Who’s Afraid of the Green New Deal? Hopefully Not Joe Biden

We have achieved step one in rescuing our republic from the brink of fascism–namely voting Donald Trump out of office.

Now the hard work begins.

With Trump out of the way, we can start rebuilding our alliances, our economy, and our health.

But with president-elect Joe Biden also comes some uncertainty.

This is the same man who stated five months ago, if elected, “nothing would fundamentally change.

Despite releasing the most progressive climate and economic plan of any Democratic nominee in modern American history, and proposing a cabinet- or senior adviser–level “Climate Chief” position, he still refuses to ban fracking.

He is vague on how he would respond to a Medicare-for-All bill should one pass both houses of Congress and land on his desk for a signature.

His list of possible cabinet picks is conspicuously light on progressive names.

Reports even abound about his considering Republicans–like former Ohio Gov. John Kasich–for positions.

For all the ways progressives like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee have succeeded in moving Joe Biden further left, we are kidding ourselves if we think he’s going to stay there if not met with continued pressure.

One of Donald Trump’s most common attacks accuses Biden of supporting the “Green New Deal,” from which Biden has vociferously distanced himself.

But what is the “Green New Deal” to which Fox so-called “News” and right-wing hate media have dedicated more time bashing and lying about than the so-called “liberal” corporate networks have even deigned to mention?

Taking its cue as well as its title from President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs like Social Security, the federal minimum wage, and rural electrification, among myriad others that lifted the country out of the Republican Great Depression, the Green New Deal started last February when NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mass. Sen. Ed Markey introduced it as a non-binding resolution with 67 House and 11 Senate co-sponsors, calling for 100 percent net zero-emission power by 2030, a federal jobs guarantee, solid union jobs retrofitting and re-building crumbling infrastructure, universal health care, and affordable housing.

It now boasts 101 House and 14 Senate co-sponsors.

Since it is a resolution, not a bill, it cannot be presented to the president nor become law. Even passing both congressional chambers would require separate bills on each of its proposals.

It lays out five goals, as FactCheck.org explains:

  1. “Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.
  2. Create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States.
  3. Invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century.
  4. Secure for all people of the United States for generations to come: clean air and water; climate and community resiliency; healthy food; access to nature; and a sustainable environment.
  5. Promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (‘frontline and vulnerable communities’).”

It will not, as Donald Trump has proclaimed, “permanently eliminate all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military.”

It does not call for banning all fossil fuels or carbon emissions by 2030.

President-elect Biden has said of the Green New Deal:

“The difference between me and the New Green Deal, they say automatically, by 2030, we’re going to be carbon free, not possible.”

Yet although Joe Biden has a neo-liberal past to reckon with, he has no choice but to respond to the times, which means he can–and must–become “the most progressive president since FDR,” as Sen. Bernie Sanders insisted he has the potential to be.

Climate groups like the Sunrise Movement were successful in moving him–and even invited–to help hone his climate plan into, as former Obama administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy called, “by a long shot the most ambitious we have ever seen from any president in our nation’s history.”

This means Joe Biden is receptive to logical, substantive policies.

Our job is to ensure, now he is to be president, he holds true to this, and maintain unrelenting pressure on him after January 20.

Going “back to brunch” could almost guarantee a Republican rout in mid-term elections in two years and even a Republican worse–and more competent–than Donald Trump succeeding Joe Biden.

Getting Trump out of the White House is only effective if we keep others like him from entering it.

Only through systemic change–genuine progressive legislation–can we cure the illness for which Donald Trump is the symptom.

The environment is among the most imperative issues since it literally means the future of life on this planet.

Image credit: www.pressenza.com

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