Waning Wolf Moon
The day has begun well. Sunshine comes from a sky with cirrus clouds, a nice break after the cloudy weather.
Today Obama becomes the 44th president of the United States. After our discussion last night at the Woollies, I realize I do run on a different political path than most. The politics I care most about happen because citizens, folks like you and me, make them happen: neighborhood economic development, movement toward single payer health plans and initiatives that promote a sustainable human presence on mother earth.
The players in Washington create the atomsphere in which local politics occur. That is, a president like George Bush can make federal level policy and bureaucratic administration so obstructive that local politics become shoring up of dikes, attempts to stave off catastrophe in poor communities or in rivers and streams, woodlands and lakes. In the best case a president like Obama can make local politics the art of adapting federal level initiatives to particular places, particular situations while continuing the local political level work that has no federal equivalent.
Whether Obama can turn the great ship US Bureaucracy and Law very far from its collision course with the natural world remains to be seen. Presidents don’t matter much to me unless, as in George W. Bush’s case and Ronald Reagan’s, they ignore science, shove aside the poor and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t matter. Yes, they entangle us in wars and produce fiscal policy that either mainline’s greed or provides reasonable checks and balances, and, yes, these matters are of crucial importance to certain people in certain situations; but my day to day reality, the politics of economic justice and the politics of sound ecology, must go forward no matter what the national government does.
So, I hope Obama will prove helpful in some way, but I’m not counting on it. We still have to push the Clean Car initiatives and Mining without Harm. Programs to help folks get back to work have to get money from somewhere. Affordable housing has to get built.
In my youth I believed, along with many of my contemporaries, that a mass movement could push the federal government into stopping a war, creating a just economic society and dismantling racial barriers. Now I understand that it is much more important to keep on working at the local level, doing those things that are necessary to move what can be moved. Why? Because anticipating the federal government will, with a single whoosh, solve a problem is like imagining Daddy can come and solve everyone of your problems. Can Dad help? Sure. But only if you’re ready and able to receive help. That’s the local politics. And it goes on whether Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton is in office, Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter, and, yes, George W. Bush or Barack Obama.