Thursday, March 30, 2006

An Article Commentary from Gregg:

I think we all agree that the Democratic Party needs to take more clear stands on issues that affect our country and planet and that those positions need to be hammered and hammered in order to change the world view that has been relentlessly promoted by the right over the last few decades (hyper-individualism, the rule of capital, greed and religious fundamentalism).

Two issues which are connected have, thirty six years after the first Earth Day moved to the frontal lobes and front pages of America. These issues are global warming and energy dependence. The following is excerpted from today’s (3/30/06) Reuters web page:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans are nearly as worried about their country's dependence on foreign energy sources as they are about the war in Iraq, a poll released by the magazine Foreign Affairs showed on Thursday.

Almost half of the 1,000 Americans surveyed for the Public Agenda Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index gave U.S. policymakers a failing grade in weaning the country from foreign oil.

Nearly 90 percent said the lack of energy independence jeopardizes national security.

Public Agenda, a nonpartisan group, conducted the poll in early January with funding from the Ford Foundation. It said that Americans are at a "tipping point" on energy, akin to their state of mind about the war.

Daniel Yankelovich, chairman of Public Agenda, said the public reaches a "tipping point" when it is gravely worried about an issue and believes the government has the ability to change matters. When the index was first published in August 2005, only the Iraq war triggered a similar response, he said.

"This time we find that a second issue has reached a tipping point, which is energy independence, and you have a very strong increase in the number of Americans who are intensely worried about the problem," Yankelovich said in a conference call.

"Now with this issue having reached the tipping point in the public I think that that means the political complexion of that issue is about to change considerably," he added.
Last week the news was filled with stories of glaciers melting, global warming being a fact that no longer needs “study” to be accepted as fact, polar bears losing their habitat, etc.

In my view the Democratic Party should quickly formulate a bold, progressive approach to these problems and get out in front of the cranks, neo-cons and radio shows with it. If these issues are at the tipping point the Democrat Party needs to wrap its arms around this national interest and maximize its political potential while simultaneously taking meaningful steps to save the country and planet. One last suggestion: all such initiatives should be expressed in terms of what we need to do for our children and grandchildren … this is the opposite focus of greed, it is the focus of altruism and legacy and it needs to make a comeback big time.

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