Why Ocean Lovers Should Do More Politically

Posted by: Mike Dunmyer

Recently, we’ve been writing a lot about Senator Olympia Snowe’s sudden retirement announcement.  We discussed at length the impact this has on ocean politics, and will continue to work closely to find and help the best pro-ocean candidate to replace her.  Today, I read an op-ed from Senator Snowe on why she’s leaving, and it made me want to write this quick blog.

First, you’ve got to read the Senator’s op-ed in the Washington Post.  It’s thoughtful and interesting, and is consistent with ideas she’s expressed to us recently.  It also lays bare a critique that many people have these days; the Senate is simply a dysfunctional mess right now.

We don’t disagree, and many of our friends feel the same way.  Unfortunately, a fairly common response we see from some of our friends is to disengage from politics and from the democratic process.  On this, we vehemently disagree.  The only way to fix a broken system is to engage in more intensely than ever.  In her op-ed, Senator Snowe implores people to do this, saying:

“For change to occur, our leaders must understand that there is not only strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honor in consensus-building — but also a political reward for following these tenets. That reward will be real only if the people demonstrate their desire for politicians to come together after the planks in their respective party platforms do not prevail.”

This is what we do.  Ocean Champions works with Members from both parties to try and find common ground on good policies that will help the ocean.  When that happens, we applaud and reward the Members who made it happen. These may not be “perfect” environmental solutions, but they are positive, they’re the ones that are able to get done, and they keep us moving forward.

I must also say that as I’ve gotten to know our endorsed champions better over time, I am almost always impressed that these are the people who will work across the aisle to keep moving forward for ocean health (and for other important issues as well). These are people you can feel good about, trying to build a democratic process that you can cheer.

So, ocean lovers out there, don’t walk away from the mess you see.  Help us solve it by engaging in democracy and politics more deeply than ever.  Together, we can take our government back from polarizing special interests and restore the place of consensus building public interests.

Date Posted: March 2, 2012 @ 10:20 am Comments Off

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