A Bridge to Somewhere—Supporting the Kerry-Boxer Bill and Reclaiming Our Democracy

Since I live in the DC metro area, I attended the rally last Wednesday at which the Clean Energy, Jobs and American Power Act (CEJAPA) was unveiled. Those of you who haven’t read summaries or analysis of this legislation yet should check out both  RLMiller’s diary and Senator Kerry’s diary on the subject.  I’ll say straight out that it’s not a perfect bill, but it’s a bill I’m happy to support. Its emissions reduction targets are better than those in the House bill, it includes more funding for clean transportation, and, very importantly, it states that the EPA has the authority to regulate carbon pollution. But analysis of the bill has already been diaried, and, to quote “Alice’s Restaurant,” it’s not what I’m here to tell you about.  I’m here to talk about the first indications of a political sea-change.

At the rally, I was struck by something remarkable.  Democratic senators were speaking to *us*, their progressive base, and asking us to help provide the grassroots pressure needed to get a climate bill through the rocky terrain of the Senate.  Now, politicians from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party have asked for our support before, but this was different.  It wasn’t just one or two left-wing senators addressing us, but a coalition which included some folks who usually don’t talk to us much—and they were asking us, essentially, to do the same thing we’ve done for the public option for this climate change legislation.  Imagine how different the debate on health care would have been over the past few months if Democratic politicians had come to us in April and asked us to mount a grassroots campaign in support of clear policy goals.  They didn’t, which is a shame.  But now, on the issue of climate change, they are.

Folks, we have finally gotten their attention.  The remarkable job that slinkerwink, Jane, nyceve, and others have done to keep the public option alive has finally made it occur to more than a few Dems that we’re good in a fight—and, perhaps, that we’re bad to ignore.  Rather than attempting to placate us by throwing us a few bones, then treating us like Typhoid Mary, which has been the MO of most elected Democrats since the late 80s, these Democrats are treating us as useful allies.  There is a door opening here between Washington and the grassroots, and we need to wedge it open with a brick and march right through.

So, on behalf of The Carrots and Sticks Project, I am announcing the launch of our campaign to support the Kerry-Boxer bill.  We are calling it the Swing States to Green States Campaign, and we are beginning with a petition, which the members of Carrots and Sticks will hand-deliver to senators, calling on them to support CEJAPA.  Please click through and sign this petition, and spread the word to your friends to do the same.

http://sumofchange.com/greenstate

We need to do this for the sake of CEJAPA’s goal:  to reduce carbon emissions and birth the new green economy.  But we also need to do this for the sake of another goal, one that brings to fruition the vision of our guiding light Howard Dean:  to take back our party and our country.

Our power is growing, the need is great, and we must act now.

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