when crazy people bring up crazy solutions.
If we are going to find solutions to entitlement reform, climate change, and other complex, divisive issues, we are going to need all the reasonable people we can get.
Those who give out ideological purity tests are not reasonable.
Those that do not try to understand science, but instead adopt the ‘scientific’ views of their favorite radio jock are not reasonable.
Those who have been unable to compromise, especially when their country needs them to, and then have the audacity to claim that they will do so in the future are unreasonable, until proven otherwise.
Those that would rather sit on their hands then move one inch from their ideological platform, because they hold a minority and believe that is the only way to gain political power are unreasonable.
As a society, we need to elect reasonable people – people who will be friends and make deals with people they disagree with, in order to find solutions. We used to have a lot of reasonable people in Washington. In fact, there are still a few, like Orin Hatch, Barack Obama, and Russ Feingold. However, weight of this political moment is on those who represent the extreme, who will not compromise. Unfortunately, that will not get us anywhere.
In Washington on Saturday, we reasonable people will gather. We will act reasonably. I’ll be back next week with photos and an account of the event. Washington D.C., here I come.