President Trump declared a national emergency over the novel coronavirus on March 13, 2020. As the crisis evolved throughout 2020, many governors took that football and ran it as far down the field as they could, implementing ever more severe restrictions on their states as they declared their own state emergencies. As COVID-19 lockdowns spread across the states, they began to take on an appearance of permanence, despite questionable results in slowing the pandemic’s spread. The populace, often scared into submission, mostly complied out of a fear of the unknown.
This gave those governors a taste of power heretofore resisted by the American public, and many of them found the sensation intoxicating. Even more intoxicating was the willingness to accept the new normal.
As more despotic governors declare more states of emergency without legislative approval or oversight, or even a light at the end of the tunnel, it seemed the light bulb went on for the far left. We could finally rid the United States of that pesky republican form of government once and for all and install direct democracy. This led me to believe that these permanent temporary lockdowns would soon become a dry run for national emergency after national emergency—like climate change—that would create fun new normals ad infinitum.
Enter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer.
(You may be forgiven for not having any idea who that third guy is. Blumenauer represents Portland, Ore., in Congress. He’s inhabited the swamp for a couple of decades and, like other Oregon representatives, has mastered the art of avoiding notice, which is why he hitched himself to AOC and The Squad in an effort to gain traction.)
AOC, Bernie, and Earl have introduced a bill directing the president to declare a national emergency on climate. CNN reports:
The National Climate Emergency Act, introduced by Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, along with Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, would direct Biden to declare a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, allowing him to unlock sweeping presidential powers and be able to organize resources to mitigate climate change.
They had introduced a similar resolution in 2019 — but it had little hope of advancing in the Republican-led Senate and under former President Donald Trump. Now, the lawmakers have re-energized their efforts under a new administration committed to combating climate change with an ambitious plan to do so.
In the announcement on his website, Blumenauer states that he worked with climate activists to craft this resolution:
Scientists and experts are clear, this is a climate emergency and we need to take action. Last Congress, I worked with Oregon environmental activists to draft a climate emergency resolution that captured the urgency of this moment. President Biden has done an outstanding job of prioritizing climate in the first days of his administration, but after years of practiced ignorance from Trump and Congressional republicans, an even larger mobilization is needed. I am glad to work with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Sanders again on this effort, which takes our original resolution even further. It’s past time that a climate emergency is declared, and this bill can finally get it done. [emphasis added]
We’ve made a lot of progress since we introduced this resolution two years ago, but now we have to meet the moment. We are out of time and excuses. Our country is in crisis and, to address it, we will have to mobilize our social and economic resources on a massive scale. If we want to want to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past – if we want to ensure that our nation has an equitable economic recovery and prevent yet another life-altering crisis – then we have to start by calling this moment what it is, a national emergency. [emphasis added]
What we need now is Congressional leadership to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of the planet. Climate change is a national emergency, and I am proud to be introducing this legislation with my House and Senate colleagues. [emphasis added]
AOC, Bernie, and Earl describe their goals in the statement:
The National Climate Emergency Act builds on that resolution – which was based on input from Oregon environmental activists – by mandating a presidential declaration of a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. The legislation also outlines steps that the president can take to address the climate emergency while centering environmental justice.
To ensure accountability to Congress and the American people, the National Climate Emergency Act requires that the president deliver a report within one year of the bill’s enactment (and then every year thereafter until the emergency sunsets) that details the specific actions taken by the executive branch to combat the climate emergency and restore the climate for future generations.
As detailed in the legislation, this should include, but is not limited to, investments in large scale mitigation and resiliency projects, upgrades to public infrastructure, modernization of millions of buildings to cut pollution, investments in public health, protections for public lands, regenerative agriculture investments that support local and regional food systems, and more.
They fully intend for the federal government to intervene, on a perpetuated emergency basis, into virtually every aspect of the American economy. Notice their reference to environmental justice just before launching into a laundry list of industries that require fundamental change.
Sure, the liberals have droned on for years about the climate emergency, and Americans have collectively yawned in response. 2021 is different, though. We have a populace that has endured 2020. We have citizens cowed into fear of living their lives in dubious attempts to mitigate the spread of a coronavirus. We have a new president who has signed dozens of executive orders, many of which advance radical environmental policies. And we have a House and Senate that could go either way (to put it charitably) in terms of expanding federal power.
It doesn’t appear that America will go back to pre-2020 normal, and it remains to be seen if we have the will to fight this.
Notably, the statement from Blumenauer’s office lists many of the radical environmental organizations I wrote about in my book as supporters of this legislation:
The legislation introduced today by Blumenauer, Ocasio-Cortez, and Sanders is supported by dozens of environmental groups including 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, The Climate Mobilization, Food & Water Watch, Labor Network for Sustainability, Progressive Democrats of America, Public Citizen, Sunrise Movement, Justice Democrats, Greenpeace, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Align NY, Friends of Earth, and Climate Justice Alliance.
Will 2020 represent a mere precursor to more government by fiat? Will 2021 see even more states of emergency declared, with the intent to undermine our representative democracy and further cement an American Oligarchy?
Will you resist?
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Gab at @RealJeffReynolds.