Declaration of resistance from Jerry Brown, with James Fallows’s comments
Those are the remarks. James Fallows notes in the Atlantic:
Governor Jerry Brown of California got Twitter-verse attention for saying two days ago that if Donald Trump actually shuts down satellite collection of climate data, “California will launch its own damn satellites.”
I’ve now seen the short speech from which that line was taken, thanks to a tip from reader CS. It’s remarkable enough to be worth your time. It’s a genuine fighting speech, with a tone that is resolute but positive, rather than resentful or doomed. It’s a rousing call-to-battle against the environmental backward-movement and larger disdain for fact of the coming era, from a person who as he nears age 80 has struck a distinctive Happy Warrior tone of resistance. Happy, in its confidence. Warrior, in its resoluteness. . .
Points to note:
- Brown is speaking to the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, in San Francisco two days ago. As reader CS says, this is “probably the largest single yearly gathering of geophysics related scientists in the world; close to 25,000 people attended it this year.” Brown’s remarks begin at around time 2:00, and you’ll see that he swings right from the introductory applause into a call for renewed energy on behalf of fact-based policies, science, truth.
- From about time 3:30 to 3:50, the sound on the video fades away. Just wait it out.
- From 4:30 to 5:15, Brown begins one of his “we’re ready to fight” riffs. The speech as a whole is unpolished, but among its charms is Brown’s ability to seem self-aware and even self-mocking. An example is in this passage: First he says that Big Tobacco was brought down by a combination of scientists and lawyers. Then, “And in California, we’ve got plenty of lawyers! … We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers, and we’re ready to fight!”
- At 5:30, he introduces the “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Brown? You’re not a country” argument, a . . .
Continue reading. And it’s worth reading—and watching. As Fallows writes further down the list of bullet points:
I think that nearly every part of it is novel enough, in the current political world, to deserve a look.
We live in strange times, and it is already apparent that many will fail, be too fearful or opportunistic to raise their voices against gross, outright, clearly unconstitutional crimes. Too many, at least in Congress, are either unwilling to take a stand on moral, ethical, or legal grounds, or they simply don’t understand what those things are—total sociopaths, in other words. I think you could name a few (T.C. springs to mind) without effort.
Jennifer Rubin recently listed the excuses used by members of Congress:
. . . The excuses for not objecting when he does egregious things include (these are real examples uttered by one or more Republicans on the Hill, operatives, advisers, etc.):
- He’s not president yet. (No, really, they say such a thing, as though he’ll be more responsive or Congress will have more leverage after he gets control over the IRS, CIA, FBI, etc.)
- Maybe he’ll do the right thing (e.g. divest). (Again, they utter this kind of rubbish despite heaps of evidence that he lacks any ethical compass.)
- But we need to get tax reform and repeal Obamacare. (As if reducing marginal tax rates would justify constitutional violations, or as if their forbearance will make Trump more agreeable on policy issues.)
- If we criticize, he won’t listen to us later. (No, seriously, they seem to believe that if they are patsies now, they will have influence later.)
- He doesn’t mean what he says. (We are back to not taking seriously the man who will be commander in chief.)
- He’s not going to get involved in specifics anyway. (Like negotiating over how many Carrier employees should stay in the United States?)
- He’s hiring good people. (Mike Flynn? Ben Carson? Stephen K. Bannon?)
- We cannot do anything. (Didn’t they run for weeks on a message of acting as a check on Trump?)
We find Trump’s post-election behavior to be entirely predictable — not normal or acceptable, but inevitable given his personality and temperamental and intellectual shortcomings. Republicans’ capitulation is far quicker and more complete than we imagined, we admit. Chalk it up to fear of Trump and his voters, to the unquenchable thirst for influence and power and to humans’ ability to convince themselves of practically anything.
At times, one can only cringe at conservative “leaders” prostrating themselves before Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), with unctuousness approaching Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) levels, exclaimed: “I’m impressed with how Donald Trump handles himself. I’m impressed with how magnanimous he is. I’m impressed with just his demeanor, his temperament.” He all but offered to mow Trump’s lawn. Obviously, Ryan thinks flattery is going to work, but my goodness, have some self-respect! . . .
Read the whole column, and note that Rubin is a Republican. So if we want those who will resist, we’re going to have to look elsewhere. Jerry Brown is taking a stand, something most in Congress absolutely will not do. What has happened to them? Cowardice? Cynicism?