Monthly Archives: November 2014

Playing the Long Game

Originally published in TruthOut on November 9, 2014.

There have been endless post-mortems on the 2014 midterm elections, complete with explanations proffered as to why Democrats and their allies failed so spectacularly, and projections of doom and gloom lasting until the next election cycle. However, in a profound sense this election changes very little. The dominant reality we face is one of substantial ongoing political stalemate and decay, and this sets the terms of reference for those serious about long term, more fundamental change.

First things first: There is little indication that, even when elected, Democrats employing traditional liberal strategies will have the capacity to change most of the deteriorating or stagnating economic, social, and environmental trends – including, among others: rising inequality, high levels of poverty and child poverty, continued discrimination against women and minorities, declining corporate taxation, staggering levels of incarceration, increasing corruption of the political system and a rapidly changing climate.
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Pessimism about climate change does not justify inaction

Originally published in Al Jazeera America on November 10, 2014.

“Even if the United States deals with its carbon emission problem, the Chinese won’t. So what’s the point?”

“You can’t condemn the entire global South to abandon energy development, and you can’t provide enough with solar and wind. So what’s the point?”

“Besides, the whole enterprise of trying to achieve a future sufficiently carbon-free to deal with the most important problems is politically hopeless.”

These challenges are sometimes spoken, sometimes not, but they commonly and powerfully weaken efforts to deal with the climate crisis. Despite the well-funded bluster of disingenuous or, at best, delusional skeptics and deniers, a majority of Americans believe the climate is changing in worrying ways, and many (PDF) also believe that these changes pose a threat to current and future generations. But this belief has not yet translated into action at a scale adequate to the problem we face.
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