I was very sorry to see Bernie Sanders terminate his presidential campaign. It is true that the opposition was already pouring fortunes into combating him and his ideas, and the arrival of COVID-19 was preventing a continuation of the very well attended campaign rallies he inspired. Nonetheless, Senator Sanders was better able to bring attention to his policies and proposals while he was in the national spotlight as a candidate for President. Because the focus has passed to other candidates and to the crises that demand more of our attention, I am writing this letter in hope of restoring public awareness to the Green New Deal. Several of Senator Sanders’s most important campaign issues remain of vital importance to our country and need to be rescued both from the continuing chaos of the pandemic response and from electoral politics. We must supported these policies, which address our deepest needs and those of our ecosystems and our planetary home!
The Green New Deal originated in the Green Party, where it differs from Senator Sanders’s version in that it is more detailed. But at this point, either New Deal offers immense opportunities for improvements of incomparable importance to our lives. An emergency Green New Deal will turn the tide on climate change by investing in renewable energy sources, will thereby make wars for oil obsolete, will invest in public transportation, sustainable renewable agriculture and restoration of our ecosystems. Twenty million jobs will be created in the renewable and the infrastructure areas by this national transition. A Green New Deal will retrain workers, pay and benefits will be generous, and there will be a guarantee that no worker is unable to shift to employment in the transitional and renewed infrastructure and ecosystem. Fracking, tar sands, natural gas and uranium mining will give way to a democratic, worker-owned national electric grid powered by renewable sources. The money devoted to research into finding oil and gas reserves will be invested in restoration of our ecosystems. The important of recycling our waste sustainably will return to our society’s attention and unconditioned by funding discussions; its importance will be greater than many of the objectives of the failing economy we are replacing.
Medicare for All or Single Payer Health Insurance – we will join the family of developed nations where universal publicly funded health care is the standard in place. No person because of age, income, gender, race, or religion will be left out. Such systems cost far less than what Americans are asked to pay for health insurance for profit administered care, and if unable to pay, are often allowed to die. We have to ask ourselves how we allowed such a monstrous system to take control of our precious health, which is and must be seen as a civil right.
In order to have an educated populace and young people prepared to be productive citizens with the knowledge and skills to fill the new planet-saving work force, we must make education free to them. The vast amount of money being funneled into more and more military infrastructure, drone and other warfare, and international military base support will serve us better if it is used to restore and improve our agricultural productivity, our transportation and communication infrastructure, and contributions to building a livable world. We can have a sensible national defense policy for a fraction of the excessive wealth funneled into the Pentagon, some of which must be channeled into keeping the public scared of any other nation cast in the role of enemy.
This is a time of great danger but even more a time of great opportunity! We are a polarized society today! If we can overcome the deleterious effects of more than a century of advertising and public relations harnessed to the goals of corporate capitalists and political opportunists, we will find our way back to rejoining each other to work for common goals that transcend party politics, caste and class divisions, race and income and the sort of mutual mistrust that such divisions foster. This is our time if we reach out for it and make a new society out of the ashes of what is falling down around us. Neo-liberalism has shown its hollowness after forty years and more, and only neo-liberals would reject the principles on which we can erect our new society. To accomplish these goals will take the sort of effort that the country invested in preparing for World War II, but they are within our power. They are objectives we can work for and achieve, and a Green New Deal is a tremendous starting point.
Co-chair, Green Party of Taos County, New Mexico