President Obama connected the dots and exposed how the dysfunctional Republican agenda is literally destroying the beautiful country that we live in.
The President said:
Our country is home to some of the most beautiful God-given landscapes in the world. We’re blessed with natural treasures – from the Grand Tetons to the Grand Canyon; from lush forests and vast deserts to lakes and rivers teeming with wildlife. And it’s our responsibility to protect these treasures for future generations, just as previous generations protected them for us.
Since taking office, I’ve set aside more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters – more than any President in history. Last month, we announced that 11 states had come together with ranchers, and industry groups to protect a threatened species – the sage grouse – without jeopardizing local economies. Two weeks ago, we announced that we’re creating one new marine sanctuary on the Potomac River in Maryland, and another along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin – part of unprecedented efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. We also joined a coalition of countries cracking down on illegal fishing that threatens jobs and food security around the globe. And I’m going to keep protecting the places that make America special, and the livelihoods of those who depend on them.
We’ll also keep doing what we can to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late. Over the past six years, we’ve led by example, generating more clean energy and lowering our carbon emissions. Our businesses have stepped up in a big way, including just this past week. Some of our biggest companies made new commitments to act on climate – not just because it’s good for the planet, but because it’s good for their bottom line.
This is how America is leading on the environment. And because America is leading by example, 150 countries, representing over 85% of global emissions, have now laid out plans to reduce their levels of the harmful carbon pollution that warms our planet. And it gives us great momentum going into Paris this December, where the world needs to come together and build on these individual commitments with an ambitious, long-term agreement to protect this Earth for our kids.
Now Congress has to do its job. This month, even as Republicans in Congress barely managed to keep our government open, they shut down something called the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For more than half a century, this fund has protected more than 5 million acres of land – from playgrounds to parks to priceless landscapes – all without costing taxpayers a dime. Nearly every single county in America has benefited from this program. It has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Republicans in Congress should reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund without delay.
After all, as Pope Francis reminds us so eloquently, this planet is a gift from God – and our common home. We should leave it to our kids in better shape than we found it.
The best presidents all possess the ability to connect the dots to help the American people understand how patterns of behavior on individual issues combine to impact the nation.
The Republican refusal to pass legislation that doesn’t fit their narrow ideology of benefits for the wealthy and corporations is literally destroying the physical beauty of the country. Many Republicans don’t believe in public lands. They want to sell our preserved natural beauty to the energy industry and corporations.
When the epidemic of Republican dysfunction is mentioned, it is often talked about concerning the Congressional majority’s inability to solve a crisis, but the Republican ideology itself is dysfunction. The closing of the Land and Water Conservation Fund demonstrates their out of step priorities that put corporate profit over the common good.
President Obama is using his bully pulpit to call attention to the destructiveness of the Republican ideology. There is more at stake than income inequality. The very environment that we need for survival is under assault from Republican corporate ideologues.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association