California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in a recent exchange with young climate activists from the Sunrise Movement who were pressing her to support the Green New Deal, responded by suggesting their expectations were lofty, because, primarily, she knows “what can pass and I know what can’t pass” in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.
Sadly, the sometimes testy confrontation is emblematic of how political leadership — particularly the leadership of what once was a truly progressive Democratic Party — is failing to address the climate crisis that already has arrived.
Bipartisanship is not mostly dead
Despite Feinstein’s poo-pooing of pleas from representatives of the Sunrise Movement, bipartisanship is not yet dead — especially when elected officials heed the sentiment of their constituents:
- On February 12, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 92-8 to pass a conservation bill that would create more than 1.3 million acres of wilderness.
- In January, Republican senators joined Democratic colleagues to petition Trump to end his infantile, reckless government shutdown, which permanently damaged the U.S. economy.
- And it took only a handful of conservative Senators to stop the inexplicable effort to repeal the imperfect-but-functional Affordable Care Act.
Back in the day, and against incalculable odds, bipartisanship forged a new country, and examples of bipartisan collaboration ensued on issues of great importance, even if progress was a lengthy pursuit.
Even in today’s “divided” Congress, conservative representatives no longer can ignore the reality of human-caused global warming.
The Green New Deal is not left-handed
A recent poll conducted by Yale University and George Mason University found even a majority of Republicans support the Green New Deal. Global warming is neither liberal nor conservative, and voters of all persuasions recognize the existential threat. Now it is time for elected officials to shed their doubts and preconceptions, fulfill their sworn duty, and act on the most consequential matter of our time.
Earth is becoming the fire swamp
No community is immune from the extreme effects of global warming, and reports of record-setting temperatures continue to illustrate the urgency of curbing greenhouse gas emissions:
Unfortunately, such extremes are becoming the “new abnormal,” and, as scientists have been warning for decades, time is running out.
By definition, the Green New Deal is not inconceivable
As polls of voters clearly indicate, there already is bipartisanship support for action to curb the effects of global warming. All we need now are politicians willing to heed the call, and soon. Such was the message in the recent opinion piece, 3 ways to translate Green New Deal into actual policy, by University of Washington policy experts Nives Dolšak and Aseem Prakash.
So, no, Sen. Feinstein, and other naysaying Democrats, despite Republican control of the Senate, a Green New Deal is not inconceivable.