Saving Private Gaia

This may seem out of character to readers of the Side, and even to friends who know me well, but I’ve had a personal tradition of watching the movie Saving Private Ryan on or around June 6 ever since the movie came out. (and Tora, Tora, Tora on December 7) I know, I know, I’m a peacenik and an old hippie. But I was raised in a military family, with respect for the ideals and patriotism of soldiers. And even though I’ve come to understand that all wars are bad wars, and that only a very few are necessary at all, I still find the courage and sacrifice of soldiers in war time to be moving and important to remember and to learn from.

When the allied armies swarmed the beaches of Normandy into mortar explosions and machine gun fire and likely death, on June 6, 1944, they didn’t know if they would win. But they knew it was right to stand and fight back against great evil.

75 years later, in these new days of crisis and change, we again face such a challenge. What we need now is the sort of courage we can learn from the brave warriors of D-Day. The courage to act, not because we know we can win, but because it is the right thing to do. To act even at the cost of great sacrifice to ourselves. To fight for principle, to fight against what is wrong. And to fight for the future, not for ourselves, but for others, for our children and grandchildren, and for strangers we’ll never meet. The courage to stand against evil, and to stand for what we love. Whether or not we can win.

The simple courage of a mother giving birth, of a farmer planting trees he knows he will never harvest the apples from, of a child who takes her first step into the world alone. We need the courage of soldiers who fight without hope for themselves, but because they believe their sacrifice will make the world a better place for the future.

The Democratic leadership needs to find that courage now, to do what’s right in the face of an evil and criminal president. It is D-day for impeachment. No more waiting for outside intervention that will not come. No more empty prayers without action. It’s time to act out of courage and conviction, not out of cold political party calculation. It is time to act out of belief in what is right for all of us. And not with any airtight certainty of victory.

D-Day courage is exactly this: acting in the face of possible death and defeat, acting even with the certainty of death and defeat. But acting with the absolute moral certainty that doing nothing in the face of evil is wrong. The Democrats need to muster their D-Day courage to save our nation and our Constitution.

And all the rest of us will need to find that same D-Day courage, too, as we face the coming changes in our lives and in the structure of our civilization as a result of the environmental destruction we have caused to the living earth.

We need a D-Day for the Environment

It’s time to declare war on climate deniers, on fossil fuel advocates, and on any government representative who resists the changes we must make to survive this battle against our destruction of the earth. It’s time to get rid of the quislings and the appeasers and the profiteers. It’s time to mobilize for change. For clean fuels, for less waste, for a re-wilded world. It’s time to fight to save our planet and ourselves along with it.

We need a planetary D-Day. There’s no more time to waste.

In great emergencies, people set aside other differences and work together to deal with the crisis.

It’s time to shed our dinosaur thinking. It’s not about Red or Blue anymore. It’s about saving ourselves from the destruction we’ve caused. We’ve set our house on fire, and there is no other house, and no outside to run to. We’re in the house while it’s burning. We have to put it out. Or die trying.

Or we could give up, camp out on the couch with some popcorn and Netflix flickering on a little screen until the power shorts out and the roof caves in. We could ignore the kids screaming upstairs, hollering up the stairs at them “Sorry, kids, our bad. Tough luck. Life isn’t fair.” And turn back to the comfort of a cold one and some screen time.

I’m afraid we’ve been taught for too long that we are helpless. We’ve fallen into a kind of trance of historical fatalism, as if we were powerless actors in the grip of some already written destiny. That fatalism then degenerates into the kind of cynical despair we see all around us. Too many people, and especially too many younger people, believe they are powerless to make the world better. They give up and turn selfish, working only for themselves. Too many people think their votes don’t count. They believe war and hatred are inevitable, part of an irresistible human nature. They believe the destruction of the planet is inevitable, not something that we could change if we chose to with the force of D-Day courage. They believe humanity is simply fooked, and there’s nothing we can do about it. They have given up hope, and with that they have given up action.

But even if it’s true that it’s too late to save ourselves, that’s sure as hell no way to live. Giving up and refusing to change is dinosaur thinking. And dinosaur thinking leads to extinction. We need D-Day courage, to act with hope even when hope is almost gone.

Sure, it might be too late to save the planet and ourselves.

But it’s not too late to try. Let’s band together to Save Private Gaia.

It won’t be easy, though. How do we fight such a war, when it seems the enemy is ourselves? But, that’s dinosaur thinking, too. We are not the enemy. Bad, even evil ideas are the enemy. Bad ideas rule us like tyrants, and bad ideas are killing our planet, our only home. Any idea that threatens the health of the earth also threatens humanity. The new war is not against people, and it’s not against some force of nature. It has to be a war against destructive ideas. A peaceful war against violence. A generous war against greed. A hopeful war against despair. A joyful war against sorrow. A beautiful war against all that is ugly in our thinking. I have declared my own war against those bad ideas in this column. firing whatever bullets of thought and word I can find against the ideas that are destroying us. And I don’t plan to give up.

I hope a few of you will join me here on the side, fighting with me against all that threatens our future and that of our children and grandchildren, today on D-Day and until this war to save our world is won or lost.


P.S.– No worries, folks! I’ll be back to impeachment and sarcasm tomorrow. Here’s a little insight into the back room tensions among the Democratic leadership. Nancy Pelosi sticks with her dinosaur thinking against the rest of her party. She’s the dam in the river, the clot in the artery, the general who fails her army by refusing to fight. The Dems better mutiny against her failed leadership soon, or they’re gonna sink and go down with the dinosaurs. Sounds like more and more Dems are wising up. Time to evolve or fade into history. It’s D-Day for you Democrats. What are you going to do?

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