It’s no secret that there’s a fair amount of tension in the Democratic Party right now— tension between the more centrist old guard, and the more liberal/progressive new guard. The old guard advocates incrementalism under the banner of pragmatism and hewing to a traditional, business-friendly stance. The new guard has planted their flag up on the hill of large and sweeping changes. The old guard occupies most of the leadership roles in the party and in Congress. The new guard is more adept at using social media. The old guard is typified by Nancy Pelosi. The new guard’s most recognized member is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
On the whole I identify more closely with the politics, aims, and aspirations of the new guard. That said, I can see the possibility of compromise with the old guard, as long as it’s a compromise between our two viewpoints, rather than the old guard demanding that we accept their leadership before seeking compromise with the Republicans. I can even see the old guard’s point about making incremental changes as a way to slowly, but surely, build societal and political change. There is one area, though, where I reject their philosophy. Climate change.
The time for an incremental approach to slowing, stopping, and reversing climate change was thirty years ago. Twenty years ago we could have agreed on an accelerated timetable for incremental change. Ten years ago, I don’t know. Today? Today incremental change is no longer acceptable. Incremental change is no longer good enough. Incremental change will kill us all. So when Nancy Pelosi mocks the idea of a Green New Deal, when the old guard mocks the ideals—the urgency—of the new guard: no thanks. Your time is past and you are no longer worthy of the leadership of my party.