Joe Romm and Van Jones have an excellent essay on the urgent need for climate action, on this day which celebrates the life of a great American, Martin Luther King.
King devoted his life to overcoming the injustice of racism. It was crucial, not just for the welfare of African-Americans, but for every American, for every African, for every citizen of the world, because the words etched above, written by King while in an Alabama jail, are as true as words can be. Injustice to any is injustice to all.
We are now facing a terrible injustice: the ruination of the very world we live on. The destruction of climate stability which is so essential to life, to liberty, to the pursuit of happiness. I want more than prosperity for the few. I want liberty and justice for all. It is now undeniable, that depends on facing the truth of climate danger. But too many, and especially too many in the U.S. Congress, deny it.
That’s one of the reasons that if, perhaps when, republican candidates for present change their tune, start saying they “get it” on climate change, tell us that we need to find “business-friendly” solutions, that they must protect the economy (translation: the rich) first and foremost, we must rebuke them even more strongly than we rebuke the staunchest deniers, the Ted Cruz-Donald Trump denier gang. If Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or Chris Christie try to get votes by claiming to be ready to work toward climate solutions, don’t accept their half-hearted, politically expedient excuses for inadequate action, instead, reject their shallow understanding — even if said with good will. As King said,
“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
The greatest legacy of King’s life is that his example cannot be killed, it will never die. The greatest tragedy of today is that the threat from climate change is so dire, that on this day of remembrance his legacy calls on us to fight even harder for climate justice.
Because time is running out. Speaking of time itself, King said
“… can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will.”
It’s time for us all to rise up, to fight back against the Cruz/Trump outright denial, against the Bush/Rubio/Christie shallow understanding, against the selfish greed of “let the market solve the problem.” The problem is too big for the market to solve it alone, and far, far too important to allow the greedy any say at all in the solution.
Time is running out, we can no longer endure those who stand in the way, we can no longer tolerate those who insist on half-hearted half-solutions.
“There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.”
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