The U.S. House of Representatives passed comprehensive climate change legislation yesterday, which did not surprise me. What leaves me stunned and furious is that 44 Democrats voted against the bill. What in tarnation is going on? Sandra and I did not send our few dollars to help elect so-called Democrats who, once in Congress, cynically defend the interests of oil barons at the expense of the planet’s survival.
Some Democrats justified their opposition to the bill by citing provisions adversely affecting corn ethanol production, which has been shown to be of little help in reducing fossil fuel consumption but which has enriched farmers in the politicians’ constituencies. Once again, personal political gain trumped the public good.
So many Democrats in the House and Senate have lined up against reform, against progress, that the change we paid for with our nickels and dimes grows more elusive every day. Eight Republicans voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and helped the bill squeak through the House by 219 votes to 212. Maybe we should have contributed to those Republicans’ election campaigns instead.
An even tougher battle is expected in the Senate, where several Democrats are niggling over details in a thinly veiled effort to sabotage climate change legislation.
Not a day passes without a request for a donation to the Democrats. They must think that we are unaware of what’s going on. They will not get another penny from this household until we figure out what our money is buying. And I don’t think we are alone. I bet millions of Americans who made small contributions to President Obama’s campaign – and to the Democratic Party because of Obama’s agenda – will think twice before writing a check in 2010.
The Democratic Party is in for a rude awakening unless its leaders find a way to deliver the platform its supporters have a right to expect. And that means keeping such promises as affordable health care for all Americans; environmental responsibility and massive development of alternative energy; a level financial playing field; protection of our civil rights and privacy; and preservation of our wildlife and wilderness.
Politicians who oppose such policies should not be allowed to call themselves Democrats, and should have to run for election under their true colors. No party can expect continuing support from its members unless it delivers on the promises of its platform. Is it possible that the money from special interests is so overwhelming that the individual contributor no longer matters? Has America become a plutocracy instead of a democracy? We will have to wait and see what happens in next year’s elections.