(Dec. 21, 2007) Two days ago, December 19th, Congress’ last day of work for this fall, followingthe House’s vote in support of $70 billion in no-strings-attached money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, as a result, in support of an appropriations billfor 2008 that includes almost $30 billion in loan guarantees for nukes and coal,I began to eat solid foods.
The first things that I used my teeth to chew on since September 4th, the day Congress returned from its summer recess, were a regular potato and a sweet potato, followedby some mixed vegetables.
It was good to eat, but it would have been much, much better if the end to this fast were not so bittersweet.
I do give thanks that a pretty weak energy bill was passed which does represent the beginnings of a turn away from our fossil fuel addiction, as limited as thatbill is and problematic as parts of it are, particularly its dramatic support forcorn-based and other forms of ethanol.
On the other hand, perhaps it was fitting that the continued dominance over thisCongress by the oil, coal, nuclear and gas interests was made clear by these lastfew days of voting. Because of that dominance there was virtually no money for renewableenergy in the energy bill that was signed by Bush on the 19th, while an extremelymodest effort to repeal tax breaks for oil companies in that bill was threat-of-filibusteredout.
And that awkward wording is deliberate. There wasn’t a filibuster, just a threatof one, the tactic used by Republicans over and over this year, the tactic the Democratsonly once called their bluff on, and that in a half-hearted way.
When will we have leadership in Congress that stands up to evil?
And these people are evil. I called the Bush/Cheney gang “climate criminals” on Democracy Now during a December 11th interview. That’s what they are, liars, deceivers,obstructionists–evil.
In this Christmas season, the words of Jesus come to mind: “love your enemies.” Yes, we should love these enemies by confronting them, by getting as close to themas we can, and telling them that they need to be “born again” to the truth of whatthey are doing so that, like Paul on the road to Damascus, they can become powerfulwitnesses to help the world take the necessary steps so that we and our descendants,the seventh generation, can have a future worth living for, worth living in.
Are there any people with a conscience left within the Bush administration?
Fortunately, outside of that administration more and more of us are stepping it up. That is where my hope for the future comes from. That is why I intend to beginfasting again after the first of the year.
Every Monday, for an indefinite period of time, certainly for many months, I willeat no food and drink water only.
I don’t want to forget or lose touch with the many, many positive things that havehappened on this 107-day, 2007 climate emergency fast:
-the expressions of support and appreciation from so many people, friends, relatives,co-workers, people I didn’t know before. All of us need to feel appreciated, andI’m no different. To feel that support was very strengthening;
-the daily remembrance of what is being done to our earth and all of its life formsbecause of the actions of powerful, evil people; the sense of connection to thosesuffering as a result; and the heightened appreciation of the need for me to do all that I can to help to change those realities;
-the sense that I was playing as effective a role as I could within the climate movement and the larger progressive movement, that my willingness to take actionon a daily basis amplified what I had to say;
-the personal weight loss which, while greater (45 pounds) than what is healthy for me long-term, will hopefully help me to be more disciplined as I return to eatingand keep my weight where it should be;
-and finally, the truly amazing things that happened on this fast that never wouldhave if I wasn’t doing it. Like the vivid dream I had on the 12th night followedthe next day by an interpretation of it by a prominent Indigenous leader who by some coincidence or by fate was with me at a conference. Or the close friend andfellow activist who asked me to pray to Jesus with him for the strength to carryon, day to day, with this sometimes difficult work. Or the many young people at the Power Shift conference who came up to me and thanked me for what I was doing.Or the sense of connection I had, especially during the water-only, first 25 days,with the plants and animals I encountered as I walked around the neighborhood inTakoma Park, Md. where I was staying.
I hope other people will want to join with me on this every-Monday, 2008 climateemergency fast. We can’t forget that our energies and our commitment are needed now, right now, that 2008 will be a critical year in our desperate struggle to slow,stop and reverse the path toward the cliff we are being driven by those in power.
Ted Glick is the coordinator of the U.S. Climate Emergency Council. He can be reachedat firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1132, Bloomfield, N.J. 07003.