Month 2, Day 15: Prodding Harry Reid

Thought I’d send Harry Reid something. I knew when I first read about him that he would be trouble for the Democratic Party. It seems hard to believe he was once a boxer. Maybe he took too many punches to the head? It’s really unbelievable that he’s the point guy for our party in the Senate.

Dear Majority Leader Reid,

Although as a Massachusetts resident I am not one of your constituents, I am a lifelong Democrat — one who has followed your tenure as Majority Leader with interest and frustration in equal measure.

It was obvious from the start to me that the Republican minority would be utterly and completely focused on obstructing Democratic legislation — and it’s unbelievable that it wasn’t obvious to you and your colleagues in the Senate. The fact that it’s taken many Democrats this long to recognize that the G.O.P. has no intention of cooperating on anything does not reassure me.

Nowhere does this obstructionism have further-reaching consequences than in our unwillingness to tackle a meaningful climate-change bill. With denialism rampant on both sides of the aisle, with Health Care and Jobs initiatives currently on the menu for Democratic delay and Republican blocking — it’s “not the right time” to deal with a climate bill.

Unfortunately the laws of nature pay little heed to the laws of man, and even less heed to the blinkered behavior of U.S. Senators. Regardless of what Fox News’ talking heads may say, a freak snowstorm in Washington is not irrefutable evidence that global warming is a myth. Scientists predict more such extreme weather events as the climate spirals past tipping point after tipping point — but as long as the gap between climate action and climate effect is five or six times longer than the election cycle that rules the life of a U.S. Senator, we can expect change-averse lawmakers to avoid dealing with the issue.

Failure to confront this looming disaster is not just a failure of governance. It is a moral failure, and our grandchildren will not be kind to the 210th Congress. On the other hand, our great-great-great grandchildren will be too busy trying to survive to spend much time assigning blame for the catastrophes we could have averted, but didn’t. And who knows? Maybe James Hansen’s “Venus Syndrome” will come to pass — in which case there will be nobody left to do any blaming.

Mr. Reid, it is time for you to confront Republican obstructionism head-on. They and their collaborators on the Democratic side are playing political games while the largest existential crisis humanity has ever faced is unfolding outside their windows. I know that you are risk-averse and prefer not to seek controversy — but in this case, it’s time to stand up and throw a few punches at those who would trade the lives of our descendants for the promise of a Senatorial sinecure.

Please support Bernie Sanders’ “10 Million Solar Roofs & 10 Million Gallons of Solar Hot Water Act.” This is an idea whose time has come. And please do something to reform the use of the filibuster. We need to get this done. There is no time to waste.

Yours sincerely,

Warren Senders

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