Month 7, Day 30: Rules Are Made To Be Changed

Too tired tonight to find a newspaper to yell at; not enough time available to write a short letter. So I thought I’d just let Harry Reid know that we really really really really need to change the Senate rules on the filibuster.

Dear Senator Reid —

It’s been a bad year for citizens who are aware of the enormous threat posed by climate change. The Senate’s abandonment of a climate bill during this Congress is a bitter disappointment; more than that, it may mark the final closing of the window of opportunity. The signs are all there, pointing toward an unimaginably bleak and difficult future for our children and their children in turn.

A recent study sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council points out the impending desertification of huge swaths of the American West and Southwest; one analyst refers to it as a “permanent dust bowl.” This trend can be slowed and perhaps stopped, but not if we continue “business as usual.” That means that strong measures have to be put into place to reduce carbon emissions worldwide, and to transform our country’s energy economy.

Which, in turn, means that Senate Democrats must reform the filibuster, for this currently places effective veto power over meaningful legislation in the hands of people who are ideologically driven, pathologically short-sighted, and unable to act for the greater good.

Some of the time I sympathize with you; it must be unbearably difficult to be the de facto leader of an essentially dysfunctional organization. And some of the time I’m simply furious, because I am convinced you could have done more to make your Democratic colleagues maintain party unity on cloture votes.

Climate change is the greatest existential threat we face in the world today; if we fail to address it with sufficient clarity and resolve, no other issue will matter. The results of failure are unthinkable — but the roadblock in the way of action is the U.S. Senate.

Let’s get filibuster reform accomplished, so we can get something done. Time is running out.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

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