In defense of Michaela Muijica-Steiner
There are many things I would rather do with my time than respond to the self-congratulatory words of an old man who uses condescension and crude insults to compensate for his profound lack of understanding and inability to form a cogent argument. Yet, after reading both Michaela Mujica-Steiner’s article about her activism at the U.N. Climate Summit (Re: “Déjà vu at U.N. Climate talks,” Guest column, Dec. 13, 2018) and Paul Danish’s open letter attacking her (Re: Danish Plan, Dec. 20, 2018) for her work, I find it necessary to say my piece. As a fellow millennial activist, I believe it is important to call out falsehood whenever I see it. And Danish’s article is rife with it.
Danish’s embarrassment of an article makes his ignorance of our Constitution clear. He would do well to re-read the First Amendment, which protects Mujica-Steiner’s right to express political dissent and pressure her government through non-violent protest. She is fully within her rights to “peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Calling her an “authoritarian bully” is pathetic and laughable. She is no authoritarian, but rather an engaged citizen advocating for the world she and her generation will inherit. This is not something to be ridiculed, but to be commended.
Bypassing Danish’s convoluted opinions on nuclear energy, the core difference between Mujica-Steiner’s and Danish’s views on environmentalism boils down to this: Danish wrongly puts the onus of responsibility for climate change on the individual consumer, whereas Mujica-Steiner understands that climate change is a systemic issue which can only be addressed through strategies of systemic change. Whereas Danish shames an activist when she flies to advocate for the interests of her generation’s future in a critical and potent political space, Mujica-Steiner wisely knows to place the blame not on members of the working class, but on the extractive system itself and the wealthy ruling class who selfishly perpetuates it for their own profit and gain.
The reality is that 71 percent of global fossil fuel emissions are caused by only 100 corporations. We must face the hard truth that no amount of cutting back on driving, turning off our lights or using reusable straws in our daily lives will save us if our politicians remain in the pocket of the oil and gas industry. As United States citizens, the single most critical thing we can do to stop massive climate change catastrophe is not “going green” in our personal lives, but disrupting and pressuring our politicians through mass collective action. This is exactly what Mujica-Steiner is doing in her work.
There is a single sentence in Danish’s article that rings true. He is correct when he says that how we choose to address climate change is our call to make, not his. He speaks with all the arrogance and defensiveness of a man who knows his time is up and his beliefs are a dying breed, and his so-called “argument” amounts to little more than “sit down and be quiet, young lady.” In light of willful ignorance such as his, I am even more grateful that it is my generation of skillful and engaged activists such as Mujica-Steiner, and not his, who are helping to lead this vital fight for our world.
Theo Spain via internet
Politicians’ first day on the job
We did our best to welcome the new “blue wave” at the capital on Friday morning, Jan. 4. A group of 100 or so engaged citizens of Colorado Rising (the group that spearheaded Prop 112) made a point to be there at 7:30 a.m. to let the incoming elected officials know that their constituents were still fighting for our right to clean air, clean water and a chance to raise our children in a country that was supposedly a democratic institution. Fracking is our key issue, it ties into every misuse of resources that we are currently facing. The fact that this “new blue wave” that we are supposed to see as a new insurgency didn’t have the balls to walk up the steps and acknowledge our presence, does not bode well for our future. Like all good politicians, they scurried around to the side doors. Now that they are elected officials they can’t be bothered by the riff raff, all except Jonathan Singer. Hats off to him… he was there with us, standing on the steps. The other progressives? Scurried around the corners.
1) Separated thousands of children from their parents at the Mexican border.
2) Authorized the use of tear gas across the border against Honduran refugees.
3) Launched a full-frontal attack on the free press and the intelligence community calling them “fake news” and corrupt.
4) Worst perpetrator of lying and fake news in any presidency.
5) Took the word of Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence on proven Russian spying after which Putin announced a new missile that can penetrate our defense system.
6) Implemented tariffs on steel imports affecting closure of some GM plants and losing valuable foreign agricultural sales due to Chinese retaliation.
7) Continued to ignore the presence of climate change and the realities that are occurring world-wide while doubling down on the failing coal industry.
8) Cited for influence-pedaling in Washington and at Mar-a-Lago.
9.)Fired knowledgeable federal officers while his reckless trade wars and ignorance of basic fiscal principles helped reduce stock market levels in December by 20 percent, or the highest point drop since the great depression.
10) Shut down the government to appease his ego and loyal constituency over a useless wall that will not stop the people who are trying to get here illegally.
11) Regularly proffered hate, fear and lies to Americans, using vicious language not unlike that once used by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy announced that America would endeavor to be the first country to put a man on the moon. Kennedy’s bold vision became a reality 10 years later and united our people together in greatness. In 2016, Donald J. Trump announced he would make America “great again” and start by building a medieval wall between us and Mexico, which instantly divided our country between the reactionary and the enlightened reducing our image to that of a third-world renegade.