We have plenty of reason to be hopeful but no reason to be complacent.
In the countdown to the 2022 midterm elections, coming up in just two months, Go Green Vote Blue (GGVB) wants everyone to stay motivated, hopeful, and engaged as we double down on efforts to get out the vote. Things are looking up for Democrats for many reasons, including the Inflation Reduction Act–largely a climate bill–and intense, grass-roots disgust at the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, plus Donald Trump’s continuing misadventures with the law. President Biden has called out the MAGA wing of the Republican Party for their attacks on democracy. To make the most of this energy, we must keep our eyes on the ball and continue pushing in these final two months.
Biden and the Democrats Deliver
Yes, there is much to give us reason to hope that Americans are waking up and will act to dispel the dark shadow of fear, lies, and calls to violence spread by Republicans. Consider these Biden and Democratic victories we’ve accomplished*:
- American Rescue Plan (3/11/2021). A $1.9 trillion bill to rebuild the economy after the pandemic. It helped to create 10 million new jobs and lower unemployment to 3.6%.
- Infrastructure Bill (11/15/2021). A $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill to invest in infrastructure, including bridges, roads, public transportation, clean energy, and broadband.
- Emmett Till Antilynching Act (3/29/2022). A law that designates lynching as a hate crime–which has pass after 120 years of failure, on nearly 200 separate occasions.
- Baby Formula Distribution (5/21/2022). A bipartisan bill.
- Safer Communities Act (6/25/22). This is the most significant Gun Safety Bill in 30 years, featuring extended background checks for gun purchasers under 21, funding for state red flag laws, and new crisis intervention programs.
- CHIPS and Science Act (7/29/2022). This bill invests $56 billion in American semiconductor production, incentivizing companies to move chip production back into the United States.
- PACT Act of 2022 (08/02/2022). This new law provides healthcare and other services for veterans exposed to toxic substances during military service.
- Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) (08/07/2022). This $750 billion bill represents the largest climate investment in US history and gives the US leverage to lobby many other countries to do their share. The bill also lowers prescription drug prices and extends health care subsidies for three years.
- NATO (past six months). The US led NATO in standing up against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which inspired Sweden and Finland to join NATO and contributed to a 22 million ton grain deal to enable Ukraine to export grain to developing nations.
The IRA is the most important achievement on this list for those of us concerned with the climate. Unfortunately, getting this act past Democrats who are less supportive of climate action than most required significant compromises that negatively impact climate justice efforts and do not protect front line communities and others gravely affected by climate change. In addition, IRA fossil fuel giveaways will harm tribal and rural communities in danger of a spill from Enbridge Line 5, as well as Black and Brown communities living near the Marathon Oil refinery in southwest Detroit.
We must build on the IRA with further action–and the planet and its people cannot risk any backsliding from the progress already made. That is why we need to expand the Democratic majority in Congress and the Senate, and why we need you to step up to the plate and join Democratic GOTV efforts.
What’s at Stake for The Planet
We are fighting a ticking time clock with regard to the climate. This August, we saw extreme weather that triggered floods in Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming, leaving dozens dead or missing. As we write this, more than one-third of Pakistan is under water, with 33 million people experiencing the worst humanitarian disaster this decade–a disaster that has already killed more than 1,000 people. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned us that the water cycle will continue to intensify as the planet warms.
Earlier this summer, a devastating drought fueled the McKinney Fire in California’s Siskiyou County, which burned so hot that massive pyrocumulus clouds erupted into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, both wet and dry disasters will continue to increase. “Expect more of these extremes as the planet warms,” said Kevin Reed, a climate scientist at Stony Brook University.
More at Stake
The descent of the Republican party into extremism, white nationalism, and anti-LGBTQIA legislation is exacting a tremendous human cost. Educators and librarians are losing, or resigning from, their jobs due to diversity bans and book censorship. Many more have been silenced for fear of teaching the “wrong thing.”
Bullying of children based on race, ethnicity, and gender has increased. In 2021, a 10-year-old Black girl in Utah died by suicide after being bullied repeatedly for being Black and autistic. Administrators ignored her family’s pleas. This summer, more than ten LGBTQ Pride events across the US were disrupted by right-wing protesters or delayed due to threats of violence. In a San Lorenzo, California, library, a group of men believed to be linked to the white nationalist group Patriot Front disrupted a children’s Drag Queen story hour. One man wore a shirt with an image of an AK-47 that said, “kill yr local pedophile.”
In Florida, school has become much less safe for LGBTQIA students since “Don’t Say Gay” laws were passed, and staff is not stopping bullying and harassment, fearing repercussions if they intervene. In one case, a student reported being bullied and receiving death threats and was told by the school’s dean that with his lifestyle, he should “expect to get called slurs.”
We must stop this trend and show our diverse citizenry that we will not stand for extremists to hold our nation hostage.
Join the Activists Who Have Stepped Up to the Plate
GGVB is one of more than 250 organizations working with Activate America to get Democrats out to vote. Activate targets seven crucial states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. At last count, we’ve made 205,142 calls, sent 2,460,892 texts, and written 3,476,017 postcards–and counting. We are part of an even greater national effort with thousands of like-minded activists across the US.
If you have joined us, we thank you. Please keep it up and tell your friends. If you haven’t yet, now is the time to get going.
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* With thanks to Robert Hubbell and Commit to Democracy