In many ways, I see partisan politics as a ploy to create the illusion of choice and, in the words of Noam Chomsky, to “manufacture consent”. Polarizing the electorate has always ensured a 50/50 chance of victory. Limiting our choices on election day is one of the most conscious and actively undemocratic strategies employed by the two political parties year after year.
For decades the parties and their allies in the media have framed the debate around issues of social and fiscal conservatism versus the all-encompassing and now meaningless ideology of liberalism. If George Bush has shown us anything, it is that a polarizing candidate is an extremely electable candidate.
It is not a brazen prediction on my part when I say that the issues and ideas being debated in the current election will have little meaning for voters 10 or 15 years down the line. Older voters are still locked into the traditionally and falsely polarized debate between Republicans and Democrats, but as other generations come of age there will be a sea change in the issues most important to the American electorate.
Isn’t it odd that gay marriage, border walls, and Congressman Foley’s indiscretions are being debated while we spill blood for oil? And this a resource directly and indisputably responsible for a potentially catastrophic shift in global temperatures and climate. And yes, we are currently experiencing a mass extinction of the world’s biodiversity, which is inextricably linked to our well-being as a nation and a species. The Internet, the last bastion and hope of the democratic masses, is under attack in a world of ever increasing media consolidation.
But the shift is already underway, pulling the rug from beneath the feet of the traditional party structure faster then its politicians can pull their hands out from the pockets of the American people.
All across the country Evangelical Christians are being reborn once again; fortified by their faith and observant of what is happening in the world, they are taking a stand against environmental pollution and global warming, expanding their view of Christ’s gospel and breaking ranks with the Republican party.
Tri Robinson, pastor at Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church in Boise Idaho, has called on his flock to tend to God’s garden; now the congregation is actively recycling, planting trees in the community, and educating its members about the impact of human activity on the environment. Robinson has also recently published the book Saving God’s Green Earth: Rediscovering the Church’s Responsibility to Environmental Stewardship.
Richard Cizik is the vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization with a membership of 30 million. Cizik has become one of the most vocal advocates for conservation and reduction in greenhouse gases. By reframing the debate in conservative, Evangelical terms, Cizik has been steadily persuading his base on the reality of global warming, the need for greater controls in mercury pollution, and the importance of habitat conservation. In an interview with Grist, Cizik said:
We ask Christians to shape their personal lives in creation-friendly ways by practicing effective recycling, conserving resources, and experiencing the joy of contact with nature… I believe this is neither a conservative issue, a liberal issue, a Republican issue, a Democrat issue, a red issue, a blue issue, or a green issue
Jeff at sustainablog has drawn my attention to a recent “Call to Action” within the Christian community, more evidence of an Evangelical agenda shifting towards conservative conservation.
So while the two parties systematically exclude third party voices from participating in the political process, as they mock democracy and try to further consolidate their control over every aspect of American life, the real issues facing the nation are shattering the traditional pigeon holes of political discourse. Environmentalism is dead, and the green revolution begins.