What is it going to take to get us to listen and to act? How much worse do things have to become?
By David Sirota
This is a cautionary tale, written as I try to figure out how to construct the “safe room” that state officials now say I need to build for me and my family. And this cautionary tale is not just about one state or one election — it is about our democracy, our head-in-the-sand political establishment, and most important, about whether or not we have the ability to listen and to change as our survival is threatened.
This tale begins late last year, when Senate Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff released a longform ad warning that if we don’t take climate change seriously, we are facing an apocalyptic crisis in the “not so distant future.” The ad depicted a dystopia of Coloradans trapped in their homes, unable to go outside because of scorching temperatures and poisonous air.
No matter where you look, this emergency is becoming very real, very fast — and the people warning about it and demanding real action are still getting berated, laughed at and mocked.
A proponent of a Green New Deal, Romanoff was quickly mocked by the political establishment — the local media opted to vapidly focus on whether it was a good tactic and “good politics,” rather than consider its merits. Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner suggested that Romanoff, a former House Speaker, had gone “insane” — a charge amplified by the local press. The GOP in Washington called the ad “fear-mongering” and derided Romanoff’s “unabashed support for the Green New Deal and other progressive policies.”
Dems to the rescue of big oil
The message from the entire political class was clear and resounding: Romanoff was ridiculed for not being politically savvy and for supposedly making a climate argument that was too hyperbolic and unrealistic. He was soon berated by Democrats like Gov. Jared Polis for spotlighting his opponent’s ties to the oil and gas industry. Few major progressive groups — other than the Sunrise Movement — worked to try to win this state for a climate champion. National Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren parachuted in to help crush the primary challenge, spend Romanoff into the ground, and secure the Democratic Senate nomination for one of the most pro-fossil-fuel candidates in Democratic politics.
A mere nine months later, the climate dystopia that Romanoff warned of — and that he was berated for sounding an alarm about — is now the lived reality in Colorado.
This morning, all of us here in Denver woke up to warnings telling us not to go out of our homes and to set up “safe rooms” in our homes. We are being told that this is necessary because near-100-degree temperatures mixed smoke from wildfires and ozone pollution make it unsafe for anyone to be outside.
As Romanoff’s ad suggested, all of it has a link to climate — the heat is from a climate-intensified summer; the wildfires are intensified by the climate situation; and ozone pollution is linked to the burning of and drilling for fossil fuels.
For days, the sun has been blocked out by smoke. My kids quite literally miss the sunshine — exactly as Romanoff’s ad said they would. …
Link To The Most Honest — And Ridiculed — Political Campaign Ad Of The Primary Season
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )