Of the Two Ways to Vote, One Will Keep Our Planet Livable

Posted by By at 2 November, at 14 : 39 PM Print

Disclaimer: “This is an opinion piece, as most of my writing in this space is. It also is slightly partisan, in that I would like to see elected lawmakers who will spare some of our planet for all our grandkids. If you don’t agree with me, I likely will believe your thought processes a mite off kilter, but I promise to not hate anyone or attach vile names. One thing I believe is that freedom of thought, religion, and speech means everyone is free to be wrong about all three.

In high school, my son got in a little hot water with a social studies teacher who had said the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s was about oil. I’m guessing Mitt Romney went to the same class and decided it wasn’t about oil because, he said, Iran is supporting Syria to gain access to the sea.

It makes sense for Iran to want to whup Iraq, since the latter nation stands smack dab in the way between Iran and Syria, the latter of which is on the Mediterranean Sea. On the other hand, it would seem cheaper for Iran to simply build a seaport or two on the Persian Gulf (named for Iran when it was called Persia), and the Gulf of Oman – both of which provide Iran with large expanses of ocean front property.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who did an excellent job as keynote speaker during the Republican convention of endorsing himself for the 2016 competition, said the other night Obama was doing a fine job, sitting by the phone in case His Rotundity called with a need for assistance. Christie made clear privatizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency was not something he supported – at least not while some rampaging young lady was turning his state into Pennsylvania beachfront. (He also made clear he can work with Democrats – a statement I wager we can count on hearing in 2016.)

While Romney has said it would not be his job to slow the oceans’ rise or heal the planet, Obama seems to understand what even the Saudis understand – humans’ mix of energy is going to have to include more than coal and oil if we are to have anything resembling the quality of life to which we have become accustomed.

I mention the Saudis because they are using money they earn from selling oil to create cities that run on sources other than oil. Odd, isn’t it. It would appear that Obama’s idea of supporting alternative energy sources as part of the nation’s mix may not be universally thought of as bad.

Romney has said fossil fuel production has not been on “government land.” I beg to differ, and I have photographs to prove my case. Pennsylvania has shale gas drill rigs in state forests and on federal land, and Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Marcellus, recently signed a law opening all state lands to natural gas development. On the latter point, we have some state representatives and senators seeking election next week who supported the law, and who clearly have a different idea about saving the environment for our grandkids than many hunters, fisher-folk, and hikers I know or have met while wandering among the drill rigs.

A strange trait of people is they generally show up when they’re riled about losing something. The school board hires a new coach, nobody notices. The school board fires the coach,  and the meeting room is packed. A township works for years on a zoning plan and only a few people pay attention. The township gets ready to accept the plan, and the meeting room overflows with people who don’t like where a trailer park may be placed.

Rivers are running shallower and warmer, fisheries are depleting and scientists generally agree Hurricane Sandy was the first of many similar storms we are likely to experience if we keep allowing easy fossil fuel profits to govern our energy production and use. I would like to see us become a little riled about that.

The presidential race is close. Whoever wins, the determination will be made by voters who actually show up. A would-be politician in a place I once lived lost the election by, coincidentally, the number of voters who stayed home to organize his victory party.

President George W. Bush won his election by 537 votes. In a town, that’s a lot. In a state, that’s a couple people sitting in coffee shops telling each other they hoped Al Gore would win.

Those of us who think the environment needs a little more support, and education is key to solving problems of generations recently and soon to be born, might give some serious thought next Tuesday to voting for state and federal lawmakers who will look out for this whirling globe of mud and rock we call home. Not the ones with well-heeled sponsors trying to buy our votes, but the men and women following the course we scientifically and instinctively know to be true.

I can promise that those currently in power will be voting to make sure they stay that way.

Photo by Brian Birke

This post was written by:
- who has written 169 posts for Rock The Capital
John Messeder is an award winning journalist with more than 35 years experience writing about education, environment and local government issues. He has lived in Maine, Florida, California and Alaska, and, by temporary turns, numerous places in between. John also is an accomplished photographer, and avid hiker, conservationist, oral history buff, and author of several books he has not yet got 'round to writing. He lives in Adams County, Pa., just over a hill from Gettysburg, with his wife and Golden Retriever. He may be contacted at john@JohnMesseder.com - Email jmesseder

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