Dear Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz:
In yesterday's mail I received a letter over your signature asking for a donation to the Democratic National Committee, which you chair. Along with the letter you included what you call "the official 2013 Democratic Party Survey." You tell me, "You are among a select group of Democratic leaders being asked to participate." It must not be that select if I'm in it, and my suspicion is that the only purpose of the survey is to get me to send it with "a generous contribution of $20, $30, $40 or more." For now, though, I'll take this at face value and believe that you want my opinion.
I was deeply disappointed by this survey. Its Section IV asks me to rank "13 national issues by their level of priority." They include things I certainly believe in, like "Protecting Social Security" and "Stopping gun violence." They also include some of little or no interest to me, like "Reducing the Deficit" and "Dealing with Iran," whatever that means. Climate change is not even one of those choices. In the view of the DNC it must rank no better than fourteenth among the issues confronting us.
The closest thing to climate change among those thirteen was "Energy Independence." However, energy independence often means the exact opposite of dealing with the threat of climate change. It usually includes support for:
- the Keystone XL pipeline and other schemes for extracting oil from tar sands;
- hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” to extract natural gas from shale rocks;
- increased drilling offshore and in the ANWR;
- and even the increased us of coal, maybe referring to the chimera of "clean coal" and probably using mountaintop removal to get at it.
These would reduce our dependence on oil from the Mideast, and I understand the strategic value of that. They would also allow us to prolong our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels, the supply of which is ultimately limited anyway. They would distract us from further development of renewable energy sources. They would lead directly to increased emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. They are a recipe for climate disaster.
Responding adequately and promptly to climate change is by far the preeminent issue of our time. In its urgency, its difficulty, and its potential consequences it surpasses previous generations' challenges posed by two world wars, depression and communism. We now face the prospect of damage to the earth that could last a thousand years or more, and countless generations that follow us will have nothing but scorn if we fail to meet this challenge.
Since last November's election the President has been much more forceful and specific in his plans to combat climate change. I am concerned that he still talks about an "all of the above" strategy, but his increased commitment is very welcome. The DNC, on the other hand, seems not to have received that memo and remains completely clueless.
Therefore I am unable at this time to comply with your request for a donation. I have over the last several years given many, many hours of my time to canvass for Democratic candidates but I also will be unable to work for any candidate who is as oblivious to the current peril as the DNC is. Since you have generously included with your letter a postage paid envelope I will use it to send this letter. Since my letter will probably just be shredded by a mail clerk at the fund raising company you no doubt employ I am emailing this to you as well.
Dale G. Nichols