For Far Too Long We’ve Been Following - It’s Time We Take The LEAD.

By Dan Schmitt | November 10, 2016 |  

Dear Despondent Fellow Democrats,

None of us thought it could ever happen, but it did.  Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States.  We have elected a person to the most influential and powerful position on earth, and that person, in his speech, actions, and ideas is so incredibly “Anti-American.” It’s normal to think that the world is coming to an end, but it isn’t.    

So, where do we go from here?

It seems to me that, for far too long, far too many of us have talked about issues we’re passionate about at the water cooler or in the teachers’ lunchroom and that’s about it. We have treated the people we send to Washington or to Sacramento or to Madison as our “elected leaders” rather than our “elected followers.” In a democracy, the people are (or should be) the leaders. Our representatives should follow our lead, but we haven’t led. We’ve sat on our hands, complained, brainstormed possible solutions and expected the people elected to take action. They never will unless we take the lead.
There are many issues facing our country today; none more important than climate change, so let me use that issue to make my point. Most Americans believe global-warming is occurring and humans are the main contributor. A January 5, 2016 survey by “The Hill” concluded that 70-percent of Americans believe the climate is changing, and 75-percent of younger adults want action from our leaders. 
It seems like a slam-dunk, right? Well, not exactly!  

A recent report by “Moyer & Company” found that over 56-percent of congressional Republicans deny or question the science around global-warming. Oh, and by the way, 170 elected representatives in the 114th Congress have taken nearly $64 million from a fossil fuel industry that’s driving the carbon emission causing climate change. And now, we’ve elected for president a guy who thinks climate change is a hoax.
So, what the hell do we do? We do exactly what the people in the 1960s did when they got fed up with institutionalized racial injustice and discrimination. They got active; they mobilized. They LED and our elected officials FOLLOWED by passing civil rights legislation. The same thing occurred in the 1970s with the environment. People couldn’t swim in the Hudson River, the Great Lakes were becoming cesspools, rivers and lakes throughout our country were being polluted. And, people got fed up, got engaged, started to LEAD on the issue and our elected officials FOLLOWED by passing the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and founding the EPA.
Talking about climate change isn’t enough. Just putting our ideas about it on Facebook isn’t enough because the people who need to hear what we’re saying never do. Nor, do they care because they know we can’t compete with the fossil fuel industry money that buys votes on legislation that keeps the system in tact. But, we can mobilize. There’s strength in numbers. In just about every metropolitan area in our country, there’s a Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) branch. The CCL has worked diligently for the past ten years or so on the issue of climate change. Congress doesn’t listen because it doesn’t have to. I don’t know how many people belong to CCL branches, but I’d guess a few thousand countrywide. Compare that number to the NRA membership of 5 million. lf an organization like the CCL had 5 million members, guaranteed, members of Congress would listen and take action.
Let’s lick our wounds and get going. There are plenty of important issues facing our country that are crying out for leadership. Pick one and make it your passion. For far too long, we’ve been following. It’s time we take the LEAD.

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