Channeling FDR to fight global warming


by Rick Fuentes | September 24, 2009 • President Obama must truly tire of all the comparisons to FDR: the booming voice, the easy charisma, and an administration that must deal with an economic disaster that could choke a goat. But wait, there’s more…

In 1939, only 20 percent of Americans favored going to war with Germany, even after Hitler’s rampage through Scandinavia and Czechoslovakia. Polls showed that 80 percent of Americans distrusted Hitler and expected him to expand his empire beyond Eastern Europe and threaten the U.S. all the way to Ireland, but the public will to intervene militarily was still weak. Congress also was stuck in neutral. As such, FDR embarked on a massive publicity campaign to demonize Hitler and Nazism.

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Ancient history? We would never stand by today while a global threat is looming over the planet, right?

Consider the global threat of climate change. A force threatens to alter the ecosystem and economic livelihood of every single person on this planet, yet the U.S. stands still with a climate bill stuck between legislative chambers. President Obama has promised that climate change will be addressed–not only to mitigate its effects on Americans but also to create jobs that will repair a damaged economy.

Recent polls have eerie similarities to the pre-WWII era. A majority of Americans say climate change is a serious issue, but it ranks last out of 20 on lists of problems the U.S. has to face. What’s needed is another campaign that forces America to curb global warming without scaring the American public or its leaders into inaction or denial. Rather than waiting for Paris to fall before poll numbers show a rebound, efforts to explain how the fight can be beneficial to the United States must engage citizens directly.

The problem? Fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have made us dependent and shown us chaotic, unpredictable spikes in price. And it’s fossil fuels that have polluted our planet since the 18th century. By making the transition to clean energy, we can move forward to a cleaner, healthier, and independent future for our children and our country.

(Historical facts here can be found in Steven Casey’s excellent book, Cautious Crusade.)