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STRATEGY  PROPOSAL  #3

We need to choose an easily-remembered (and positive, and unifying) label, and theme, rather than allowing opponents to label us.

          Anyone can find plenty of examples of the types of derogatory, dismissive, pigeon-holing labels that certain organizations use (such as Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal, both of which effectively "belong" to "Rupert the Marauder", the standard nickname for Rupert Murdoch, in Australia, where he came from) to try to dismiss, belittle, condescend to, and denigrate anyone whose views do not parrot and kowtow to their chosen, curated, profit-seeking claims and arguments.

          Indeed, even the words "conservative" and "liberal" have become completely and utterly hijacked, and corrupted.

 

          "Liberal" used to mean, "befitting a person who has liberty," but today, conservatives say that "liberals" are those who want to destroy liberty, by fomenting endlessly bigger and more powerful government. What can be gained, by simply submitting to a label that is intended, by the person who says it, as an insult and a weapon, rather than as a reasonable and appropriate description?

          And, "conservative" used to mean, "someone who wants to conserve the things that are worth conserving". But today, most "conservatives" have chosen to simply stand and watch, pretending they don't see what is happening, while the planet, the environment, the lands, and the oceans – the things we depend upon for everything, including our lives, livelihoods, and futures – are being trashed, smashed, degraded, and destroyed, rather than "conserved"? How can people call themselves "conservatives" if they are violating the very essence of that word?

          Accordingly, we suggest that those who want to help fight global warming, should choose and use either of two stands: 

          (1) Openly rejecting the terms "liberal" and "conservative", in pretty much the same way a person would try to fend off an obnoxious jerk who is trying to press an adhesive label – with a sticky, nasty, aggressive, and durable adhesive on the back – onto our skin, hair, or clothing; or,

          (2) Claiming to be "a conservative", because s/he is indeed trying to conserve, protect, stand up for, and sustain those things which truly are worth conserving and protecting (and, anyone willing to adopt that stance can use it, repeatedly, to point out that most people who call themselves 'conservatives' are failing, badly, to do what good conservatives should do).

Please Avoid and Deny Any Labels that Use the Term "Socialist"

          We also will do anything we can, to discourage any and every true environmental advocate to NOT call himself or herself a socialist, and NOT allow anyone ELSE to label them as a socialist. That word has taken on so many severely negative connotations, and baggage that has rancid smells coming from it, that it poisons, damages, and in many cases utterly  destroys any hope that someone who labels him/herself as a "socialist" will ever be able to persuade any conservatives, or Republicans, to shift their views toward more realistic, better-informed views about global warming and climate change. Those who openly call themselves "socialists", and then begin arguing for more and stronger ways to limit global warming, are doing more damage than good, in any efforts to actually control global warming.

          A basic and fundamental fact, and truth, is that America worked so well, in the past, largely because it was able to figure out how to create, and then use, a "mixed" economic system. Some things were owned and controlled totally by the government (such as the military, the Post Office, and the streets and highways). Other things were owned and controlled totally by private enterprise. And – and THIS is a crucial point, which people need to focus upon, study, analyze, discuss, learn about, and try to understand –  it actually worked, as well as it did, for as long as it did, because those two "peaks" at the two far ends of the curve surrounded, and bracketed, multiple different plateaus and stopping points, distributed across an entire shades-of-gray "continuum" that stretched all the way between one extreme, and the other extreme.

          In complete seriousness, although most people don't realize it, and don't think in these terms, there are more than a dozen crucially important niches, and plateaus, arrayed across an entire continuum, which exists and even thrives in between the two extreme ends of the "socialist versus capitalist" continuum. A few quick examples of things that fall in the middle, rather than being either "pure socialist" or "pure capitalist", include:

          (1) public utility companies, which are privately owned, and which must make profits, but which – in every single state, in the U.S. – are subject to the control of "public utility commissions" which can control major investments, and which can impose limits on the prices that are charged by utilities, to protect the public from price-gouging;

          (2) "common carrier" transportation systems, such as buses, trains, and airplanes, which are heavily regulated by the government and governmental rules, to promote safety, and to ensure that the owners cannot openly and aggressively discriminate against the types of people who need to use those services; and,

          (3) "regulated industries", such as companies that make and sell food and pharmaceuticals, or which produce radioactive or toxic wastes as a byproducts of their manufacturing processes.

          To a far larger extent than anyone at either end of the capitalism-vs-socialism argument will admit, the success, strength, and stability of America (until recently) grew in ways that depended very heavily on the ability of politicians, in decades past, to hammer out workable compromises which figured out how to actually solve problems, in ways that allowed hybridized enterprise-AND-government industries to develop and grow in functional and accommodating ways.

 

          People should not simply say that government is good, or government is evil. That type of hollow, bombastic rhetoric was part of the strategy that Ronald Reagan used, to help distract attention away from the horrible fact that in his single 8-year term of office, he literally TRIPLED – not the yearly deficit, but –  THE ENTIRE NATIONAL DEBT!!! For those who don't realize it, during Reagan's time as President, the entire amount of debt that American had accumulated, to win independence, settle the continent, survive the Civil War, build cities and roads, help win World War I, survive the Depression, help win World War Two, and fight The Cold War, was less than a single trillion dollars, when Reagan took office, in 1981. However, by the time Reagan left office, in 1989, our national debt had quite literally TRIPLED, to nearly $3 trillion.

