- September 24, 2014 in Columnists
Even though I can’t sleep, I will still talk about climate change
It’s now 4:30 a.m. and my prospects for falling asleep aren’t improving.
On occasion, my ability to fall asleep is hampered by stress, anxiety or excitement, and today was not the day to have insomnia. I had things to do today, man.
I had a doctor’s appointment at 10 a.m. and instead I will probably be sleeping through 10 a.m. Fantastic, what else can we do for an encore?
I know what some people’s reactions will be, so far, Matt, everyone has sleepless nights. My first reaction would be to say screw you. I like my sleep. Instead of just being reactionary, I had another thought.
I want to segue into my thoughts about the climate change march that happened on Monday in New York City.
Yes, I can do it!
Monday, there was a major rally on the issue of climate change. Around 400,000 people marched in New York City to bring awareness about carbon emissions, rising sea levels, drought and other changes in the environment. President Obama commented that no nation gets a pass on climate change. Celebrities flew in on private jets so they could walk along with indigenous peoples and get their pictures taken.
My feelings about the march are conflicted to say the least.
On the one hand, any time there’s a big march where awareness is raised and true social change could be mobilized, I am 1,000 percent behind it. On the other hand, I don’t want marches like this to end up like Occupy Wall Street.
My beef with Occupy Wall Street is they had their moment in the sun in 2011 protesting without a plan.
During that spring and summer, you couldn’t turn on a TV without it mentioning the Occupiers. Mostly college students, they understood one thing: They were all going to graduate college and have zero prospects for employment and will have a long lifetime of underemployment. They knew that the financial sector was putting them into a desperate corner and it not only affected them but it also affected all segments of society.
Capitalism was going to screw them with their pants on.
Occupy Wall Street offered no idea of what their demands were. Furthermore, the demands they made were tired old rhetoric from the ’60s and beyond. We are the 99%? People instead of corporations?
On top of that, all the slogans in the world were not going to save them from a centeral problem. What was Occupy Wall Street going to do if they ever got into power? Were they ever going to run for office like the Tea Party protesters did?
Nope. They protested. And make no mistake about it, they were met by police and were roughed up by them. They were brave. I admire them for that. I respect them for that. But the real problem is they had no plan: plain and simple.
You got to have a plan, Stan.
You got to hand it to the Tea Party guys. They got pissed, they got organized, and they found their way into office on a state and national level. Of course the irony is that they said government is broken and “we are here to fix the mess.” Four years into a Tea Party US Congress, and this Congress is one of the worst working Congresses in modern US history. Truly embarrassing.
But they honestly believed they were going to dig their heels in and “stick to their principles.” All that meant is that they were never going to compromise with a Democrat. I suppose they don’t believe in democracy unless it suits them.
Here’s the point: I think Occupy Wall Street would have been better served if they took a page from the Tea Party. You must infiltrate the system in order to change it.
The environmentalists have the same issues. It’s not enough to just bang on a drum and march with someone who is part Cherokee. I’m not saying don’t march. I’m saying you need a plan that people can understand and relate to.
The Tea Party guys were effective insofar as they articulated their party platform and stuck with it. With environmentalists, Liberals, Democrats, Occupy Wall Street protestors — their tragedy is in a lack of a cohesive strategy at addressing the problem and mobilizing people to a solution. The Liberals, even more so with the Left (Socialists, Anarchists, Communists, Marxists, Social Democrats) are stuck in the mud and rudderless.
A new plan and idea must emerge if you want to save your planet. You want to end poverty? You need a new economic system. You want to educate everyone? You catch my point.
While we’re all broke and unemployed or underemployed, we need to dream our way out of this mess. We need the new plan. Let’s not do what the Baby Boomers in the ’60s and ’70s did. Let’s not have a Summer of Love and then just endlessly celebrate the one thing we did.
Do you want the revolution or not? Do you want to escape our social bonds? Will you sacrifice what you know to get to the promised land? It’s going to hurt to change. It’s really going to hurt.
The stakes have never been higher — not only for us but for the generations ahead of us. I have no plan for myself, so I’m just as lost as you are. Take my message as a “come to Jesus moment.” If we want out of here, we need to network, organize, communicate, and dream the new dream together.
Otherwise, I’m just a sleep-deprived maniac droning on and on about nothing.