Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson walk into a bar…

April 17, 2008 at 7:01 am Leave a comment

Check out the video ^.

Al and Tipper recently poured $300 million dollars (presumably from Occidental Petroleum stock dividends) into an ad campaign promoting bipartisan pursuit of climate solutions. The idea is to bring together two “polar opposites” (get it?) and have them agree on the urgency of addressing climate change before poking at each other’s lower priorities, such as state executions or religious tolerance. So far, I’ve seen the one with Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson, sharing a sofa on a beach in black and white (get it?). Supposedly, there’s a Nancy Pelosi/Newt Gengrich one out there, but I haven’t found it yet.

Could someone please give Al Gore a public office so he doesn’t have to waste his time debating endorsement contracts with “thought leader” celebrities? If a Democrat wins the White House, I hope he gets made Secretary of Energy (although I’d settle for Agriculture–he wouldn’t be in the news as often, but it’s a way bigger budget). If we don’t act fast, he’s going to be out on the streets with a cardboard sign around his neck that reads, “Will Lose Elections for Food.”

Now, while this gimmick is easy to pick apart, that doesn’t mean the message is invalid. I got a really strange feeling when I first saw this ad, because it warped my usual perceptions; here were Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson agreeing on something I supported. What was I supposed to do with that information? It helped me illustrate the difference between a locally-driven and ideologically-driven movement. It relates to a larger problem I’ve noticed among my resistance community. We can be very dogmatic, and this creates a superficial obstacle to parternships with the potential for projects, campaigns, and movements that make a historical impact. Usually, this breaks down to highschool cliquishness with a bigger vocabulary. A student group I’m involved in, Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville (SPEAK), recently began working with another student group, Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), on a green jobs initiative in Knoxville. This collaboration began in Memphis, at the 2008 Dream Reborn Conference. Since then, I’ve encountered criticism ranging from disappointment to disdain from some of the other activist groups on campus. Without ever having met with the members of SIFE or reviewing the plan we were developing together, these students were prejudiced against the project because of a knee-jerk reaction to the phrase “Free Enterprise.” Since when did trying to sustain oneself and one’s community independent of a larger grid make you a sell-out? This is one more reason why an open-ended, consensus-based movement is more resilient and influential than an ideologically-driven program. There’s a difference between a swarm and a flock.


Entry filed under: southern energy network.

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