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The Alphabet Series 2000: P is for Politics

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
July 17, 2000


"Hierarchical institutions are like giant bulldozers-obedient to the whim of any fool who takes control." — Edward Abbey

There are are many things human beings excel at, greed, arrogance and making simple tasks exceptionally difficult. All of which can be summed up with one word ... POLITICS. As most of us know politics are centered around issues politicians can't solve and promises they can't keep. The last thing they seem concerned about is a clean, healthy environment.

The current state of affairs is far from civilized. In this time of elections, it is perfectly clear how far off we've strayed. Instead of discussing the root causes of the problems facing Americans, politicians, local,state and federal have crowned themselves protectors of the status quo. If the status quo includes systematic environmental destruction so be it. Hoping their posturing and gesturing will divert attention long enough to milk as much from the system as they possibly can.

Which candidates are speaking about biodiversity? If Democracy is a representative system, who represents the California gnatcatcher, least Bell's Vireo, and the Fairy Shrimp? In Southern California the Endangered Species Act is under assault by developers and their puppets at city hall. With vision limited to soccer fields and single family homes it's easy to buy politicians who refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions - decisions ultimately based on who stands to gain the most financially or politically. Greed for money or power is still - and is likely to remain - the driving force of political culture and environmental decline.  If greed is not the answer, would someone please explain to me why we allow developers to destroy irreplaceable wild spaces to make way for the temples of consumerism? How many strip malls does this planet need?

If greed is not the answer, would someone please explain to me why our elected officials feel the need to spend billions on subsidizing non-renewable processes that choke our biosphere when solar, wind, and other less polluting alternatives would be competitive with the same subsidies? Road widening versus viable public transportation to name but one example.

To think America has a healthy multi-party system is delusional. The Republicans and Democrats are different sides of the same coin, the go out of their way to ensure other political ideologies such as the Green and Reform parties are excluded from debates on the issues. Making sure that the only conversation is how fast America should bend over to accommodate the Earth raping thugs of the World Trade Organization.

How do we, as environmentally concerned voters, make a difference in the political arena, where the message only matters as much as the money supporting it? Environmentalists can't possibly accumulate enough money on behalf of natural systems to buy it at developer's prices. In America Today, especially Southern California everything and everyone is a slave to the market, and local politicians are the ones running the auction.

The politicians who succeed within the political establishment have too much invested in the way things are done to actively take part in bringing about significant change. And since politicians are just puppets to fund-raisers, they can't be counted on for anything more than lip service and sound bites.

It is time for the grass roots movement to produce viable candidates that can address local issues and work towards a sustainable future. As more and more Green Party members seek office (and I am not talking about establishment types mouthing green speak), we must get behind those candidates of change. This shift in politics will not be done with money, and it will take time - like most successful evolutionary processes. The change will be one of conscience, with people talking to their neighbors, families and friends; whole communities deciding what is best for them.

By registering and voting for Green Party Candidate, Ralph Nader, Californians can let the career politicians know that it is time to stop playing politics, and return to a place where men and women live in balance with the biosphere that supports us. For those of you worried that a Green vote is a wasted vote, I would suggest that you review what just happened in Mexico.

Change is possible, and long over due.  All it would take to evict the entrenched status quo is for every disenchanted voter to say "enough is enough", and vote the greedy megalomaniacs out of office. Here in Coastal North County, if we don't stop the growth machine we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Vote as if your life depends on it. It does.

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