To Drive Positive Change, Tree Huggers Have To Hybridize With Tea Partiers & Break Political Taboos


Taboo Hybrid Tea Rose Image credit:Flickr, Nieve44/La Luz

Tea Party leaders introduced their movement with claims they could best augur the meaning of what were mainly political vanity publications on Al Gore's Internets. A broader grass-roots movement that recognizes the value of science and is willing break today's political taboos could do a lot more for American jobs and the environment. I'm not talking about a simple fusion of Greens and Tea Party types because their combined numbers would only represent a small slice of all likely American voters. I'm talking about a hybrid political movement that blossoms by breaking serious taboos, appealing to far right and far left and independents and to those alienated from politics in general because of what current Presidential candidates are not saying.History with a twist. Liberals of the early 1970's wanted out of Vietnam at the same time they were 'into' the environment and civil rights. Similarly, what prospective members of a Taboo Breakers Party (for lack of a better term to describe the hybrid) will share is a steadfast desire to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and their open disdain for the lobbyists which currently own the US government and push the 'kill EPA' talking points.

What will most distinguish Taboo Breakers from 60's style liberals, however, will be their shared willingness to speak up about the Free Trade agreements that helped send so many American jobs to Asia and Mexico. A coalition that is unafraid to break the war taboo and the free trade taboo at once is what it will take to challenge the current White House - and the next one and the one after that - over the business-as-usual strategy of fighting them over there and manufacturing over there while pretending that climate change is some scam made up by greedy scientists.

The other hockey stick curve.
The following paragraph is for Libertarians and for those who have taken an Econ 101 course but can't see the obvious.

Erosion of the US manufacturing base over the last 30 years closely tracked the rise of Free Trade agreements and international banking. The freer world trade got, the faster the money flowed, the more jobs we Americans lost. Can you name any other factors more responsible for American job loss, remembering, of course, that the effective corporate tax rate has been going down, not increasing, of late? Can't think of any? That's what I thought.

Killing EPA. lynch mob style, will not bring back American jobs and won't create new ones. What's gone is gone. With the international banking system being computerized, it is very easy for capital to move instantly in search of the lowest wage country, where there is also cheap power and raw materials. Profits taken there stay overseas, and are reinvested in the next developing world market boom: not in the USA.

It is international finance and the WTO which together moved more jobs away than anything EPA has done or plans on doing.

For further explanation see: If Congress Guts Even More Environmental Rules, How Many Jobs Will Be Gained?
Hybrid rose by any other name.
Notice how in the two Republican presidential primary debates, not one candidate brought up the wars or free trade and how climate change was brushed aside? (That means there could be a long way to go, and a lot more ascendant anger surfacing. before these taboos are ready for a public breaking.)

Call the hybrid any name you want. Once the war and free trade talk taboos are broken, voters will vigorously start voting in their own interests again. The jobs pendulum will slowly start to swing back to where it was in, say, 1978 or thereabout.

Footnote.
I'm not in favor of ending free trade agreements and dropping out of WTO. But, I would like to see free trade become a part of the presidential debates and hopefully see existing free trade agreements be changed into fair trade agreements and signatories held accountable for fair trade principles. That would be a big step.

Best of TreeHugger 2014

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK