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Grier Observes: Politics Does Matter – President Carter to President Reagan

Once in a while I hear someone say “I don’t vote – it doesn’t make any difference.” My own experiences running for Congress in 2009 and 2010 showed me that our political system is flawed, and that the role of money in politics is huge. Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill said a half century ago that “Money is the mother’s milk of politics,” and he wasn’t totally wrong. But money and the power it brings can be used for the common good rather than simply to protect one’s own narrow, usually economic, interests. In any event, the heavy influence of big-money donors does not give the rest of us an excuse to stop fighting for wise government policies that advance our common good.

The 1980 Presidential election had big consequences. Collectively we made a political choice to forget about energy conservation and to let tomorrow take care of itself. The consequences of that choice, and of many other choices made here and abroad, are increasingly obvious as we see deteriorating natural systems and climate change. I read an article this morning, by Sam Perry, which gave some of the history of that 1980 choice between Carter’s conservation and Reagan’s conservatism, and recommend it.


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