As I look at political actions today through the prism of the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, our first rational justification for National existence, I can’t help but be appalled by the mismatch of ideals with reality. Would refugees be rejected and children caged if the nation believed that all are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights?”
The mismatch is further evidenced by the failure to nationally address the emerging climate crisis. State and local efforts are praiseworthy, but a problem of this magnitude demands coordinated international attention. The Paris Agreement, particularly the concentration on reducing CO2 emissions, was an excellent first start. But once the Trump Administration withdrew the United States from the agreement unilaterally, it devolved to Congress to try to enact climate action legislation to restore national efforts to pursue protection of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Toward that end, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 9 “Climate Action Now Act,” a piece of sensible legislation designed to initiate and execute a planning process for dealing with the climate crisis. It also defunds any activities connected to the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. (H.R. 9 - https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/9)
But H.R. 9 has not moved in the United States Senate. It has been read twice but appears to be stalled there. This is a point when political activism comes into play. Going back to the Declaration, note that governments derive their powers through the consent of the governed. The “governed” exert great power under the founding ideology. Great responsibility comes with great power. It is now time to let Senators know that you support H.R. 9. (You can find out your Senator’s phone number and other contact information here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Senators will be taking a summer recess and returning to their states (August 5 to September 6). Try to make an appointment to meet with one or both of your Senators or their senate office aides who focus on environmental issues during this recess. Politicians are beginning to realize that the issue of the Climate Crisis is becoming increasingly important to the electorate. You can reinforce and extend this realization.
Finally, the Climate Crisis is compounded by intersections with many other issues. The immediate refugee crisis on the U.S. southern border has obvious or “self-evident” links to climate. As climate changes force populations to migrate, more and more refugees seek safe haven for their families. In effect, they are simply exercising their “unalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Please let your senators know that, too.