This Friday, Call Congress to Demand Action on Climate

Now that Donald Trump’s voters have pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, what’s next for those who don’t want to see their kids drown?

Climate hawks cannot give up now; surrender will ensure victory for the plutocrats and polluters. More than ever, those who want a sustainable future for their children have to step up, have to push back, have to fight on. Trump and his acolytes will not be allowed to consign our children to the harshest of fates.

Last week was dark, but every day is an opportunity to fight back. Every day is an opportunity to defend the interests of future generations. Every day is an opportunity to tell the deniers, the disinformers and the distractors what time it is.

Frederick Douglass famously observed that power concedes nothing without a demand. So this Friday, June 9, pick up the phone and call your Congressman to demand that he or she prioritize action on climate.

The House Republicans who have distanced themselves from the Trump/Limbaugh/Inhofe line on climate would not have done so without intense pressure from climate-concerned constituents. The fossil-fuel industry has power and money, but it doesn’t have votes; the people still do. When the people demand action, elected officials have two choices: lead or lose. (Of course, Trump had a third option, the Electoral College, but let’s leave that aside for now.)

What happens when members of Congress are forced to choose between the Koch Brothers and all the others? Gerrymandering can’t protect every member of the House. Those who deny that our planet is heating up can only get away with doing so if they feel no heat from their constituents.

Away from Capitol Hill, veteran Republicans have called for action to curb carbon pollution:

Earlier this year, James A. Baker III, one of the Republican Party’s more eminent senior figures, met with senior White House officials to urge them to consider incorporating a carbon tax as part of a broader tax overhaul package — a way to both pay for proposed cuts to corporate tax rates and help save the planet. A Reagan White House senior economist, Art Laffer; a former secretary of state, George P. Shultz; and Henry M. Paulson Jr., George W. Bush’s final Treasury secretary, have also pushed the idea.

Unlike Trump, these folks understand that the reputation and credibility of the GOP will be the first thing that goes underwater as the sea levels rise, so long as denial is allowed to dominate.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth. This weekend will mark the 54th anniversary of Kennedy’s commencement address at American University, where he famously declared:

For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.

Almost a decade ago, Greenpeace ran an ad suggesting that if Kennedy were alive today, he’d be calling for action on climate change. Maybe he’d be calling his member of Congress too.

No matter what Trump says, no matter what Scott Pruitt and Steve Bannon think, the power remains in your hands. This Friday, use it–and call on Congress to demand action on climate.

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.