By Richard Ram
San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action had our biggest, most successful turnout of club members at our Aug. 4 endorsement meeting – the first of the 2020 election cycle. Thanks to all who came out and participated. We had a record 144 voting members in attendance, and we may even exceed that number when we meet for our next next endorsement meeting on Sunday, Aug. 18. In addition, we've received positive feedback on our club's move to ranked-choice voting on our paper ballots.
We've also heard, in no uncertain terms, our members express their concerns about whether our club's political endorsements are properly reflecting the urgency of the environmental situation before us. There's a lot of pain and sense of loss felt throughout the conservation community, especially these past few years, as we've seen decades of hard-fought progress reversed by a tyrannically anti-environment, anti-science administration that was able to take office without earning the popular vote, and with mass voter disenfranchisement in swing states.
Time is short and the political will appears to be lacking. If we are going to take meaningful action to address the climate crisis and avoid a mass extinction of species that is already underway, we must act now. Failure and hand-wringing are not options.
We need real leadership on these issues, not just lip service on climate change. We cannot wait for some share of elected Republicans to "evolve" in order to establish some kind of across-the-aisle celebration of bipartisan support on bills that simply do too little, too late. We need leadership that is willing to stand up to powerful interests and their lobbying money. We need leadership that is willing make tough decisions that may cost them political support in some corners. We need leadership that seeks to do the right thing now because we don't have time on the clock to reverse bad decisions or weak compromises affecting our ecology and the viability of life on this planet.
The active participation of environmentalists in our club is critical to ensure we get it right. We've built a strong brand based upon standing up for a variety of environmental issues and engaging our membership on them. That the endorsement of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action is sought after – and fought over – is a credit to our membership, which have shaped our club into a powerhouse of issue-based advocacy within our local Democratic Party.
So as we move forward, let's be mindful of the responsibility we have to our mission, and to voters who may be less engaged but still care a great deal about the environment. In five years' time we've built one of the largest and most influential Democratic clubs in Southern California. Our brand matters when it comes to conveying who we trust as good stewards and bold champions for the green future we envision.
Richard Ram serves as communications chair on the San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action executive board.
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