The White House had its first official press briefing today, giving Sean Spicer another opportunity to deny reality. While that cognitive dissonance was occurring, another much more nefarious compromise with the truth was taking place in the halls of Congress. Senators Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and John McCain stood united…in their support of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State.
Tillerson, like the Senators who support him, was paid to be at war with the truth of climate change in his duties as the CEO of Exxon Mobil. McCain, who supported Trump after he insulted him for his time as a prisoner of war, was willing to support the CEO of a company that was friendly with anti-democratic regimes around the globe and the Russian government specifically. Rubio, a climate change denier who represents a state that could be devastated by rising oceans, was also quick to flip on Tillerson, despite a hard line of questioning in the confirmation hearing. Graham, who never met a country he didn’t want to go to war with, also supports Tillerson after hearing that he is of a similar mindset. These people, sadly, exist on the left as well.
These Senators have shown time and time again that the bedrock of their governing philosophy lies in violence and money for corporations that don’t believe in democracy. Particularly for the latter, it’s all about the bottom line. They’re willing to rob nation’s of their wealth, their clean environment. They won’t hesitate to brutalize indigenous people in the name of oil.
So let’s do something about it.
350.org has launched a very successful campaign to divest holdings of oil and gas companies. According to their website, over 690 institutional, governmental, individual and organizational investment portfolios have divested or have committed to divest in part or full from fossil fuels (they provide citations for these calculations). These portfolios represent over $5 trillion in assets (please note that this does not mean over $5 trillion in fossil fuel stock and assets have been sold, it just represents the value of the portfolios). Divestment campaigns, such as the one that helped bring about the end of apartheid in South Africa, can be very successful. There is no reason to think that this campaign can’t accomplish our goal of moving the world successfully to a clean energy economy.
Don’t lose sight of the dangers of falsehoods in policy at any level. Everyone, from your local school board officials to the President of the United States deserves nothing but scrutiny and accountability. Indeed, I can think of few things that better exemplify patriotism than holding yourself and your elected officials to high ethical standards. Supporting dictatorships, seeking blood money and being pro-violence does not meet those standards.