Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tuesday's ponderings

I heard a troubling program on NPR this morning about Alaskans and their attitude toward global warming. Since they are on the front edge of the receiving end of global warming they cannot ignore its immediate impact with the permafrost melting and ice getting thinner. But the program’s conclusion was that Alaskans are more focused on how they can cope with the day- to-day reality of global warming rather than addressing the causes. The image that comes to mind for me in that strategy is when someone is bailing water out of a sinking boat, but does not fix the hole in the bottom of the boat. On Tuesday, while I understand these are non-binding referendum, the voters of Illinois demonstrated that they wanted legislators to address some root causes of poverty, and some of the ongoing root causes of our social fraying. Votes overwhelmingly said yes to: raising the minimum wage, women’s health and birth control, funding mental health services, universal background checks, passing laws that protect voters’ rights. Of course the challenge of these votes is their legislative implementation. But, with these votes legislators were urged to move forward on bills to address these issues. These votes are encouraging and help direct the focus away from our just coping, toward addressing root causes of disenfranchisement for so many people in our state.

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