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Green New Deal "Climate Kids" Should Hijack the Impeachment Conversation

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Turning Wasteful Loss into Brilliant Gain--While Having Juvenile Fun

A wise old political adage says, "When you're 'splainin', you ain't gainin'." We need a new, ad hoc version to wake up "climate kid" supporters of an existentially crucial Green New Deal, now sitting politely bored--as through their principal's speech--while Democrat elders crowd them off stage with their heated-but-trivial Mueller-based debate on whether or not to impeach Trump. I propose this: "When they're 'splainin', you ain't gainin'." It's frankly depressing to see passionate, idealistic kids hold still like respectable middle-aged Rotarians while adults with shallow, juvenile agendas waste civilization's ever-more-precious time and dominate the floor.

Mature values and a youthful middle finger--just what we need now!
Mature values and a youthful middle finger--just what we need now!
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Hey, climate kids, it's time to act like kids and get seriously rowdy. This is one "adult" conversation you desperately need to disrupt. And not merely disrupt but actually hijack. The future of the Green New Deal--and therefore of civilization itself--may depend on you remembering that you're still kids and therefore totally smashing up what the old farts had planned. You've already earned your maturity street creds by your incredibly sane, responsible climate activism; it's time to have some delinquent, disruptive, old-fart-torturing fun.

As an old fart who never quite grew up--what the Sunrise climate kids more politely call a "Young at Heart" supporter--I've already started fracking with the old folks' minds like someone a fraction of my age. In fact, not just once but twice. But see, I can't do this alone; after a few hours of "delinquent" head-butting with fellow AARP types, I desperately need a nap. And juvenile delinquency--however urgently needed--can quickly look a little pathetic when not perpetrated by actual juveniles. Still, I do a pretty decent job, and the seriously pissed-off comments under the Nation of Change versions of my two "delinquent" articles (see here and here) show I've gotten deeply under Democrat geezers' sagging skins.

Now I know, this isn't just about flipping off the pathetic old gasbags. You really, desperately want to do something about climate, since your generation has a bigger stake in this than anyone else. Fair enough. That's why I totally grok the Sunrise approach of letting younger folks be the climate leaders. And your wise approach of politely but forcefully confronting political leaders proves you fully grok the value of maintaining respectability amidst planned disruption. I passionately support you precisely because your approach is so effective.

But my pet disruption idea--impeaching Trump for his extremist attack on climate--already takes care of the respectability element. See, you won't be disrupting the conversation just to disrupt it; you'll actually be contributing something highly relevant--or as overpaid respectable attorneys say, "on point." In fact, far more on point than what the purported grownups are saying. Therein lies the special beauty of my climate impeachment scheme: it's rationally and morally sounder than anything the so-called adults are pushing, while having the added juvenile thrill value of pissing them off to the maximal max.

As a passive-aggressive old fart desperately clinging to the last tatters of youth, I passionately relish that juvenile thrill. I believe the relevant juvenile joy here is called "hostile obedience": obeying so totally and pointlessly that your very obedience is an act of satiric ridicule toward your "respectable" elders. What you're obeying is the ardent desire of "progressive" Democrat elders to impeach Trump--who richly deserves impeachment. But your stated reason for impeaching him--his way-beyond-criminal climate policy--makes a cosmic mockery of the far shallower reasons put forth by his conventionally progressive would-be impeachers.

Though I hope you'll fully savor the juvenile thrill of one-upping one's hypocritical elders--one of my fondest youthful memories--there's far more to gain here (as I'm sure you'll realize) than sumptuous juvenile thrills. What may be at stake is the entire future of the Green New Deal (GND)and therefore of humanity itself. That's what I'll address in the rest of my article.

Cleared for Takeoff: The Constitutional Legitimacy of Our Impeachment Talk Hijack

As I just noted, Trump richly deserves impeachment; he probably did from Inauguration Day. Congressional Democrats never seemed much interested in the many promising grounds for impeaching Trump; instead, fixated on a flimsy Russia-collusion narrative that might be their party's undoing, they've focused exclusively on obstruction-of-justice charges related to the recently ended Mueller investigation. An investigation that, by the way, cleared Trump of the charge Democrat-friendly media had obsessed over. Unless powerful Democrat House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi can be persuaded it's politically wise to do so (knowing the failure of Russiagate, she's rightly concerned about the 2020 election), Trump's impeachment for obstructing the Mueller investigation probably isn't happening. But numerous progressive House Democrats disagree with Pelosi, and a noisy--and from a climate perspective, time-wasting, debate--is taking place.

So, young climate warrior friends, what does Democrats' impeachment kerfuffle have to do with us? A lot-- and a lot more than meets the eye.

As I already highlighted, we're being crowded off stage: public air time spent debating Trump's impeachment for obstruction of justice is time not spent discussing humanity's climate crisis and the Green New Deal . Considering politicians' and media's long years of indefensible silence about the climate change, now grown into a global emergency, any prolonged distraction from climate talk seems intolerable.

But here's a perfectly satisfactory solution: hijack the impeachment conversation and make it--provided we have legitimate constitutional grounds--all about Trump's way-beyond-criminal climate policy.

Constitutional questions aside, no reasonable person can doubt the moral abomination of Trump's assault on climate--amidst a global climate emergency. Columnist (and The Nation publisher) Katrina vanden Heuvel rightly lambastes Trump's policy as not merely climate denial but "embracing climate destruction"; she scathingly--but accurately--brands Trump himself "a warrior for climate calamity." TomDispatch's founding editor Tom Engelhardt notes that--should civilization survive to remember Trump at all--Trump will be remembered for none of his deeds and misdeeds that now obsess digital and print media, but for the historic "crime against humanity" of his climate policy .

So shouldn't we be impeaching Trump for the extremist attack on climate, the unprecedented crime against humanity he's committing? Common sense says hell yes; what good are constitutional impeachment provisions if they can't remove a madman who's endangering--perhaps knowingly endangering--not just our nation but human civilization itself?

Fortunately, a large body of reputable legal opinion backs common sense. According to constitutional scholars consulted by Politico, grave misdeeds by presidents and other high officers need not be crimes under any statutory law to be impeachable offenses. An article by Albert Broderick, originally published in the American Bar Association Journal around the time of Nixon's impeachment, confirms this nicely (emphases mine): "Impeachment must be understood as a political, rather than judicial, process that does not require a criminal offense but must be grounded on serious misconduct."

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)

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