Children can be an effective political prop. They shouldn’t be used as an excuse to avoid making policy arguments.
In February, children with the Sunrise Movement Bay Area delivered a letter to Sen, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., encouraging her to support the Green New Deal. That’s the pie-in-the-sky proposal offered by socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to eliminate fossil fuel use and upgrade the energy efficiency of every building in America over the next 10 years.
When about 15 children showed up at Feinstein’s San Francisco office and confronted her on the topic, the senator — a liberal stalwart known for sponsoring legislation such as a ban on assault weapons — told them that members of the upper chamber “had our own Green New Deal.”
The kids weren’t impressed.
“Some scientists have said that we have 12 years to turn this around,” one child said.
“Well, it’s not going to get turned around in 10 years,” Sen. Feinstein said.
After further badgering, a testy Sen. Feinstein told the kids, “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing. You come in here and you say, “It has to be my way or the highway.’ I don’t respond to that.”
Sen. Feinstein’s ham-fisted response was captured on social media, of course. This created a political headache: A video that went viral of her lecturing the children. Without naming Sen. Feinstein, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez implied the senator was one of the people who has “been failing at the same things for 30 or 40 years.” In an attempt to stop the blowback, Sen. Feinstein put out a statement saying the children “were heard loud and clear.” She labeled the exchange a “spirited discussion.”
The dustup — especially in the age of social media — shows why most politicians stick with platitudes and pleasantries when talking with children. However impolitic Sen. Feinstein was, the adults orchestrating this event deserve scrutiny, too. Let’s start with how they’re indoctrinating and terrifying children to advance a political agenda.
“We call ourselves Sunrise because we know this dark time in America will come to an end,” says the group’s Facebook page. “The sun will rise again.”
Yes, the sun will rise again. Tomorrow, in fact. And the day after. And the day after that.
For decades and decades, environmentalists have predicted impending doom. Let these children enjoy childhood without thinking the world will end before they’re 20. At least tell them that as long as China and India keep building coal power plants, anything the United States does will have minimal impact on global carbon emissions.
It’s a sign of how radical the Green New Deal is that even Dianne Feinstein is willing to tell the children that it’s unworkable.