The Two-Minute Warning, Colltalers
‘Surprise: 10 Biggest Oil and Gas Multinationals Switch to Wind and Solar Energy.’ ‘President Trump Is Removed From Office.’ ‘Public Schools Adopt Green New Deal.’ ‘Three Ex-Presidential Candidates to Head Newly-Created Race, Immigration and Labor Reform Bureaus.’ ‘Supreme Court Upholds Removal; Criminal Case to Follow it.’ ‘Pot Is Now Legal.’ ‘Troops Finally Arrive Home From the Middle East.’ ‘Democrats Retake White House.’
We’re not too far from these headlines. Right on cue, millions of women have marched again Saturday in Washington, D.C. and 200 cities around the world. Their lead sets the standards for this crucial election year. Given the right pressure, the impeachment against the U.S. president has the potential of disarticulating his political base, leaving him with his 30 million supporters and not much else. And then there’ll be us, pushing it all over the hump.
We’ll be back to that in a minute, but first Australia, which in past weeks has offered a horrifying glimpse of things to come very fast to everybody else. The dystopian pictures of a continental-size inferno clearly showed that there are not two sides to the climate emergency crisis: there’s one, which is based on facts and is proven by a tragic reality. And then there are corporate interests willing to choke anyone to death to hide their true motivation.
We mourn the dead, including the (correctly) estimated billion animals who may have perished in the fires. We also grieve over what may get even worse if it’s up to the current Australian administration, and the country’s most notorious citizen, Rupert Murdoch, still at his evil self. (And rather pointlessly wonder why Mick Jagger’s former wife Jerry Hall would swear love, seek shelter, and bring her own kids to the household of such an ogre).
Neither Australia’s woes, not Murdoch are ‘local’ phenomena; what’s happening to the world’s 13th-largest economy,
and the role the creator of the nefarious Fox News and Sky News networks has been playing for decades, are happening with increased frequency all over. Interesting how strange bedfellows, climate change denial and corrupt journalism, can seamlessly breed such a perfect storm on a global scale: pollution and misinformation.
They’re now fully engaged in preventing the natural conclusion most people are getting at: polluters should foot the bill for the damage caused by their enterprises. Just like plastic producers should be liable for the trash they create, we want the same inflexibility they all subscribe to when it comes to sending to jail the poor for being poor. For half a century, big oil and gas knew they were wrecking the planet. And yet, most don’t even pay their taxes.
At the dawn of 2020 we can still say that there’s time. Maybe our falling national levels of science proficiency have something to do with it, but a U.N. Center for Biological Diversity report says that saving life on this planet would cost a meager $100 billion, a fraction of the U.S. military budget to kill people it doesn’t like. The roadmap addresses the ‘insect apocalypse’ and decline of vital ecosystems, but the usual suspects will say it’s ‘fake news.’
Never mind the Sex Pistols; scientific research and the global mobilization of the young prove that it is possible to stop this train wreck by removing some of its key parts. The U.K. is mostly lost? Eastern Europe won’t quit coal? Infamous ‘mini-trumps’ are jockeying to reach power? Trump minions won’t look at the evidence? Never mind the bollocks; there are more of us than they, and if all women and all just-18 and over decide to vote, we win.
‘What are humans made of.’ ‘What should I do with my life.’ ‘How not to get away with murder.’ ‘How will the earth end.’ ‘How to be more beautiful.’ Never mind Google Searches either; these discouraging entries are as deceiving as our social networks’ profiles: a fiction even its authors believe in.
Instead, don’t give up on fact-based reality, and yes, some newspapers and a few viewer-sponsored sites do report verifiable news without commercial breaks. Search for that, instead – and join efforts to pressure Google, Apple, Amazon, and all other gargantuan corporations to pay their due taxes.
“Be sure that we will keep the pressure alive. We’ve never made any gain in civil rights without constant, persistent, legal and non-violent pressure.” That was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s on his ‘Three Evils’ speech – racism, poverty, and war – in Atlanta, May 1967. His message across time is one of resilience and conviction on the fairness of our purpose. Perfect to defeat the horrors sown by pro-gun, white supremacists rallying in Richmond, V.A.
What those wishful headlines are useful for is to focus on what’s at stake. We may not see them in our lifetimes, because bigger changes are needed first. But that doesn’t mean what they announce won’t happen; no matter what, the corporate media will take their sponsors’ side. But we don’t have to.
There is no longer time for hope but for engagement, dedication, resistance. Women are showing the way, and we won’t take any more talk on whether one can be the next U.S. president either. Kids are sacrificing their own education to educate us to be adults. Let’s not waste time trying to convince anyone; the human brain is a marvel as long as it’s active; not everyone uses it. We’ve got a mission should we accept it: keep fossils on the ground.
This must be the year of accountability: fossil fuel businesses must divest or get out of business; war profiteers must be banned from the White House; the Supreme Court can’t be coerced by the executive branch, or become race, class, or pro-business-biased; candidates can’t be funded by big money. Media airwaves belong to the people and should serve them, not advertisers. We must have the clarity to understand that there’s no future with rampant social inequality; at one point, the wealthy always choose themselves over everyone else. But the Earth is ours to save it, should we choose to do it.
In Zaire, Norman Mailer saw a moment of fear in Muhammad Ali’s eyes at the beginning of his 1974 fight with George Foreman. But he overcame it and knocked down the giant in the eight-round. It’s not always good to be back, and we’re well acquainted with that fear that Ali must have felt. But like him, we’ve got no choice either; we’re trapped on this ring, with no place to run but to fight (and rope-a-dope whenever needed). So, let’s dance. WC