Subject: I will not host a party to save the world tonight, but…
Dear friends and family,
This is long, and I don’t blame you if you don’t read this. (But I think it’s worthwhile.)
I received a personalized text message last week from the campaign of Jon Ossoff, who is a Democratic candidate for Senator in Georgia.
The message read as follows:
Hey Jonah, it’s Victoria from Team Ossoff. We’re inviting top supporters like you to be ‘House Party’ hosts. You’d partner with our team to raise donations and host a small Zoom party on 12/22 – and you’d get to join Jon for Trivia Night! Are you interested?
This text message really haunted me. I have so little spare money that if I am one of Ossoff’s top donors, this campaign must really need money.
And I don’t use the word “need” here lightly.
While I don’t find personal meaning in political campaigns themselves, we live in a time when laws permit such chaos that we need legislators who are moral and intelligent people willing to take risks to help a world in need.
And I don’t use the word “world” here lightly.
We are living through a serious global climate crisis that environmentalist activists and enthusiasts cannot solve without partnerships with people in power. Cape Town, South Africa, ran out of clean water in 2017. Rising temperatures have increased the frequency and intensity of wildfires along the Pacific Coast and wild bushfires in Australia. The anticipated loss of a year-round polar ice cap in the Arctic by 2050 could lead to the extinction of walruses, reindeer, polar bears, arctic foxes, beluga whales, and muskox. And rising sea-levels means that the effects of current human activity killed off the last Bramble Cay mosaic-tailed rat at some point in the last dozen years.
The USA is not the only troublemaker when it comes to loose environmental regulations, but the only country more responsible for global carbon emissions than the United States is China. As hard as climate activists are working, we have to recognize that, compared to nearly every other modern industrial country, the American government has done quite little to protect the Earth.
There is a repeated trope that a government shouldn’t enact environmental legislations that would prevent workers from keeping jobs they have now or stop industries from paying their employees for their current labor. But what we think of as work is unfortunately not working out well–at least not for the longevity of humans as a species… if we don’t shift course.
Right now, Jon Ossoff is running against an incumbent politician, Senator David Perdue. Perdue does not believe that human activity has contributed to global climate change and has suggested that the USA would benefit from “eliminating” the Environmental Protection Agency. Challenging Perdue, who signed a letter asking President Donald Trump to release the USA from being held accountable to the with the modest environmentally conscientious standards spelled out by the Paris Agreement—Jon Ossoff stands for a future with sustainable resources in the USA and a marketplace with jobs powered by and empowering renewable energy.
Some other time, I’d be happy to talk to you about any number of reasons that I prefer the Democratic party over the Republican party, but there is no reason anyone should debate whether or not we should take seriously scientists’ calls for actions to keep our planet inhabitable. (Unfortunately this has become an almost unanimously partisan issue with most Republican leaders moving away from green-minded policies and Democrats moving towards more green-minded policies.) Though President-elect Joe Biden is selecting knowledgeable people to lead our country through the climate crisis and though Congress for the next 2 years will be dominated by Democrats, our world needs the majority of the Senate to be voting for environmentally conscientious policies.
If both Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win the two last Senate runoff elections in Georgia on January 5th, then ties in a 50-50 partisan Senate will be broken by our Vice President. If we can make that happen, then our species stands a stronger chance of not just surviving but even thriving for centuries to come (and hopefully longer).
But Jon Ossoff’s team thinks that I am a top donor, so I am concerned. But I am not afraid–because you are my friends and family.
There are reasons why Jon Ossoff’s campaign might need money. Ossoff does not share the same name recognition of Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, who leads the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church that was led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. until the latter’s assassination. Rev. Warnock is a charismatic Black religious leader and master orator with a large flock in one of the percentage-wise heaviest Black populations in any American State, and Warnock is challenging the leadership of the never-elected (but appointed-by-the-Governor) Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who has proven less popular than Perdue (despite their both being accused of similar types of corruption). (I suspect that Loeffler faces the disadvantage of being a woman in a State that only once before ever elected a woman to be a Senator.)
Also, you might know that Georgia is facing an extraordinary change in the ways that Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight initiative has so drastically transformed how Georgians vote, turning a decades-long conservative State into a Biden-favoring State in the last General Election. And Fair Fight has been working alongside impactful organizations like The New Georgia Project and Changing the Conversation, who are educating voters about their rights to vote or what folks can consider before deciding how and for whom to vote. Many of those groups need funding too but have been receiving different forms of support that are necessary.
Ossoff today stands within what the best possible projections deem within the realm of a possible win in Georgia–but we can’t be guaranteed yet that Ossoff will win. Ossoff’s campaign needs support in spreading his name, advertising the good he can offer the country and the planet, and paying its staff who are working around the clock to make sure Georgians know that he means business–and sustainable business. (Ossoff will even protect the Georgians who, unlike Perdue, can’t afford to build a sea wall to protect their home against rising sea levels.)
I’m working tonight at 7 PM, when the Ossoff campaign is holding different Zoom-based House Parties, and I didn’t have time to call you each as deeply as I would have liked. According to the Ossoff House Party rules, I’d be allowed to set the fundraising goal for whatever I wanted. At first, I was thinking I would like to ask 10 folks to contribute $5 each to Ossoff’s campaign, and his campaign would be $50 richer. But I think we can go a little higher–since we’re not talking about a politician; we’re talking about the world.
I would love for us to donate a combined $200. (There are approximately 29 folks to whom I’m sending this e-mail.) If you personally donate $7 to Ossoff’s campaign (linked here), you may help Ossoff and the Senate save several species (including our own). I just donated $18, so we only have an arbitrary $182 to go.
And, yes, this is the longest e-mail I have written in decades, and I am grateful for all of the goodness that you give to this world.
With deep gratitude,