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Don’t Defeat the Possible in Pursuit of the Perfect

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January 26, 2017 by John Crapper

I learned a valuable lesson recently.  As a progressive I’ve got a tendency to defeat the possible in the pursuit of the perfect. That is a dangerous trap to fall into.

The lesson:  It’s important to prioritize and focus to accomplish something.

Learning that lesson is the reason why I haven’t been posting much.  The last diary I posted was back in November, 2016 but it really wasn’t substantive.  The last substantive diary was in November of 2015. That’s because  I chose to stay out of the frenzied, heated pie fights of the election season, opting instead to take the time to work on my writing projects.   It was a wise decision.   I got a lot accomplished.  The only problem was the surprise election of the Donald.  I, like just about everyone else on this planet, assumed that it would be Hillary sitting in the White House.  It caused me to do a lot of re-writing.  Just goes to show that life is full of surprises.

Now that the inauguration is over it’s time for me to re-emerge.  It’s time to relaunch  my Holy Shitters weekly postings about climate change.  Because, in case you don’t remember, I’m humorously serious about climate change.    And yes, I am very biased.  For me it is the ALL IMPORTANT ISSUE.

The Church of the Holy Shitters will post articles on our holy S.H.I.T. day ( So Happy It’s Thursday) Hoping to add some humor, provoke thought, spark debate, deepen understanding, and shed some light on the fecal side of climate change.

The last time this series was posting regularly, I allowed myself to get pulled into multiple other commitments.   I took on other roles like being the coordinator of Seattle & Puget Sound Kos.  Then I volunteered to be the Washington State Daily Kos Community Builder. And, to really spread myself thin, I launched the weekly Washington State Open Thread.  In taking on all these roles I didn’t get the help and support I’d anticipated and consequently a lot more of my time was taken than I’d anticipated.   And because of all these additional tasks, I  lost sight and focus of my top priority – climate change.  But the silver lining was that in the process I learned I valuable lesson; that if I spread myself too thin I can’t be effective.  I learned I must prioritize and pick my battles.

That is a valuable lesson to learn as a progressive.

I’ve read a lot of explanations about why the election went the way it did but I don’t recall this particular reason being mentioned.

 

I’ve also read a lot about what needs to be done differently.  Most proposals I’ve read speak about fighting the Republicans in every place and on every issue.  Call my crazy but I just don’t think it’s possible to do this with all the major levers of government in the hands of the opposing party.  Sounds to me that it’s a recipe to guarantee the defeat of the possible in the pursuit of the perfect.

It calls to mind an example that happened right here in the State of Washington this last election cycle. There was an initiative which succeeded in getting placed on the ballot to put a price on carbon.  It was billed as being “revenue neutral”.  Because of the revenue neutral aspect of the initiative it split the environmental community pretty much down the middle because one half objected to it not raising funds for those most impacted by the negative impacts of climate change.  As a result the initiative did not pass and now there is no viable path to putting a price on carbon in this state anytime soon.  The possible was defeated in the pursuit of the perfect.

I’m going to guard against that with my politics from now on.  It’s a tuff lesson for this old progressive to learn but I think I’ve finally learned it.    I’m going to prioritize and focus.  Because the election of the Donald has changed everything I’m going to do things differently.  Just as Naomi Klein says in her latest book, This Changes Everything:

“the ‘this’ in This Changes Everything is climate change. … And what we mean by that is that climate change, if we don’t change course, if we don’t change our political and economic system, is going to change everything about our physical world. …That’s the road we are on. We can get off that road, but we’re now so far along it, we’ve put off the crucial policies for so long, that now we can’t do it gradually. … (It)requires such a radical departure from the kind of political and economic system we have right now that we pretty much have to change everything.” (emphasis mine)

So I’m personally not going to work towards electing more and better Democrats.  I’m going to work towards the implementation of saner climate policies.  And as far as politics is concerned I’m going to work toward electing more and better Democratic Climate Hawks.   Maybe even Republicans if they put the issue at the top of their agenda.

So, I begin again.

I begin not expecting anyone to pay attention.  I hope millions do.

I begin not expecting anyone to help.  I hope millions do.

I begin not expecting anyone to change their priorities.  I hope millions do.

But, speaking for myself and myself alone,  I don’t have time to be distracted from the issue of climate change because with climate change I know that now time is of the essence.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, …

Just in case you do want to help here are some suggested

Avenues for Action

The following are subject to expansion and change but at present the Church of the Holy Shitters recommends three organizations an individual can contribute to and/or support.  (In no particular order of priority.)

1.  For a global yet local focus with an emphasis on social justice aspects.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-12-38-51-pm

350.org

350 is building a global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice.

That movement is rising from the bottom up all over the world, and is uniting to create the solutions that will ensure a better future for all. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions bring together a global network active in over 188 countries.

2.  For a U.S. political focus working to elect candidates willing to prioritize climate change.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-12-33-00-pm

Climate Hawks Vote

 

WE ARE CLIMATE HAWKS

We’re seeking to elect leaders willing to take on the greatest challenge facing the next few generations of humanity. Too many Democratic politicians consider climate to be just another issue bubbling below the surface of top priorities, and too many advocates are willing to excuse Democratic politicians who tout their states’ coal and oil resources. We need aggressive, progressive champions of climate justice—climate hawks.

The Republican Party is so deeply entrenched in denying the existence of climate change and protecting the fossil-fuel industry that if a Republican climate hawk were to emerge, we would look hard at a Republican’s willingness to buck leadership as well as the Republican’s position on climate.

We work to engage and educate voters, advocate on climate change in general election contests, and back climate hawks in Democratic primaries. We engage and train younger climate hawks interested in running for office. And we work on campaigns to mobilize the American people and our elected officials to act aggressively to end greenhouse pollution and build a renewably powered, just society that is resilient to the threats of a changing climate.

3.  And for a US political focus with a more bi-bartisan approach trying to influence those already in political office.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-12-45-59-pm

Citizens’ Climate Lobby 

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.

Our consistently respectful, non-partisan approach to climate education is designed to create a broad, sustainable foundation for climate action across all geographic regions and political inclinations. By building upon shared values rather than partisan divides, and empowering our supporters to work in keeping with the concerns of their local communities, we work towards the adoption of fair, effective, and sustainable climate change solutions.

In order to generate the political will necessary for passage of our Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal we train and support volunteers to build relationships with elected officials, the media and their local community.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
Coming full circle this was my first live concert:

“One”

One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It’s the loneliest number since the number one

No is the saddest experience you’ll ever know
Yes, it’s the saddest experience you’ll ever know

‘Cause one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
One is the loneliest number, whoa-oh, worse than two

It’s just no good anymore since you went away
Now I spend my time just making rhymes of yesterday

One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
One is the loneliest
One is the loneliest
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do

It’s just no good anymore since you went away (number)
One is the loneliest (number)
One is the loneliest (number)
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do (number)
One is the loneliest (number)
One is the loneliest (number)
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do (number)
One (one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do)(number)
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do (number)
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do

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Church of the Holy Shitters
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Our climate is changing. I'm humorously serious about addressing it. I'm convinced my ego is the main culprit. My religion, Holy Shitters, demands I humble myself and celebrate the fact my shit stinks.
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