icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


Climate Change & White Privilege

Recently my daughter Rachel argued that my refusal to vote for Clinton because of her climate change policies is a reflection of my white privilege.

Her argument went this way: Because I am a relatively affluent older straight white male, I don’t have immediate concerns that poor people, people of color, women and the LGBTQ community have about a Trump presidency. Rachel did not belittle my climate-change concerns. She agreed about the gravity of environmental situation, but said I have the privilege of stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, while the more vulnerable people in our country can’t afford to do that.

It makes sense that some people are more fearful than I am of a Trump victory - people whose children are in danger of being shot by a cop, whose family members could be detained and deported as undocumented or denied access to a needed abortion. However, while that argument justifies their position, it does not undercut mine.

Trump could make matters worse, but cops are already murdering young African-Americans under the current administration and there is no evidence that a Clinton presidency would change that. As Secretary of State, Clinton facilitated the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected President of Honduras, transforming that nation into a killing zone which, in turn, has created a flood of refugees we are now trying to deport. Clinton also has a long history of supporting policies that have screwed poor people.

While Trump might increase the oppression of the poor and undocumented in this country, Clinton’s neo-liberal economic policies in support of multinational corporations and extractionism will accelerate the destruction of habitats and livelihoods of tens, even hundreds, of millions of indigenous people in Latin America, Africa and Asia. A Clinton presidency is an immediate and dire threat to those people. And ask the people in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere who will be bombed to smithereens when hawkish Hillary takes over if they’d find her presidency acceptable in order to avoid Trump. It may seem insensitive, but just as I may be more insulated from a Trump presidency, at least some of the domestic poor can afford a Clinton presidency more easily than those on other continents whose lives her policies will destroy.

Finally, I will not vote for Clinton because my reading of the science teaches me that her policies will push us over tipping points that will generate positive feedback loops that will destroy the productive capacity of the planet. It may appear less immediate because of the lag between the production of greenhouse gases and their full impact, but we have run out of time. It won’t matter what color, gender or age you are when we face biospheric collapse. We are all in the same boat and we will all go down with the ship.

We need more people withdrawing support from those whose policies will spur climate chaos. Perhaps my privilege enables me to do so, but it is still imperative.  Read More 
Be the first to comment