Let’s End the War and Save the Planet

We are an endangered political species — pro-environment fiscally conservative Republicans. We embrace the radical idea that freedom, prosperity, and a healthy environment are not just compatible, but inseparable. And we need your help.

Tens of millions of us used to roam North America freely, criss-crossing every state and province, helping purify the nation’s air and water, conserving open space, repairing the ozone layer, and spreading prosperity by assuring that polluters pay a price.

But in the past generation, our numbers have been decimated by poachers determined to eliminate every genetic trace of us from the Republican Party.

These ideological soldiers are passionate, and their motivations are mostly pure. They have ideals they believe in, and fears that are real. But they are being used, just as their progressive counterparts are, in a war against the ideals they think they’re fighting for.

You can stop the slaughter. Not by firing back at the right-wing soldiers hunting us, but by hearing their words, understanding their fears, then speaking to the millions ready to end this war and save the planet.

Fed up with the war, a new constituency is forming in between the battling tribes, a reconstruction of the mainstream right and left with the potential to depolarize and revitalize democracy.

SOURCE: Senator Chris Coons

We are a part of that constituency. We are determined to help activate it. Perhaps you are too. With principled scholars and strategists, we are learning to identify, reach, and mobilize the growing base we call the Problem-Solvers — the resolutionary one-in-five of us who can unite 70% of Americans behind solutions.

We problem-solvers are different from the soldiers who get most of the attention in today’s polarizing media. Soldiers drive wedges between us, then build walls to keep us apart. We remove the wedges and break down the walls that separate Americans by racial, ethnic, and gender identity, and divide us over abortion guns, immigration, and climate.

Some problem-solvers are conservatives, some progressives, some libertarians, but our differences don’t keep us apart — they bring us together in a whole greater than the sum of us. And we discover that as a community united by our complementarity, we hold the solutions to a host of unresolved problems now exploited to disempower us. We can fix our broken criminal justice system, upgrade our declining public schools, deliver superior health care we can all afford, narrow economic inequity, renew our deteriorating infrastructure, and restore opportunity and prosperity for the middle class.

But one issue unites us above all others. Our polls and campaigns prove it.

To problem-solvers, the environment is not just some thing to save. It is a whole system we depend on, for everything; a living system that is sacred and whole. We don’t choose between a healthy environment and a prosperous economy. We understand these two are linked. Politicians want us to place them in opposition. We know how to bring them together.

You might ask, “if you have so much to contribute, where have you been?” Frankly, we’ve been preoccupied with dodging bullets inside and outside our own tent. So have many of you.

SOURCE: The Guardian

Both the Republican and Democratic parties are wracked by civil war, as fundamentalists battle to rid each of the diverse people and ideas they find heretical, so they can unite in ideological purity to destroy the enemies of righteousness.

The result is two parties culled of diverse people and ideas, looking more like enormous focus groups of homogenous voters selected by professionals so their behavior can be even more finely tuned.

Our democracy will be largely for show until we on the right and left step outside our chambers, and join forces to work on it together.

Here’s the reality. Politics is a business. It’s managed by political and advertising professionals who grab millions of us by the eyeballs and thrust screens into our faces, where marketing messages flash before us while our conscious brains are caught off-guard.

At its root, our endless political wars are declared and redeclared day after day, bit after bit, by what Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter calls the Duopoly.

The Duopoly is the interlocking complex of political and media strategists, message testers, pollsters, lobbyists, and ad-based news media that profit by dividing our body politic in two, and threatening to break the backbone of democracy.

The battle between the left and right does not pit justice against freedom, people against profit, or corporatism against statism. It is, instead, a tool that the Republican and Democratic Duopoly uses to divert our attention from them. So long as we are either entertained by pablum or at war over politics, we can be sold to vested interests tapped into the national treasury and advertisers accessing their share of consumer spending.

Who should we blame most for the Duopoly distorting our democracy? Republicans or Democrats? Corporations or the state? Middle or coastal America? Political power brokers or media marketers? Deep state managers or intellectual elites? If you’re asking that, you’re not wrong, you just haven’t been listening. All of us are being played, right or wrong. Finger-pointing is the name of the game, deserved or not. The Duopoly grabs every one of us and points our fingers angrily toward every big-asset institution we love to hate, keeping us enraged and our demons at risk so they can keep extracting money and power. Its strategic position gives it the power, if threatened, to rip off both the private and public parts of any corporation, union, military contractor, trade group, non-profit, or service provider that doesn’t keep it fed and fat.

SOURCE: EcoWatch

It doesn’t need to be that way. We don’t need to demand action, as if we’re powerless. Big corporate and government institutions prosper by making us feel dependent on them, but it’s the other way around. We have the money, the muscle, and the minds. In a healthy democracy, we use them, for good. We are the saviors we’ve been waiting for.

Our plans bring together the best ideas of conservatives and progressives, without pandering to the passions or interests of either. They would cut taxes and pollution, promote innovation and efficiency, improve health outcomes while reducing health costs, eliminate barriers to investments in clean tech, eliminate employee payroll taxes, and shift toward a circular economy with opportunities for millions left out of our consumption binge. They would empower people, in free and sensibly-regulated markets, to make choices that green the future.

Most of our solutions aren’t new. They just aren’t politically feasible, yet. The biggest barrier to a clean, green and healthy future is a political media system that keeps Americans from hearing, respecting, liking, and conspiring positively with each other. If we can’t change that, this war will consume us all, including the institutions that fuel it.

It is time to end the war to protect the planet, and start actually saving it instead. If you want to be part of the solution, read our book, join us at inthistogetheramerica.org and earthx.org. The people, ideas, and strategies are waiting for you here.

Bill Shireman is a social entrepreneur and environmental policy innovator. He is the co-author of In This Together.

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