The growth of local power is a bright spot in seven bleak years of Bush by Rebecca Solnit

Dandelion Salad

Rebecca Solnit in San Francisco
The Guardian
Friday December 28, 2007

American cities, counties and states have offered a crucial counterweight to the White House on the issues that really matter

The centre cannot hold, and that’s the good news in the United States these days. Quietly, doggedly, cities, regions, counties and states have refused to march to the Bush administration’s drum when it comes to climate change, the environment and the war. Some of the recent changes are so sweeping that they will probably drag the nation along with them – notably efforts by Vermont, Massachusetts and California to set higher vehicle emissions standards and generally treat climate change as an environmental problem that can be addressed by regulation. The Bush administration has notoriously dragged its feet on doing anything about climate change, and it will now be dragged along by the states, themselves prodded forward by citizens.

It wasn’t supposed to work that way. States’ rights was a rallying cry for conservatives for much of the 20th century, first in allowing segregation and racial discrimination across the south and then in allowing environmental destruction around the west. Rightwingers have usually believed in a weak federal government – except when they run it; and that weakness, or rather the strength of the local, has been one of the bright spots during the seven bleak years of life under Bush.

The changes operate on all scales. Across the country, quite a lot of cities and towns have passed measures condemning the Iraq war or calling for the troops to be brought home. A handful of California counties have banned GM agriculture, and others have tried but been defeated by industry money – but may try again. North Dakota farmers created so powerful a pact against the use of Monsanto’s GM wheat that the corporation eventually gave up on commercialising the invention worldwide.


h/t: Bon

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

One thought on “The growth of local power is a bright spot in seven bleak years of Bush by Rebecca Solnit

  1. Decentralization of power is always a Good Thing, it amuses me to hear lefties talking about it though. I suspect that if a good marxoid lefty gets the Presidency a year from now, all those lefties will go right back agitating for a bigger and more powerful federal government. In all fairness, I suspect that Republicans will suddenly starting yammering about “small, decentralized government” once again.

    I just wish people would stick to their dammed principles, whatever they are. I suppose first they would have to figure out what those principles were though.


Comments are closed.