 

          Instead of taking a "Reaganesque" approach of claiming this, while actually doing something very different, a better approach is to recognize (and help explain, to the public) that, more than any other country in the world, America became successful, largely because it gradually evolved in ways that gave it a stronger and more balanced business structure, distributed effectively and stably across the entire range between capitalism at one end, and government at the other end, than any other country, ever in the histopry of this planet. That type of "distributed strength, leading to better stability" also arose from the realization – by those who wrote our Constitution – that all Americans would be less at risk of abuse BY our governments, if we divided those governments, not just into different BRANCHES (executive, legislative, and judicial), but into several different LEVELS as well (including federal, state, county, and local governments). That type of "distributed strength" became one of the most powerful contributing factors which made America the most creative (and the most powerful) nation that has ever existed in the history of this planet.

          Circling back to the main point, our sense (and strong belief) is that anyone who labels himself or herself a "socialist" is showing warning signs of having a severe lack of understanding of both history, and human nature. Anyone who chooses to publicly argue that the range and diversity of compromises, accommodations, and strengths that gradually emerged in America is bad, and that everyone would be better off, if only a few people in government could find ways to gather more, and more, and more power for themselves, is not going to get our support. Instead, we urge anyone who is tempted to apply the label "socialist" to himself or herself, to first ponder, seriously, this analogy: taking that position, and that stand, is like wanting to get, not just a subtle and sophisticated tattoo, but a big, dark, and heavy tattoo, on your face. It might impress a small group of people; but, pretty much anyone and everyone else will regard it as a warning sign, that this person they are seeing – with a big dark facial tattoo – might not be entirely stable, and doesn't always make good life choices.

          Along that same line, and to help illustrate how we feel about people who openly call themselves "socialists", we'd like to offer both: (i) big, big thanks to Bernie Sanders, for all the things he did to attack, criticize, and weaken Hillary Clinton, just before the BIG battle she had to face, against Donald Trump, in the 2016 election; and, (ii) personal observations that absolutely no one we know, personally, who lives here in the Midwest, thinks that Bernie Sanders has good judgment, and/or deserves to be a trusted representative of the Democratic party or people. By openly declaring himself to be a socialist, he has effectively declared himself to be a potentially dangerous and untrustable radical, in the eyes of pretty much anyone who works for a living, tries to keep up a decent home, pays their fair share of taxes, and does the best they can to help other people, in the Midwest.

 

          That, plus, we wonder how much any avowed socialists actually understand, and are willing to face up squarely to, the historical record of how badly most socialist governments have performed, in actually and faithfully serving the needs of their people. That noble goal fades severely into the background, when the addictive goal of those in power gradually shifts into, "How can WE – those few of us who truly have power, over others – find ways to keep holding on to that power?"

          Turning away from hackneyed, misused, misinterpreted labels, we believe we would be, and will be, better off, if we create our own new and fresh label, almost like adopting a marketing strategy. And, if we openly tell people what it is, and why we have chosen it, and then, do our best to live up to it.

          So . . . the phrase we nominate and propose is, "We are RADICAL REALISTS."

 

          We are indeed, radical, in our willingness to step up with courage, and resolve, and say – openly, and publicly – what is true, and what needs to be said, instead of trying to curry favor (and take money) by telling viewers, voters, advertisers, or political donors, what they want to hear (and what they want their paid-for candidates and paid disrupters to claim, pretend, and argue).

 

          And, we are radical in our belief that human civilization is about to run – face-first, at high speed – into a brick wall, which is going to cause us levels of damage, pain, suffering, and permanent scarring and disfiguration, that some people would call "unimaginable", but which can indeed be imagined, if one thinks about them seriously and carefully.

 

          So, we can and should be – admittedly, openly, and proudly – RADICAL, in our willingness, our ability, and our stubbornness, in facing up to problems with REALISM instead of rhetoric -- especially the problem of global warming, since it threatens to kill literally billions of people, and possibly drive humans to extinction.

 

          There is nothing moderate, in any way, about the dangers and threats being created by global warming. Those dangers and threats are growing stronger at exponentially-increasing rates, and they are, quite seriously, threatening to kill literally billions of innocent people. Since those threats and dangers are intense, extreme, and dire, rather than moderate, we should not try to kid ourselves, or anyone else, that we might be able to solve them, or at least reduce and control them, through politeness, good manners, and allowing bad people to just keep doing whatever they want to do, regardless of how much it hurts others. We cannot solve those threats, by using lukewarm and diplomatic "moderation".

          However, in EVERY OTHER respect – political, financial, social, and legal – and on every OTHER topic, most of us can and will be more persuasive and effective, if we talk and write in measured, deliberate, and moderate tones, terms, and volume, instead of coming across as shrill, angry, demanding, and aggressive. People do indeed respond to things like "shrill and aggressive", but not in positive or desired ways.

 

          So -- we will actively push back against anyone who tries to glue an ill-fitting, inaccurate, misleading label on us, as either liberals, or conservatives. And, we advise anyone else to do the same, if they sincerely want to help protect the environment.

 

          Instead of being liberal or conservative, we are realists. That is how we think; that is how we identify; and, that is the only political label we will tolerate. And, we will volunteer an open warning, to anyone, that we are, indeed, "radical" -- but only about  being realistic, when trying to figure out better ways to limit global warming.

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