Hello, my handle is "kid oakland" and I began writing on dailyKos...a very long time ago.
The reason I bring that up is because when I started out here in 2003, I was 34 years old. That's old enough to have some experience under one's belt, but young enough to still be learning, uh, some significant ropes.
(Also arguably young enough to append "kid" to your handle, but that's another story.)
In 2003 we in the netroots were resisting Bush/Cheney's wars...and absolutely reeling from the 2002 elections. To our credit, over the following five years we played a small but vital role in helping to change the direction of politics in this nation. We deserve to be proud of that.
But looking back is not what I want to do tonight. Tonight, I'd like to ask you look ahead and join me in a conversation...
As a 45 year old man, and a committed political activist, I am torn.
There is so much to be optimistic about. We are building a world in which bigotry and ignorance are giving way to science, the free exchange of information and increasing expectations of economic equality and social justice.
At the same time, over the next 25 years, if not sooner, the fate of the Earth's climate will have been definitively determined. To flip Churchill's famous phrase, never before has so much depended on the cooperation, in ways great and small, of so many of us, and been put at risk by the greed of the few.
What's worse is that we begin these 25 years facing an obscene increase in inequality not just of wealth, but inequality in the majority's power to claim our fair share in the basic requirements for happiness: healthy food and water, safety and security in our homes and communities, equal access to education and healthcare, and the right to be fairly compensated and treated for our work and contributions to society.
We see this clearly in our nation.
In the United States the levers of our democracy are being handed to the wealthy, our fundamental privacies have been violated, the rights of workers are under attack, and, despite our best efforts, more power and wealth is held in the hands of the richest few than at any other point in any of our lifetimes.
Big oil, big ag, big banks, big pharma, big guns, and, now, big data rule the elite discussion in Washington D.C., and, with the blessings of the current Supreme Court, sow confusion and misinformation everywhere else.
That's the difference between us and them.
Massive corporations do everything for one simple reason, to consolidate ever more money and power into their own hands.
We beg to differ. We want to make the world a better place for everyone, as equals. We are committed to building a sustainable planet. We deeply understand that the values expressed in the phrases "with liberty and justice for all" and "the pursuit of happiness" are not synonymous with bigotry, intolerance, greed, and superstition. What's more, we see those values as directly connected to the proper regulation of a nation's business by its citizens.
We agree that science, equality and a fair and well-regulated economy are the cornerstones of a sustainable future for ourselves and our children...and we'd like to have a fun time getting there, to boot!
What I'd like to share with you tonight, however, and put forward for discussion, is this simple insight.
Unless we collectively come up with a way to regulate big oil, big ag, big banks, big pharma, big guns and big data and restrain their vast impact on our planet and power over the laws of our nation...and soon...we can kiss the Earth's current climate and all of our dreams of a world with increasing social justice, freedom, and economic equality, "goodbye."