We won a huge victory in the Senate yesterday, when Majority Leader Reid managed to cobble together enough votes to block a GOP amendment forcing approval of the Keystone Pipeline. It was close (a 2-vote margin) but frankly I was not at all sure we could prevail--the influence of oil money in Congress is so enormous. (The 56 Senators that voted yes together took 300% more money from fossil fuel interests than those that voted no).
So--thanks are due to the Senate leadership, and to the administration. They were willing to take real heat.
But the deepest thanks are for all of you who made this campaign happen in the summer and fall--the 1253 people who went to jail, the 12,000 who surrounded theWhtie House shoulder to shoulder, the 800,000 who sent messages to the Senate in a single day. We made enough noise that it was still echoing in DC, just loudly enough to pull off yesterday's win. And DK was a big part of that noise--the intense coverage of the civil disobedience action helped break it through to the national media, and made sure that this was seen as a key part of the progressive message. The comments section on many diaries were full of good ideas we adopted. This is a powerful community.
What we together showed, I think, is that people power can beat oil money. It doesn't happen often, but if we manage to unify, think creatively, and make real sacrifices we can get something done. In this sense, Keystone was a learning exercise. In the end, the pipeline may get built (for sure if Romney gets elected) but even this temporary victory has taught us a lot.
And next, we need to stop just playing defense against bad projects and go on the offense. The next clear target is subsidies for fossil fuels--why are we paying the richest industry on earth billions in taxpayer dollars? Keep an eye on 350.org for details in the next few days.
But for now--so many thanks for a job well done. Yes, the planet is still warming fast. But I feel real hope today.