Carrie La Seur: Climate Legislation Redux: The View From the Red Seats
The notion of consulting the people likely to be most negatively affected by climate legislation seemed to be dismissed early on as dangerously naïve by the people controlling financial resources. Somebody else -- more urban, more expert -- would decide how to handle this civilization-level challenge. It would be up to a 22-year-old activist with a Blackberry and an out-of-state phone number to sell it to people with legitimate fears about losing their jobs while their utility bills tripled. A few small grants here and there supported in-state cap and trade communications, a few operatives parachuted in -- but the job wasn't to build consensus, it was to sell a pre-wrapped package that nobody wanted.
Our interlocutors from urban areas and blue states believed, perhaps, that we were experiencing an aberration, something politically insignificant. Maybe they saw the problem as too difficult and chose to tackle what they had some hope of changing: a kind of political Serenity Prayer coupled with a Hail Mary hope that our best would be good enough. And too many of them, I know from personal experience, believe that red state residents can't be trusted to make any rational decision regarding our own lives, contaminated as we are by religion, gun culture, and a highly suspect lack of interest in living in a big city. That contempt cost us all dearly.
The failure of cap and trade is a failure of democracy, of creativity -- in the end, of civilization.