PUTNEY — Recently, Bill McKibben spoke at the West Village Meeting House. He was, as always, both inspirational and down to earth with his analysis of the climate crisis.
It is clear as daylight (when we are not looking through wildfire haze from the west) that the masters of capitalism have made a decision to destroy the Earth's climate rather than make the financial sacrifices it would take to make our energy system sustainable.
Rather than choosing to stay in his small circle of his rural, mostly white, community, Bill ventures around the country and the world, using his reputation and his knowledge to help share the sort of activism he feels might actually help move our world onto a better path.
My new year's resolution - a first, actually - was to work on youth climate organizing. I spoke with different class groups from ages 11 to 18, and I can tell you that kids are scared, they are wanting some hope to hold onto, and they are looking for a way to be involved and feel engaged.
When I was their age, I took whatever limited actions I was able to, to work and speak against the killing war in Vietnam. Maybe we didn't end the war, but our anti-war activities ended the draft, and I believe we put off the U.S.'s entering in new imperialist wars for some years. And with all activism, you never really know your long-term effects.
The Handmaid's Tale Supreme Court is preparing to create massive impediments to the rights of women, LGBTQ+ citizens, and citizens of color. While the Democratic party has shown their total inability to fight the completely corrupt and dirty politics of not only the Republicans but their own centrists, I am not willing to say I will not stand up for those whose rights are being abolished, after these rights were enshrined in law over the past 50 years.
Gay rights, voting rights for non-white citizens, women's rights, rights of the poor - these were gained only through political struggle. It is easy for the wealthy and powerful to abolish rights, and they are working to muzzle those of us who refuse to accept this march toward fascism - but once a fully fascist regime is in power, our voices will be even more muted than they are now.
I love my community, and I feel I have been engaged for many years in our local issues. However, the idea that we, as white people who are property owners, are unwilling to fight for the rights of those most oppressed and most endangered by the current wave of far right legislation, violence, and verbiage is unacceptable.
In recent weeks, there have been multiple horrible mass shootings of the most vulnerable Americans: children and people of color. The fact that we have a country that appears to be run by the gun industry, and the fact that the vast majority of Americans do not want weapons of war in our classrooms or on our streets - these issues can have a chance of being resolved only by millions of Americans getting out in the streets, speaking out against the corruption of the Congress, and electing officials with the morals and backbone to make this country even marginally safer.
Tim Stevenson, in his letter addressing my outrage at the Democratic Party's weakness and ineffectiveness, has written off the idea of political activism in a larger scale than in one's own community. I am sorry, but these are huge issues - they are existential issues, and while it is important and feels good to get out and work on our community gardens, to bring food to the needy in our towns, and to support our local libraries, some of us feel the need to speak up and support those at greatest risk.
And as I see Republicans threatening my future - both as a secular Jew and as a woman - I am just not willing to concede the political process to the racist, homophobic, Christian-centered movement trying to take over our political system.