Could A ‘Green New Deal’ Work, Even For Texas??

If you ask most citizens their opinion on the state of American politics today, they’ll give your a variety of answers, based on their political leanings.  But one thing that may be in common with all of those answers?  They are not satisfied with how politics has devolved today.  From the Fringe-Right to the Far-Left, Americans are hungry for solutions.

Over the past couple of years, Republicans have had their chance to provide those solutions. With total control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency, the GOP and Trump Administration had two years to truly make a substantial difference and solve some of the most pressing issues American families are facing. Instead, they put profits over people, passed major tax giveaways and further lined the pockets of those that are already rich.

From November’s election results, Americans are clearly not satisfied with the “answers” Trump and Republicans have provided. But many are beginning to listen to voices like New York Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose bold proposition for a Green New Deal is coming more into focus.  Here’s more on that from Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic

On Monday, speaking at a town hall led by Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez framed her chosen climate policy—the Green New Deal—through the lens of gallant American exceptionalism. “This is going to be the New Deal, the Great Society, the moon shot, the civil-rights movement of our generation,” she said.

The Green New Deal aspires to cut U.S. carbon emissions fast enough to reach the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious climate goal: preventing the world from warming no more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. In a blockbuster report released in October, an international group of scientists said that meeting this goal could skirt the worst climate effects, such as massive floods, expansive droughts, and irreversible sea-level rise.

To actually make the target, though, the world must start reducing its carbon pollution immediately, and cut it in half by 2030. And we’re nowhere close. Global emissions levels just hit a record high, and even the Barack Obama administration’s most breakneck climate policy did not put the United States close to making its part of the goal.

The Green New Deal aims to get us there—and remake the country in the process. It promises to give every American a job in that new economy: installing solar panels, retrofitting coastal  infrastructure, manufacturing electric vehicles. In the 1960s, the U.S. pointed the full power of its military-technological industry at going to the moon. Ocasio-Cortez wants to do the same thing, except to save the planet.

The bold, Progressive plan for a Green New Deal is fundamentally simple… to pivot the current priorities of the US government from the rich oligarchy and back to the people.  By investing in guaranteed jobs, the United States could invest in its people and not only help save our planet, but fully remake our economy in the process.

To Republicans, this sounds like total lunacy.  Policies like Medicare for All and Free College Tuition, they say, would completely bankrupt the country.  But in 2018, when our nation already spends over $700 Billion on Defense like it’s a drop in the bucket, how tough would a shift in priorities really be?

So now to the true question… how possible would a “Green New Deal” be for states like Texas??

If you’re from Texas, it’s possible that you’re already halfway there.  The clean energy jobs of the future are thriving in the Lone Star State, as both Houston and Dallas- Fort Worth rank in the Top 10 metros for clean energy jobs in the United States, per a recent report by the Environmental Entrepreneurs group (E2).  The leaders of tomorrows Green revolution are already working in Texas today.

The other reason A Green New Deal could work for the state of Texas is pretty simple… need.  As a massive state where inequality has never been more stark between rural and urban areas, Texas is a state in search of solutions to grow and sustain our rural communities.  As discussed at the recent Symposium on Rural Texas by the Texas Tribune, technological and educational opportunities outside of the major metropolitan areas are struggling to keep up.  Knowing that the success of a Green New Deal would require harnessing the power of both rural and urban  communities, there’s reason to believe that Texas would be a great place to start.  As an energy powerhouse, Texas could lead the way to a prosperous, Green future while simultaneously building up rural communities.

Of course we know the reasons why Texas may be resistant to a Green New Deal, and they’re mostly political.  But now that Democrats have begun to find their footing in the Lone Star State, it’s quite possible that the Republican stifling of these ideas could soon be over.

Walking Back From Tribalism

The death of an American President is indeed a most curious time for the country. Of course the Presidency is the highest office in the land, and the only elected official that we all share, so it’s sensible that we would remember them, and reflect on their legacy in defining an era for our nation.

But each time this happens, it’s also immediately, maybe subconsciously compared to the present moment as well. Suddenly, we judge that era by the rules which are in place today, forgetting all the steps tile had to take in between to get us to the present. It’s a most peculiar form of time travel.

As Frank Bruni of the New York Times writes, this is absolutely the case at this moment, our National Day Of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush…

On Twitter over the weekend, the television writer Bryan Behar did something unconscionable.

He praised George H.W. Bush.

The former president had just died. In Behar’s view, it was a moment to recognize any merit in the man and his legacy.

Many of his followers disagreed. They depended on Behar for righteous liberal passion, which left no room for such Bush-flattering adjectives and phrases as “good,” “decent” and “a life of dignity.” How dare Behar lavish them on a man who leaned on the despicable Willie Horton ad, who nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, who did too little in the face of AIDS, whose privilege often blinded him to need.

They lashed out at Behar. They unfollowed him. And they demonstrated the transcendent curse of these tribal times: Americans’ diminishing ability to hold two thoughts at once.

Bush has indelible stains on his record. He also has points of light. At times he failed the responsibilities of leadership. At times he did right by them. He showed folly and he showed wisdom, cowardice and courage, aloofness and kindness.

Accentuating the positive, especially in the hours after his death, didn’t eliminate the negative.

Tribalism is a vortex that really leaves us so little room to be the complex, multi-dimensional people that we are. Whether it be arguments over President Bush 41’s record, or figuring out our current struggles in governing, we have to find our way back to creating space for common-sense solutions and compromise. Wounds from these political bunkers have grown so deep, it’s sometimes difficult for us to even speak to each other. 

Like being in a choir full of strong-willed individual voices, if none of them are listening to each other, the choir is not going to be very good.

And therein lies the first set of directions for how to get back to a healthier nation. We have to listen to each other, and maybe even remember that occasionally, good ideas can come from people that aren’t on our side.  All the time that Conservatives spend demonizing Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, that is time they lose learning about the Billions Of Dollars in new investment opportunities such a new deal could bring.

In this moment of reflection, let us hope that we can chart a path back to the listening, common sense solutions and compromise which have sustained America through the centuries, and healed us at our most fractious times.  We all know that a better, greater version of ourselves exists, and it’s time that we meet them again.

Point of Light: The Passing Of Bush 41

President George H. W. Bush’s record of achievement is unparalleled… from bravery in battle to political bravery during the height of constitutional crisis, from navigation of complex foreign relations to unprecedented champion of the disabled.

But above all, his example as a good man, devoted husband and loving patriarch continues to inspire us all.  Just as President Bush spoke of 1000 Points of Light in his inauguration speech, his incredible legacy will continue to shine bright in the hearts of Americans, and citizens of our great global community.

My sincere prayers to the entire Bush Family.