Both political parties—especially the Dems—talk a whole lot about the environment, lowering the carbon imprint (or footprint), and being energy efficient. But what about two huge events, that involve travel for thousands of people, as well as massive energy consumption at the destination? And what if there were no good reason why these events should be taking place at all?
I’m referring, of course, to this summer’s political conventions.
As things now stand, both parties have chosen their presidential candidates. The VP choices will be made in due course, and the platforms are being hammered out right now. So, one might ask, if John Q. Public is being told to tighten his energy belt, why do the parties get a free pass?
The official reason is that it is very important for the party faithful to get together in this manner, it is traditional to do so, and that “the country” expects no less. In addition, being appointed a delegate with a convention floor pass is a prize doled out to rank and file workers, who will no doubt show their gratitude by laboring all the harder come this fall.
The actual reason is a bit more complex. First of all “the environment” and “reduce your carbon footprint” are nothing more than election year campaign platitudes. They sound good, but mean absolutely nothing, or if they COULD mean something, no policy specifics are ever given. After all, Obama touts “change we can believe in.” Can anyone in the US explain what that means?
How can you believe in some sort of change, without knowing the details? You can’t, but if you are caught up in the cult of personality, it doesn’t really matter. On the other hand, if you are a realist, and recognize that campaign promises are almost never kept, you are not part of the intended audience for political conventions.
Beyond this, it simply comes down to the dollars. Try counting up the money involved with thousands of airplane tickets, thousands of hotel rooms, and tens of thousands of meals. Who knows what kind of backroom deals were made by the cities to secure the conventions—but you can be sure that money changed hands.
What an incredibly bold move it would be for one party to simply proclaim: We are taking the step to reduce our carbon footprint, and will be having a virtual convention. Some penalties will be paid to all the pre-booked vendors, but look at what we have saved!
But, you see, to do this would require that the parties actually believe in something more than just winning an election. More than that, the politicians would have to adjust their own behavior—rather than simply scold you for yours—when it came to the environment.
Call this a golden opportunity squandered.