THE RIGHT TO LIFE (on planet Earth)

I am a single issue voter.

Why aren’t you?

Seriously. The GOP rose to power, from Reagan to Trump, on the electoral strength of a single issue: the right to life. It’s that big of an issue for some folks. So big, in the view of millions of single issue voters, that evangelicals can view a fallen human being like Trump as ‘the chosen one.’ He is a means to their end, and because of their unwavering support he has now reshaped the courts in a way that will radically affect all of us for generations to come.

For these single issue voters, there is nothing more sacred than a fetus in the womb. While Democrats and Independents alike roundly condemn anti-abortion advocates for interfering with women’s reproductive rights, it would be wrong to doubt their sincerity, or question the strength of their convictions. They are single issue voters for a reason.

And even though this moral minority represents at most a third of the electorate, the GOP has risen to power on the backs of those reliable voters, putting them in a position to impose their moral views on all of us. Instead of endlessly bemoaning (and fund-raising off of) that success, The Democratic and emerging Democratic-Socialist Parties would be wise to steal from their playbook.

But what single issue could possibly overwhelm the solidarity of this moral minority? Identity politics has proven to be a weak brew. Health care fueled the Blue Wave election of 2018, but in 2020 has become a point of division between establishment Democrats and Democratic Socialists. The problem with health care as a unifying issue is that there are too many ways to spin it, thanks to Obama care’s initial capitulation to the insurance industry.

Gosh, what single issue could unify these two wings of the majority power, and attract Independents as well? Oh, I don’t know… how about….

… survival of life on planet earth?

That is certainly the primary concern of today’s youth, represented quite forcefully by the Sunrise Movement.

What about the rest of us?

I’m one of those boomers who never sold my soul for rock and roll — or a new car and a big house, for that matter. And I’m not afraid to admit that it is my generation that is the reason life on planet earth is presently imperiled. We came along as the biggest generation ever, born of the “Greatest Generation” after WWII, and have wielded incredible power and influence through our lifestyle choices.

The Baby Boom generation should, by all rights and for every good reason, be single issue voters by now. The fact that we are not mystifies me. We’ve had ringside seats in the ongoing spectacle of watching the world unravel, at first slowly and now seemingly all at once, and for our entire lives it has been our choices that’s driven the engine of economic growth, from fast food to plastic bottles and driving everywhere.

I have the ignominious claim to fame of having been born at the height of the boom (1957), in the same city and the same year as the first McDonalds. That, alone, says all you need to know about the exponential growth my generation has witnessed. In my lifetime, while the population of humans has more than doubled, wildlife populations have declined by over 70%. I can remember when “The Undersea World of Jacque Cousteau” was a weekly special event on PBS. Large fish in the ocean have plummeted by 90% since then. I can even remember when fish, turtles and salamander were not all that uncommon — and I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago!

Don’t get me started on songbirds and insects!

Boomers have also enjoyed unprecedented levels of leisure time in our lives, with ready access to all the wonders of the natural world. We watched men land on the moon, and send back wondrous photos of our home planet, with its apple-skin thin atmospheric membrane. There is simply no excuse for any of us not to fully grok (a Boomer term) the intricate complexities of nature, or the tender fragility of our shared biosphere.

And yet, alas — we Boomers have been on the take all of our lives. Even though we bear the brunt of responsibility for the End of Nature, as Bill McKibben labeled it way back in 1988, as a group we remain too selfish or too stupid to take responsibility for our actions.

Even though the fate of the planet literally now hangs in the balance!

We are all of us living in a time right now of planetary emergency — most of Europe is woke to that fact. But here in the blackened heart of the American Dream, even those who supposedly woke last year to the gravity of the crisis, catalyzed by David Wallace-Wells uber-alarming article Uninhabitable Earth, appear to have gone back to sleep.

This has become quite apparent to me recently in the grievous calculus of Elizabeth Warren’s supporters, and Warren’s own response for that matter, to her reluctant departure from the race. Many of these voters somehow are able to pretend that we are still left with an actual choice between supporting either Fracking Joe & Hillary, or switching over to ‘keep-it-in-the-ground’ Bernie & AOC.

We cannot afford to make any mistake about this: Trump vs. Biden is a choice between quick decapitation and slow strangulation. Only Bernie “has a plan” for averting ecotastrophe: ending the endless wars with aggressive diplomacy, and leading the global response to the climate crisis in a way Obama only promised to in order to get elected. To me, making the connection between war and climate recovery is key. Bernie is the first major politician her to get that, placing peace-making at the heart of his climate plan.

If we do not respond to this existential emergency in this decade with the urgency that climate scientists have said is absolutely necessary, then we will not see the kind of transformative emergence that is required to avoid the complete collapse of modern civilization. Even if Biden could beat Trump, he is representative of the status quo we had before Trump, when Saint Obama himself bragged about making the U.S. the #1 producer of fossil fuels on the planet, and Hillary proceeded to establish a division in the State Department for promoting and exporting fracking.

Elizabeth Warren has to know that the GND will only happen if Bernie is elected, as do her followers — even if the rest of the Democratic establishment remains in the deep denial of the American Dream/slash/Nightmare. But it is apparently not important enough to overcome her/their aggrieved sense of misogynistic electoral injustice.

Please reconsider! For “HER” sake!

Listen, don’t get me wrong — I myself believe it is past time for a woman president. While Hillary was a non-starter for me, due to the warmongering and fracking thing, I supported Liz right up until the release of Bernie’s climate plan. Because like I said, I’m a single issue voter, and that issue is not the Equal Rights Amendment. Staving off mass extinction and the collapse of civilization, which will come with a human death toll in the billions (not just hundreds of millions), seems a little more important to me right now than gender roles in the White House.

Do I really need to say any more? Really??

Okay, how about a picture instead of a thousand more words:

Greta Thunberg, poster child of Climate Trauma




Communications Director for Buffalo Field Campaign, ecopsychologist/author, M.A., J.D.

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Tom Woodbury

Tom Woodbury

Communications Director for Buffalo Field Campaign, ecopsychologist/author, M.A., J.D.

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