Playing Politics With The Environment
Following politics can be frustrating, to say the least. Whoever said that ignorance is bliss may have hit the nail on the head when it comes to ordinary citizens and their choice whether to take an interest in elections and the decisions that our elected leaders make in regards to policy. This is especially true when there is a leader who gains your respect because he/she bucks their party (either Democrat or Republican) and makes a decision based on both the information presented and on that elected officials set of values. It seems to be me, that more often than not, the environment is an area where politicians who have taken a stand based on principle and scientific evidence, are quick to flip flop when the political tide turns.
There are example of this behavior on both sides of the isle (Including a gas tax holiday proposed by many democrats and the chants of drill baby drill by republicans before the 2008 elections). Most recently Representative Fred Upton, decided to make a 180 degree turn on his previous positions on the environment after facing a tough primary (see LA Times article here: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-upton-profile-20110611,0,2898672.story) This is a man who consistently took a stand, often against his party’s wishes, stating on his website that climate change is a real problem that must be addressed, sponsoring several bills to address various environmental issues, and in general being and advocate for good stewardship towards the earth. However, finally at a crucial moment, when he was given the reigns of House Energy and Commerce Committee, a position where he could truly become a facilitator for bi-partisan solutions to environmental problems facing our country (and world), he decides to abandon everything he stood for in order to pander in an effort to keep his job.
One of my favorite lines from any movie was in the American President when Michal Douglas, playing the Commander in Chief, states “I was too busy trying to keep my job I forgot to do my job. Well that ends now.” I only wish more of our elected officials would take this stand. Enough of the games. Enough of the politics. Enough of trying to keep your job by sacrificing positions you know should be taken (and have taken over and over in the past). It is one thing to disagree with the opposition or to be true disbeliever in something (even if irrational), but it is another to consistently take a position over many years, and then suddenly take a U Turn in order to keep your job and earn votes.
Dear Mr. Upton, and all the other politicians playing games with the environment: That Should End Now!