Activist Wednesday: Activism in 2012 and Beyond
Posted January 9, 2013on:
Happy New Year, Widdershins! I hope the holidays were good to you. I think we did get a nice collective present when Obama only partially caved on taxing the wealthy, and staved off some of the worst aspects of the fiscal cliff. I know that “progressives” are livid that the tax raise only went to those who were making $400,000 or more as individuals and $450,000 as a family, but I am pleasantly surprised that he finally did what he had been promising since 2008. Admittedly, it was in a half-assed Barackian way, but what else would you ever expect from him?
I said a while back that I would tell you who my top activists were in the year that is now past. Unlike most politicians, I do keep my promises. Without further ado, here they are!
Top activists of 2012: Environmentalists.
Whether it was stopping the XL Pipeline from being built, getting even the World Bank to understand the urgency of global warming, or fighting fracking in New York, environmentalists truly made an impact in 2012. Congratulations, you tree-hugging, chardonnay-sipping commie pinko hippies! You have my respect, admiration, and encouragement for 2013, when you start pressuring Obama to lead on this issue.
After mixed results in Obama’s first four years, environmental groups appear to have come to the conclusion they need to be more vocal about demanding action from the White House, to keep climate change from slipping off the president’s second term agenda.
The letter urged Obama to set new pollution controls for existing power plants. A report released last month by the Natural Resources Defense Council set out a plan for cutting carbon emissions from power plants 26% by the end of the decade.
The open letter also pressed Obama to put a stop to the Keystone XL pipeline project, designed to pump crude from the Alberta tar sands to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Obama put a hold on final approval of the pipeline early last year, but industry and environmental groups expect a decision early in his second term.
“We should not pursue dirty fuels like tar sands,” the open letter said. “The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in our national interest because it would unlock vast amounts of additional carbon that we can’t afford to burn.”
Runner-up #1: Advocates of same-sex marriage.
Holy matrimony, Batman! The LGBT community made huge strides in 2012, getting same-sex marriage legalized in state after state. As of 2012, nine states (plus the District of Columbia and two Native American tribes) are practicing marriage equality. (In my home state, Maryland, the mayor of Baltimore married several same-sex couples at midnight on New Year’s Eve. How incredibly romantic!) The movement is even crossing the pond. Now, you know when the British start “coming out” there is no stopping this party, people.
I do, I really do think this is the happiest and most thrilling love development evah! But stay tuned…the Supreme Court is hearing challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act in March. WWRD? (What Will Roberts Do?) I don’t know, but I’m sure we will all be expecting more on this issue.
Runner-up #2: Defenders of reproductive rights.
Well-done, men and women who were paying attention this year! You helped strike down many of the crayzee anti-abortion/anti-birth control laws put forward by wingnutty legislatures in state after state. (A special shout-out again to Janicen, who took her daughter to protest radical anti-abortion laws in Virginia – and they won!) And don’t forget the woman-haters’ attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood, including the head of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation. So far, they haven’t been able to do it. Let’s keep our eyes and ears open in 2013!
Honorable Mention: Occupy Wall Street.
Okay, the movement wasn’t a movement in the classic sense, but when all is said and done, Occupy made its point about economic inequality – and made it well. Awareness of just how much our system is rigged in favor of the banksters and the super-wealthy rose to such a level in 2012, that exit polls showed it was a top issue in the national elections. Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street morphed into Occupy Sandy after the superstorm hit NYC and the surrounding boroughs, making it aces in my book.
Where will we go from here? I don’t know. Although we averted the cliff, in a couple of months the Republicans will demand drastic cuts to our social safety net “in order to fix the deficit.” Will Obama put the privatization of Social Security on the table, even though it doesn’t contribute to the deficit at all? And if the government tries to take away benefits we have paid into all our lives, will we sit and meekly allow them to do it?
This is an open thread.
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