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OPINION - Why We Need to Pull Together

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OPINION - Why We Need to Pull Together

By Tish Levee

As many of you know, I was and still am a Bernie Sanders’ supporter. I worked very hard for him, because I sincerely believed he was the candidate who’d really tackle the issue of climate change, which I believe is the most important one facing us today.

However, Bernie did not receive the Democratic Party nomination. Many people believe he lost to Secy. Clinton because of election fraud and the support given to her by the DNC in preference to Sen. Sanders. I will not discount that, but at this point whether it is true or not doesn’t matter. Lawsuits are making their ways through the courts, but they won’t be resolved till after the election. In the meantime we are faced with a choice. Do we stand on principle and write in Bernie or vote for Jill Stein, or do we do what Bernie asked us to do in his speech at the Democratic National Convention—support the Democratic candidate, Secy. Clinton?

I know many supporters believe they must vote their conscience and feel that being told doing so will result in the Donald Trump’s election is a form of blackmail. I’m sorry, it isn’t blackmail—it’s just cold, hard facts.

Many of Bernie’s younger supporters weren’t involved in the election of 2000 and don’t remember it. But I do. I had a dear friend who supported Ralph Nader and the Green Party, telling me, “we have to stand on principal,” when I pointed out  he was helping elect George W. Bush. He didn’t believe me, but in fact Nader’s nearly 100,00 votes in Florida would’ve well offset the 537 votes by which Bush won there; the more than 22,000 votes he received in New Hampshire would’ve likewise offset the 7,211 votes Bush won by there. Had either of these states not gone for Bush, we would have been spared eight years of an incredibly bad presidency—probably the worst ever. 

From the perspective of climate change, my first and foremost issue, the US and the world would have been much better off with Al Gore as president. He was ahead of the curve with An Inconvenient Truth. In contrast President Bush, a former oilman, put road blocks in the way of scientists. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Bush administration “consistently sought to undermine the view held by the vast majority of climate scientists that human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are making a discernible contribution to global warming.” 

The planet can’t afford another George W. Bush AND we really can’t afford someone now who will make that presidency look like a “walk in the park.” There are so many reasons why even four years of a Trump presidency would be disastrous, more than I can begin to deal with here. So I will focus just on the one issue that is always my most important one—climate change.

 The current Republican candidate has said climate change is a “hoax;” in his own words, he’s “not a big believer in manmade climate change.” He said, that over billions of years, “certainly climate has changed” and“it goes up, it goes down,…we’ll see what happens.” Unfortunately, we really can’t afford to wait and “see what happens.”

Trump has promised to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Clean Power Plan. A recent Sierra Club paper said that if elected, Trump would be the only world leader who didn’t believe in the science of climate change. Trump is clear he would renegotiate or even repeal the Paris Agreement reached by 195 nations last December.

By contrast, Clinton’s campaign website has more than 30 pages of proposals for fighting climate change, including installing a half-billion solar panels by the end of her term and ensuring every U.S. home is powered by renewable energy within 10 years. As Sen. Sanders said in his Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 19th, “Clinton understands that climate change is real, is caused by human activity and is one of the great environmental crises facing our planet. She knows that we must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and move aggressively to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.” (I highly recommend reading this, “I support Hillary Clinton. So should everyone who voted for me.” Bernie says it so much better than I can. And no, I don’t think he “made a deal” or “got paid off,” I think he is just being a very pragmatic realistic person.) 

As I write this, Secy. Clinton is leading Trump in the polls, so many people who feel she is only the  “lesser of two evils” may no longer feel there’s a possibility of Trump winning. However, polls are unreliable, and we simply can’t chance that he will win. Secy. Clinton was not my first choice; there are many things about her that I am not pleased with. However, Bernie Sanders’ campaign has moved her to a much more progressive stance on many issues. My choice is clear. We cannot allow Donald Trump to become president, so I will do all that I can to ensure that she wins. And, while I am at it, I will work hard for the progressive on the down ticket, so that she has a team in Congress she can work with.