Earlier this week, Presidential candidate and Washington Governor Jay Inslee dropped out of the race. He had met the fund-raising goals that would allow him a spot in the next Democratic debate, but he never really got the level of support that it was going to take, and he eventually bowed to that reality. With him gone, the potential positive environmental impact of the race has undoubtedly taken a huge hit.
I don’t know if Mr. Inslee would have made a good Prez or not… he’s a decent Governor, but Washington state is a long way from Washington DC, by every measure available. I do know that, with him gone back to Olympia, we are likely to hear less about climate, renewable energy sources and actual science over the run-up to the vote. His departure says less about him than it does about the American electorate.
The simple fact is that the average American cares more about his or her 401k than dead polar bears. Some value the idea of building a border wall, without the most basic acknowledgment that both sides of the border are headed for an environmental disaster. Others, at the opposite end of the political spectrum think that by being inclusive and socially progressive, by attending to society’s issues of racial inequality, they will somehow have an impact on fossil fuel dependency and species depletion. The dilution of environmental effort, rechanneling winnable issues into swampy logic about unrelated and intractable problems, is as much to blame for the downward spiral as anything the Koch brothers ever did.
Inslee’s decision is proof, as if we needed it, that this country is not ready yet to actually advance meaningful decisions about climate and the environment. Important and hard-fought regulations have been slashed and burned like the Amazon rainforest by the current political carnival show in DC, and the negative results are apparent everywhere you look. The insanity has become institutionalized and it seems we don’t care.