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Dear Conservatives,

I'm writing you today to let you know that the train to the future is about to leave the station and a majority of Americans are already on it, seats taken and luggage safely stored away. Most folks were quite happy to book their ticket early for Destination Sustainable Planet with stops along Basic Human Rights, Equality for All, and a Fair Shake for Everyone, but the doors are still open and there's time to hop on.

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I know you think this train is heading towards socialism, and you don't like the sound of that. But what you read about socialism in the brochure isn't really what socialism looks like. It's an entirely different place than advertised.

How do I know this?

Before immigrating to the great USA I was born and raised in Socialandia, and it's actually what you would consider quite conservative. For example, in my neck of the socialist woods we have some of the biggest multinational capitalist companies in the world, like Daimler, Porsche, and Bosch. My brother for example has been working for Daimler for 25 years, and while the company is quite profitable and considered very conservative, he gets to share the wealth by receiving many benefits like good pay, six weeks vacation, flex time, educational opportunities, and guaranteed retirement benefits.

And speaking of automobiles, even though these socialists love their cars as much as you do, they also realize that they've got to be more conservative with their oil consumption. They're pretty psyched about smaller, more efficient cars that not only save them a lot of money but allow them to express their individuality, move around more freely, and park more easily. All with a Mercedes engine...

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In fact, most of these socialists like their freedom so much that they don't want to be dependent on dwindling oil resources and the whims of a few oil monopolies that they happily get out of their car whenever possible and welcome the kinds of infrastructure improvements that enable easier access by foot or by bike. Not getting stuck in traffic gives them so much more time, flexibility, and the opportunity to stop for a quick cup of coffee on their way to work. Plus, they like taking the kind of personal responsibility for their physical health that a daily bike ride to and from work contributes to.

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Some of the most conservative folks, just like in America, live in the more rural areas of Socialandia. A lot of them are small farmers and they have a rugged individual streak for sure. That's why they love solar energy. The idea of supplying the power for your own electricity needs not only matches their independent spirit, but the fact that they can make extra money selling back excess power from their big barn roofs to supplement their hard-earned farming income is just icing on the cake. Really a no-brainer for any economically-savvy, fiscally-responsible, and freedom-loving land owner.

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All kinds of regular citizens of Socialandia have taken the personal initiative to build the infrastructure for a clean energy future. For example, my cousin’s ex-husband is one of the test pilots for the airplane that made the first solar powered intercontinental round-trip flight just a few weeks ago. Many self-reliant folks are building houses and entire towns that produce more energy than they consume. In true entrepreneurial fashion, a bunch of parents in one town started their own renewable power company and modernized their electrical grid after the old power company refused to support their customers in conserving energy. Their company now provides power from over 1,800 solar, hydroelectric, wind, biomass and cogeneration facilities to 115,000 homes and businesses throughout the country.

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But it's not just the businesses, scientists, parents, workers, and farmers in Socialandia who have realized that investing in renewable energy is the only way to assure that their children and grandchildren will have the same opportunity and mobility to move around on a livable planet. Religious leaders all over are stressing that God has given us this planet not to trash it and suck every last drop of oil out of, but to take care of it and pass it on to the next generations in no worse but preferably better shape than we found it.

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What's that you say? A lot of these clean energy developments wouldn't be happening without government subsidies?

You're right. The Socialandia government has been offering feed-in electricity tariffs to encourage the use of new energy technologies for years. Just this year, the government announced that it would invest $263 billion (8% of GDP!) in offshore wind farms that will cover an area six times the size of New York City and erect power lines that could stretch from London to Baghdad. This all on the heels of its targeted switch to 100 percent renewables by 2050 to become the world's first major industrial nation to kick the fossil-fuel habit.

vauban_68But get this — it's the CONSERVATIVE LEADER of the CONSERVATIVE PARTY who has been pushing for the world's most ambitious plan to power an industrial economy on renewable sources of energy, because it's the ultimate pro-business, pro-family, pro-Christian, pro-life (on earth), and pro-fiscally-responsible conservative position to hold. Also, the citizens of Socialandia, some of the most productive and hard-working people who are driving one of the strongest economies in the world are demanding that their leaders advocate for a sustainable economic plan and clean energy infrastructure in which they can continue to be the most productive for generations to come.

It's quite simple: You can't do business or raise your children on a dead planet. So what people in Socialandia have realized is that to not unnecessarily waste the planet's dwindling resources and to do everything we can to keep an already warming planet from spinning out of control is neither conservative nor socialist — it's survivalist.

I know you don't want to get on this train because right now Barack Obama is the conductor, and you don't trust him because he's a socialist, or something. But you see, this is not about the conductor, this is about the tracks this train is running on and the places it's destined for.

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The switches to the future are all pointing in the direction of developing new sources of clean energy and not wasting so much of it in the first place. It's true that in this upcoming election the only train to get on is President Obama's because Mitt Romney is sitting in his limousine, ready to pick up a few of his buddies, and turn around as quickly as possible. But there's really no reason why you as a conservative can't get on the train without losing your conservative bona fides. In fact, the train would run so much more smoothly if you stopped blocking the tracks and got on it, so we could start having a meaningful debate with you on how to run it most efficiently. Either way, the American people are getting on this train, and it ain't coming back.

The cool thing is that even if you don't make this train, you can still catch the next one. There are daily departures, and enough room for everybody. You can, of course, keep standing on the platform, shaking your fist at everyone for going on this journey of their lives, wishing they were just standing there with you, pouting. But why be miserable and wish for everyone else to be miserable as well, when you could just hop on and travel to a better, greener, and cleaner future? The ticket is a bit of an investment, but the returns of co-creating a livable future for our children and grandchildren are of such immeasurable value that you can't even put a price tag on it.

Just know this: whether you keep standing there waving your fist or try barricading the tracks, these trains are going to keep leaving in the same direction. They're not stopping, and they're surely not going backwards.

So what do you have to lose except for a little bit of partisan pride you've been holding on to for just a bit too long? Step on in, the doors are wide open. We're really all together on this trip.

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crossposted at A World of Words

Originally posted to Ecomusings by Sven Eberlein on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 08:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by J Town, Dream Menders, and SFKossacks.

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