Pledges are popular these days. It seems almost every week I'm asked to pledge to one cause or another. And I've been doing a pretty regular job of taking the pledges, when asked, for the causes I believe in. The problem is too many pledges in too many areas can diminish the significance. It used to be a pledge was right up there with an oath. Pledges were reserved for really important things and you only took them when you were really committing yourself to stick with a certain cause or course of action. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America... and such.
Pledges are also pretty easy to take these days. With the simple click of a mouse or touch of a screen you can pledge away. This also has the effect of diminishing the significance.
I've decided I'm going to limit my pledges and really give serious thought to those I make before I make them because a pledge taken lightly is really no pledge at all.
It's also dawned on me that I've been taking a lot of other people's pledges. I pledge for them and their cause and then try and make it my own. But I really don't own it. It results in me having less skin in the game. It results in my time being dispersed into multiple areas and my effectiveness in any given one of them being diminished. I end up feeling ineffective and frustrated.
It's hard to remember all the different causes I've pledged to. I didn't keep a file. But I can recall quite a few without thinking too hard about it. I've pledged to work for universal healthcare. I believe in it. I care about it. I've pledged to work to get Citizens United repealed. It's important for the future of our democracy.I've pledged to help reelect President Obama and numerous progressive candidates. I've pledged to support gay marriage and legal pot. The pledges go on and on but I can't effectively follow through on all of them. There is not enough time in the day or night to effectively handle it all.
So, I'm breaking all those pledges I've made to all those worthy causes and starting with a clean slate.
I've come to the conclusion I need to prioritize and limit the pledges I take. I can't do it all so I've got to choose where to focus. This time I'm making the pledges to myself and not to another and I'm giving them the weight of the pledges of old.
Read below the fold for the pledges I'm making to myself.
First, I pledge to myself to focus on climate change and the environmental and psychological issues surrounding this issue. I believe this is the overriding challenge of our time effecting virtually every aspect of our life on this planet.
I pledge to myself to refrain from participating in the we said/they said, back and forth tug of war between the Democratic and Republican political camps. I'm a Democrat. I don't need to read about the myriad of ways so and so Republican is an idiot and I don't need to write how I think so and so Republican is a fool. It is a waste of my time and I pledge to not spin my wheels in this way no matter how tempting it is.
I pledge to myself to focus my efforts on actions that will force our political and business leaders to divorce this nation from fossil fuel generated energy. I will not spend my time promoting local issues such as recycling programs, organic gardening and buying local efforts. Although all these efforts are worthwhile and necessary I must continue to remind myself that unless top down massive policy shifts occur in this country (and globally) in the very near future these local efforts will result in no greater effect than spitting in the ocean. We simply don't have time to rely on bottom up change.
I pledge to myself to pick one local issue of global significance to work diligently on. That issue for me is the plan by the coal industry to ship massive amounts of coal to Asian markets through various ports on the west coast of the United States. I will focus specifically on the Cherry Point facility proposed to be built in Bellingham, Washington.
I pledge to myself to refuse to participate in debates on the existence or non-existence of climate change. That debate is over. It exists. Debating deniers is like spending time debating whether or not the Earth is flat. It is non-productive. I can't fix stupid.
I pledge to myself to refuse to participate in debates about the continued use and reliance on nuclear fission generated power. For me the debate is over. Expansion of fission generated electricity is not a viable option to address climate change.
I pledge to myself to present a positive message about climate change and support voices of hope wherever I hear them. I realize that frightening people about its dire effects is not an effective message of change. Nature will provide those messages for me. I will instead promote the positive outcomes which will be realized in people's lives by them aggressively taking action.
I pledge to myself to be a voice against those voices of gloom and doom; it's all over but the body count; you might as well bend over slowly while counting to 10 and kiss your ass goodbye kind of people. I realize that chances are many lives will be lost and many more will be shattered by the effects of climate change because we have waited so long, but I also realize that it will probably not cause the human species to go extinct.
I pledge to myself to focus on my area of expertise. I am a teacher with a degree in psychology. I will therefore work to change human thinking and actions as it relates to climate change.
I pledge to myself to support fellow kossacks, envionmental groups and effective actions that draw attention to and increase the pressure on our leaders in both business and government to take effective action on climate change. That is why I'm supporting and encouraging others to support the Do the Math Tour now being conducted by Bill McGibben and 350.org.
There you go. These are my pledges to myself. I wanted to share them with you because it's important, I think, to go public. It puts more pressure on me. Hopefully it will serve to keep me more focused and motivated and hold me more accountable for my actions.
This was an easy and quick diary to write because I only had to rely on my own self for reference. And in the final analysis that is really the bottom line when it comes down to it right? To thine own self be true.
I have looked at the problem and I've discovered the problem is me! And as James Wells, a fellow kossack reminds me - "I will not participate in my own destruction."
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The Daily Kos Do the Math Team (PDNC, boatsie, citisven, rb137) is working with Bill, Daniel Kessler and Jamie Henn of 350.org to promote his tour through November with diaries here. If you are interested in writing a diary to help support and spread the word about this tour, please kosmail PDNC.