I contribute to, and am a member of both Sierra Club and Public Citizen. These organizations have the dubious challenge of trying to make a difference, particularly as it relates to issues embraced by those of us more than a little to the left of center, politically. As a member, I receive a monthly Sierra magazine and a Public Citizen newsletter. These publications address how things are going as far as their influence in matters ecological and/or political. Essentially, both organizations are always attempting to formally appeal to voices of reason in Washington, D.C.
However, those “voices” are hard to reason with, unless those trying to engage in logical reasoning with a good dose of pathos thrown in have the right stuff. That stuff is called money. That’s why financial contributions (small change, like me, or those with deeper pockets) are the life-blood that keeps both Sierra and P.C. healthy enough to fight another day.
Reading the above noted publications isn’t typically a morale booster, though. It seems for every success, there’s a defeat or delay or simply deaf ears that are invoked by their reporters. Certainly, for those who are crazy enough to be concerned about the environment or dysfunctional and corporate-controlled politicians, it’s a blessing to have these and other organizations trying to hold to account those who hold important office, and who more and more appear to have been bought and paid for by a select and obscenely small but well financed political faction that care little but for the bottom-line. The future is now, apparently, so for them now is the time to enact draconian environmental legislation (i.e. the Keystone XL Pipeline, among other ideas) and help to support conservative judges who support ultra-conservative readings of the Constitution (i.e. the Citizens United ruling that has corporations as “people” and money as “free speech”).
So, am I bolstered by my monthly perusal of articles in Sierra or Public Citizen? Hell, no! Actually, it’s rather disturbing to encounter some of the reports that suggest money is the bloodline that keeps our body politic’s corpus callosum functioning with most of that blood money going to the Right-wing side of its brain. Meanwhile, the Left side scrambles and scrounges for rogue corpus corpuscles to seek equilibrium while being dazzled to dizziness by well-heeled lobbyists packing weapon’s grade bank rolls backed by the likes of the Koch brothers and their ilk.
The antidote to my angst over how much money has apparently corrupted our now wheezing democracy is akin to the advise given to Hemingway’s doomed protagonist in the story “The Killers,” that maybe it’s best not to think about what’s coming. But think I do. So I renew my memberships, if not much faith in a fanciful future amount of positive outcomes in forthcoming Sierra and P.C. monthly mailings. Unfortunately, such optimism has waned as the years go by, especially the last 33 of them, politically speaking.
Some vestige of Nader’s Raiders exists in Public Citizen and Sierra Club isn’t about to shut up, either, even if their voices might seem as though coming from one of the more remote outposts of Mother Earth. You know, out in some pristine piece of natural beauty that’s likely lying in the cross-hairs of some mining, fracking or oil congomerate, whose conniving Washington-based wolves prowl the corridors of power, sniffing out the scent of their all too eager to please prey.
The future does seem to be now, with the past serving as prologue.