Takin’ It to the Streets

They haven’t gotten the message yet, have they?

Last September, when 400,000 of us sent a loud message from New York City to the world about the need to confront human-caused climate change, maybe they were wearing extra-strength earplugs. Maybe they were too busy with the dogs, or the kids, or the mistresses. Maybe they just weren’t paying attention.

We told them we wanted a fossil-free future. We told them they were not elected to embrace ExxonMobil, support Shell, bolster BP and cherish Chevron. We told them we were tired of seeing the dead and injured. We told them we didn’t want another pathetic pipeline, another town fouled by fracking, another ocean ruined by spill, baby, spill following drill, baby, drill.

But the bastards didn’t listen.

They pretended we were mute. They pretended we didn’t exist.

They made the Keystone XL pipeline their first order of business. They continued to ignore the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change will murder millions if carbon emissions are not dramatically reduced. They didn’t care about the fact that 2014 is the hottest year on record, and that our planet is at the broiling point.

They’re too damn hard-headed, too damn stubborn, too damn corrupt. And they will damn this planet, and the people on it, if they are not confronted directly.

Clearly, we’re going to have to send them a past due notice on the invoice we have mailed. After all, the time is past due for them to change.

Clearly, we’re going to need a bigger microphone, a larger platform, a louder voice. Clearly, we’re going to have to do this again.

That’s OK. We’ll do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes. We’re not backing down. We will never back down. Backing down would constitute a heinous betrayal of our children and grandchildren–and there’s no way in hell we’ll ever betray them.

We’re not afraid of anything–not the dollars, not the demonization. We will fight you and fight you and fight you until you are exhausted, until you submit, until you throw in the towel.

You didn’t get the message last year. Maybe you’ll get the message next year.

The fight for climate justice is a fight for the civil rights of all mankind, so it’s only fitting that a second People’s Climate March–bolder, brasher, even more determined, even more direct–take place in the same location as the most famous civil rights rally in U.S. history: the March for Jobs and Freedom in Washington, D.C. In order to have the most impact on the political system that refuses to take the climate crisis seriously, I propose that a second March take place on Sunday afternoon, August 28, 2016–the 53rd anniversary of the original March on Washington.

I want to see every major voice in the climate movement there–Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Michael Brune, James Hansen. I want to hear the testimonials of every climate scientist subjected to intimidation, reprisals and harassment from that dark, thuggish mob I call La Kocha Nostra. I want to hear the voices of the children who will bear witness to hell if we don’t preserve this piece of heaven. I want to hear the words of the citizens of this warming world, the ones on the front lines of fossil-fueled ferocity, the ones who have been whipped by the waves and savaged by the storms.

I want these men, women and children to get in the House…to get in the Senate…to get in the faces of those who refuse to stand up to the depraved demons of the fossil-fuel industry. I want them to deliver a scream that will shatter the ears of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. I want them to send a message that the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees cannot possibly ignore. I want them to light an unforgettable fire on Capitol Hill. I want them to deliver the following message to every Representative and Senator–a message they will never, ever forget.

That message is simple: Get your faces away from the cameras. Get your feet away from your desks. Get your lips away from David Koch’s ass. And start doing justice by the people, for once in your lives.

I’m sick and tired of the lies that have divided since Citizens United. I’m sick and tired of seeing blue rivers turn black. I’m sick and tired of seeing fear trumping courage.

As the old saying goes, where money lies, honor dies. Honor died a long time ago on Capitol Hill. The only way it will be resurrected is if they send a message again–louder, clearer, stronger. When they say, “It can’t be done,” we’ll say, “It will be done!” When they say, “Climate change is not a fact,” we’ll say, “Yes it is–pass a carbon tax!” When they say, “We think ‘all of the above’ is necessary,” we’ll say, “We’ll stop you by any means necessary!”

We have a new dream–a dream in which dirty energy is kept in the ground where it belongs. A dream in which arrogant billionaires can’t bully our politicians. A dream in which our children and grandchildren can realize their dreams.

The only way to make this dream real is to send another message–this time, a message so close they can’t turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, and a cold heart to it. Let’s do this. Let’s have a People’s Climate March II on August 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Let’s show them, once again, what we’re made of.

The people, united, are more powerful than every last cent in David Koch’s bank account. The people, united, will have their grievances redressed. The people, united, cannot possibly be defeated.

Let’s do this one more time. The original People’s Climate March was a classic, like The Godfather. Let’s follow up with an even better sequel, like The Godfather, Part II. It’s the only way we can avoid an apocalypse now.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.