Friday, July 29, 2016

The Big Blue Tent; There is a General in the House

Yesterday was a big day. Hillary's speech accepting the nomination is a huge moment in history.  But I want to turn my thoughts to another speech yesterday.

I think one of the most essential moments was General Allen's speech.

We just saw the military, the bastion of authority, in all its military trappings, in full drill commands INCLUDE transgender people and gays in what it is protecting. That is HUGE.

The LGTBQ community has just been told they haven't just been allowed to participate in the American Dream by getting to marry.  They are THE America that dreams, along with Muslims and women and blacks and hispanics and anyone else that can fit under that big blue tent.  Not only that, they can fully expect the power of their country to be behind them.  As the adult daughter of lesbians, growing up in a closeted family, with admonitions not to let friends know and worries about what the neighbors thought, I could never have imagined this day.  It is earth shattering.  And wonderful.

The implications of such a speech go much further, though.  You know what else is under that big blue tent?  Climate action.  And the implications for the military being part of the big blue tent for climate change? Wow.

That big blue Democratic tent's Party Platform resolves: "We believe the United States must lead in forging a robust global solution to the climate crisis. We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II. In the first 100 days of the next administration, the President will convene a summit of the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities to chart a course to solve the climate crisis."  Looks like some of those engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, at least, are likely to be military personnel.  Military personnel in high places.

Everyone on the planet is in different levels of climate denial. Even climate activists. But the one group that always seems the closest to hard reality is the military. Those that speak for climate adaptation and mitigation within the military are about as pragmatic and hard nosed as you get. To be honest, I don't want climate solutions left in the hands of someone like Jill Stein who hasn't a clue just how tough this job is going to be, or how energy policy works, or energy markets, or the challenge of dispatchable energy versus baseload, the nuances of a national grid, or of storage and transmission.  The thought of the ultra pragmatic military, that runs like, well, the military, joining other experts in addressing climate change?  Yes, please.

If carbon emissions was not the single most important issue out there, or if we had more time, I would never want to put my support behind what feels so much like blind patriotism.  The sound of delegates chanting "USA" in response to a general vowing to make our enemies afraid is TERRIFYING.  It is somewhat comforting that he pointed out that Hillary Clinton knows how to use other tools besides military might, and it is gratifying to hear the LGTBQ community embraced as brothers and sisters, but we can make no mistake.  The US military is scary, by design.

But I made a decision. I am a climate voter. We have no choice.  We must use the power systems we have in place today to effect change.  We don't have time to create a new economic system first, or get money out of elections, or end corporate charters.  We must cut emissions now.  Now.  Yesterday, now.

As I watched Hillary take the stage, after listening to Chelsea, and I thought about how she has worked for children and women and minorities, I could relate to her, mom to mom.  And, maybe, just maybe, Hillary is exactly the mother we need in this fight. Mothers don't give a sh*t about ideology or shy away from frightening paths when their kids are suffering. They just do what's got to be done. And I am not sure, but I would like to hope, that is exactly what we have forming here. Or that at least we have the potential for its formation here.

Part of me, the part that wants to follow Obama's path of hope, the one that wants to resist cynicism, wants to say, yes, we are seeing what a woman leader can do to bring together the people that are needed to get sh*t done. No bluster, no hot air. Just sheer insistence that it get done.

If we can do that with climate, the mother in me is with her 100%.

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