November 2012 is over a year away, but the media is already focusing attention on the roar of a minor political wing, the Tea Party, on its Republican party, via the horn of Michele Bachmann. It's a page that liberal progressives are ready to rip out of the marketing book for themselves. And progressive community leader Van Jones has started, by announcing a Rebuild the American Dream movement. Permeating our society, he said, are unpatriotic lies that are causing both an economic and environmental crisis. These lies are: we're broke; taxing the super rich is bad for our economy; government is bad, so don't support it (that one began in the Reagan era); we're helpless against Wall Street. To counter these lies, Jones has called on Americans to bring forth ideas on how to Rebuild the American Dream, and the progressive organization Moveon.org is organizing thousands of house parties across our country to collect and discuss these ideas.
As we sit in a log cabin deep in green aspen woods below the purple mountain majesties of the Colorado Rockies, we are far from those house parties, but our ideas grow as fast as the alpine wildflowers. Here's our take.
We propose the formation of the Green Patriots as a progressive wing of the Democratic Party, supported by the following planks of beliefs for Rebuilding the American Dream:
- If you want a good democracy and economy, you need a good government. We're all for cutting unnecessary expenditures, but government and economy work in tandem. Government provides and supports the infrastructure -- civil, educational, health, and physical -- under which the economy operates. Just as business owners must invest to expand their businesses, if the economy is to grow, so must we invest to grow the government.
Recent travels to Turkey and Bhutan reminded us that the climate crisis is global. In Turkey we personally witnessed torrential downpours that caused flooding, extreme weather of the type predicted to increase under climate change. In Bhutan, we learned that the largest part of the government workforce is devoted to maintaining the national road, which is seasonally damaged from flooding, expected by the Bhutanese to worsen under continued climate change. It only takes 3 minutes to explain the hot story of how global warming causes climate change, and why it pays to switch to clean renewable energy and energy efficiency, even if one chooses to deny that burning fossil fuels causes climate change. And it is time for the US to lead again, by re-inventing ourselves. Investing in a secure future by voting for leaders and a government that execute a fast switch to clean renewable energy and energy efficiency should be a top priority of all American voters, and the Green Patriots can be a banner under which to rally.