Mike and Deb for Progressive Democrats of America

Apr 22, 2018

Pete And Friend Enjoying Nature (photo)

By  Mike Hersh for Deb, Donna, Mike F., Judy, Janis, Dan, Kimberly, Bryan, and Dr. Bill—Your PDA National Team

Sustain PDA Action On Climate


Today on Earth Day, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), is honored and humbled to receive a vote of confidence from Paul N. “Pete” McCloskey, Jr., the Co-Chair of Earth Day 1970. Rep. McCloskey is a historic figure, a champion of principle, and one of the giants of democracy.

He remains a powerful advocate for diplomacy over militarism, sound environmental stewardship, and higher standards of ethical behavior in our public discourse. Please pitch as a sustainer making monthly automatic contributions to help PDA win elections and battles on the issues. Click here to contribute by card or check.

A former four-term Republican Congressman from California’s Central Valley and a decorated U.S. Marine veteran in Vietnam, McCloskey served as co-chair of the first Earth Day in 1970. In the 1972 primary, he challenged Richard Nixon on a pro-peace, anti-Vietnam War platform.

He co-authored the Endangered Species Act of 1973, became the first Member of Congress to call publicly for Nixon’s impeachment, opposed the Iraq War, and finally left the Republican Party after an unsuccessful primary challenge to Richard Pombo (Sierra Club called Pombo an “eco-thug”), with ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. McCloskey then endorsed Pombo’s successful Democratic opponent, Rep. Jerry McNerney.

In honor of Earth Day 2018, “Grand Old Pete” sends a message of hope through action:

The real founder of Earth Day in 1970 was a great progressive Democrat, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. He wanted Earth Day, set for April 22nd, the same day as Arbor Day, to be a bipartisan and bicameral effort, and I was honored when he asked me to be his Republican Co-Chairman.

Arbor Day had been the idea, in 1874 of a Nebraska school teacher, who thought each school child should plant a seedling each April 22nd. Arbor Day is now celebrated all over the world, as is Earth Day.

Senator Nelson’s concept led thousands of young people to join in celebrations of the beauties of our planet on a warm Sunday afternoon, but neither he nor I would predict that those same thousands of young people would name12 Members of the House of Representatives as “The Dirty Dozen,” and then walk precincts to defeat 7 of the 12 in the November elections.

When Congress convened in January, 1971, and over the next 24 years, suddenly a majority of the members of both parties in Congress announced themselves as “Environmentalists.” An amazing thing happened. Bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate produced landmark legislation for Clean Air, Clean Water, protection of wildlife habitat, coastal zones and national forests.

Now, in 2018, the protections of those earlier years are being dismantled by a President and a Republican Congress who think that even basic environmental protections are an unnecessary burden on land developers, manufacturers, farmers, food processors and businessmen.

The removal of the ban on lead bullets, permission to hunt grizzly bears from helicopters, allowance of offshore drilling on our coasts, removal of millions of acres from national monuments to allow mining and oil drilling, reversal of clean air and water regulations—all of these things could be changed if progressive Democrats in the image of Gaylord Nelson could be elected around the United States so that balance could again be achieved between economic and environmental values.

The young people of 1970 did this 48 years ago, and can do it again this November. Environmental depredations of Trump, his Secretary of Interior and EPA Administrator should cause every high school graduate from 1970 to 2018 to emulate their predecessors of 1970 and turn out voters for Democrats this November.

The Republican Party of Teddy Roosevelt has become the party of more and more golf courses, hotels, and the exploitation of oil and coal reserves at the cost of irreplaceable landscape, coastal reefs and the ocean itself.

A pox on these new Republicans. Help PDA mobilize to vote them out and save the Earth.

Pete McCloskey
Co-Chair, Earth Day, 1970

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In solidarity,

Mike Hersh for Deb, Donna, Mike F., Judy, Janis, Dan, Kimberly, Bryan, and Dr. Bill—Your PDA National Team

P.S. We need your help now. Please sign up with our Climate Emergency Action Team. No time to volunteer? Please donate $500, $50, or whatever you can afford now to help PDA and our allies implement climate solutions.

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