Presidential election crucial to nation, environment



The day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt addressed the nation and said the famously powerful words: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.” This quote can and should be used to also describe Jan. 20, 2001, the date in which George W. Bush was sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States. The impact this date has had on the world is immeasurable, and will quite likely never be recoverable.

It is sometimes very difficult to imagine how different our world would be if the Gore-Lieberman ticket had been determined the winner of the 2000 election, but I think it is important we sometimes look at our mistakes to become better decision-makers and voters in the future.

When Bill Clinton left office, the country was in a wonderful economic situation. He left the next president with a budget surplus and had improved foreign relations. With Gore stepping in, it is quite likely the U.S. would have continued to be prosperous.

However, the Bush administration destroyed this surplus and turned it into a deficit by giving unfunded tax cuts to the wealthy.

The largest and most detrimental impact of the Bush administration was the corrupt energy policy decisions that were made. Extremely dirty fossil fuel industries, such as coal and oil, were given huge tax breaks, and the people who were directly affected by the pollutants related to the extraction and combustion of these industries were completely forgotten.

The policies made during the Bush administration are arguably man’s largest contribution to global climate change, and those decisions can never be taken back. They were made with intentions of helping the wealthy, without any regard to the environment. Gore has shown time and time again his commitment to saving the world from the destruction that is going to occur from global climate change, and would have led this country to be a leader in the innovation of clean, renewable energy technologies. Not only would this have led to energy independence, it would have allowed the U.S. to be a responsible global steward of the earth.

As young people, we are the generation that is going to determine the fate of the future of our species. If we stand up for the importance of protecting the environment, then global ecosystems will reward us by providing sustainable sources of energy that will produce the energy we need while not poisoning us in the process.

For progressive decisions to be made for the greater good of our planet, we need people like Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to stay in power and to be given more opportunities to push legislation like the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. Jackson has shown time and time again that she will fight for environmental justice, and her role is vital in the Obama administration.

As we prepare to enter the homestretch of the Republican nomination and subsequent presidential election, we need to bear in mind the horrendous mistake our country made in 2000. Another mistake such as this will hurt for generations to come. Do you want to be responsible for telling your grandchildren that your vote contributed to the continued destruction of the only global ecosystem we have?