Maybe you’re the fun-loving type who doesn’t take a natural interest in politics. Maybe you’d prefer to take a trip to the beach than watch a presidential debate.
If so, I propose to you the idea that you’re making a false distinction between fun and politics. The truth is that, politics is necessary in order to preserve the ability to have fun.
Here’s an example: In Spain, the tourist industry is in trouble because Spanish beaches are being swarmed with huge numbers of jellyfish. The jellyfish are reproducing in immense numbers because the fish that are their predators and competitors have been stripped from the Atlantic ocean by overfishing. Also contributing to the problem is climate change. Jellyfish grow and reproduce faster in warmer waters.
Local authorities are trying to organize armadas of boats to scoop up the jellyfish as they move toward popular beaches, but it’s not at all clear that their efforts will solve the problem.
Beaches covered with slimy, stinging jellyfish are no fun. How, can the problem be solved, though? Politics has to be part of the answer. Individual actions are not enough clear an ocean of jellyfish, or bring back the fish that are on the verge of being driven extinct. An organized, large-scale solution is needed, and creating organized, large-scale solutions is what politics is for.
Of course, not just any politics will do. Some kinds of politics are part of the problem. Right wing politicians have defended the ability of immense fishing operations to strip the oceans of fish for the sake of profit. For decades, they have opposed doing anything about climate change, even denying that the problem exists.
Progressives, on the other hand, have been urging action on the problems of overfishing and global warming for years. If political power had been in progressive hands, problems like jellyfish swarming the beaches of Spain could have been avoided.
It might be too late to salvage the Spanish beaches this summer, but we still have the summers of the future to think of. Vote to protect a day of fun at the beach. Help elect a progressive President in 2008.
(Source: Associated Press, June 9, 2007)