Dr Steven Leibo is the Sherman David Spector Professor at the Sage Colleges
April 3, 2014
“Calling Paul Revere”
So where is Paul Revere when we really need him! Yes, Once again, the Supreme Court, with yesterday’s disastrous ruling has pried open ever wider the flood gates of wealth in to our precariously one person one vote democratic system, forcing politicians to court the wealthy even more than they already do. Clearly a reckless decision that continued the Court’s recent efforts, as with their absurd Citizen’s United ruling, to hand our government over to the nation’s increasingly ever more elitist 1%, a decision just as dangerous to the American system as those British red coats Paul Revere was trying to warn us about.
No, once again the Supreme court, or should we just recognize reality and rename it the Court of the Elite has turned itself into the tool of the propertied classes, elevating the rights of ownership above those of citizenship.
Oh sure, America has always been a hybrid society, as much plutocracy as democracy, a society where everyone got one electoral vote And as many monetary votes as they could afford. But now it is not our democracy that is failing but sadly even the hybrid nature of the system for the clarity of a government of the moneyed that will be far more likely to protect its interests rather than those of the American people.
But that is not even the real reason we need Paul Revere just now. No this time, in the 21st century, the Court’s Decision goes far beyond our shores. Because this was the same week that the newest report from the intergovernmental panel on climate change was issued. And the conclusions of the world’s entire scientific community could not be more definitive.
And I quote
“The Warming of the planet, atmosphere and oceans is unequivocal
“Observed changes are unprecedented over thousands of years”
“less Snow and ice, rising waters caused by an increase in burning fossil fuels”
Ironically, those very fossil fuels that are undermining the climate stability that allowed civilization itself to emerge after the last ice age. Indeed the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are dramatically melting even as the oceans are rising.
While Greenhouse gases are higher than they have been in the last 800,000 years transforming hydrological cycles around the planet dumping more water in some places and less in others all creating the kinds of droughts that are devastating this commentator’s home state of California. Or the sort of rain drenched massive mountain mud slide that almost killed his niece last week in Washington State, not forgetting the recent drought fed horrific fires that took most of the Texas town of Bastrop away, including this commentator’s cousins’ former home.
No, this is not some distant weird climate stuff thing that is threatening the lives of people in places few of us know from Bangladesh to Darfur.
And what is America doing about all this? Yes, the America the country that has cumulatively put up most of those greenest house gases currently in the atmosphere. Well, depressingly America, unlike so many of the world’s nations has lagged behind in confronting the problem stymied by politicians too greedy for fossil fuel money or so ideologically intoxicated they refuse to see the reality of the climate crisis.
And now, our supreme court, the Court of the Elite, the institution supposed protect the rights of the American people in its great wisdom has decided to side with the plutocrats so many of whom like the Koch brothers fill their coffers with fossil fuel money doing everything they can to protect their own bank accounts instead of the planet and the people who nature them.
I say again… just where is Paul Revere when we really need him. Well in this case, he is dead. Leaving the rest of us, the less moneyed folks, people who care as much about our children’s future as our present bank accounts needing to open up our own checkbooks, hoping the small donations of the larger numbers of regular folk will allow us to fight not only for the democracy we cherish but the physical environment that historically nurtured it.