I have great respect for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., but this AlterNet essay exemplifies a fundamental flaw in the thinking of current mainstream environmentalists. His argument is that, despite Bush’s re-election, the election actually demonstrated broad support for environmental protections. He says:
In the face of recent rhetoric about an alleged mandate, it’s clear the challenge is greater than ever. But the important thing is that the fundamental politics of the environment did not change with this election.
But this gets things backwards. The “important thing” is not that despite Bush’s election, people still support green positions. The important thing is that despite people’s support of green positions, Bush got re-elected.
Broad support for environmentalism should not be blithely considered good news for enviros. We are losing — losing elections and losing momentum. That we are doing so despite public support for the substance of our agenda is an indictment, not an indication that the losing is some sort of incidental challenge.
Winning is not everything, as Vince Lombardi once said. It’s the only thing.
Get Grist in your inbox