Monday, December 18, 2006

Who Do We Shoot? And How ...

When confronted with the overwhelming complexity of Dust Bowl agricultural economics, Pa Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, asked a great question: "who do we shoot?" Pa Joad came to mind when reading an article by Daniel Schrag, a Harvard climate scientist, lamenting the state of public debate about climate change. Having testitfied at a Senate hearing this month, Schrag wrote, "As our leaders accept the outrageous spectacle I saw the other day as just a normal day in Congress, we will have to take the first step without them." I just wonder how. How do citizens of a democracy -- so called -- take effective steps on huge, systemic issues when the public institutions of the democracy no longer function? Sure, if the people lead, the leaders will follow -- but how, exactly, does that happen on a scale large enough to make a difference? Who do we shoot? Just asking.

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