Focus on the Next Generation, Not the Next Election

By Harvey Pine

In Louise Andrus’ advertisement in the August Beacon, she quoted James Freeman Clarke: “The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election, while the statesman thinks about the next generation.”  Sage words that I hope our representative reflects upon to put her term into context.  

Lack of concern for the next generation was blatant in Andrus’s August opinion piece, in my opinion.  Andrus employs a common political maneuver by presenting our communities with a false dichotomy when arguing against the “new green deal”:  either use 100% electric energy, or shut up about encouraging sustainable energy options.  

This is not the logic that a responsible statesperson applies in helping their community.  It is oversimplified and does not account for the complexity of our energy infrastructure and how it was deliberately, and unsustainably, designed around fossil fuels. 

Moving towards a more diverse and sustainable energy future is not simple and is going to take time for communities to adapt.  We need to incorporate new technologies and create opportunities that allow development of a new energy infrastructure that addresses community needs and global concerns such as climate change.  

It is sensible for our communities to take steps towards this new paradigm rather than going “cold turkey” from our fossil fuel-based model.  Let us act now to develop a more electrified system, taking steps that will eventually allow all of us to one day fly in an electric plane.  Doing so is in the interest of future generations. 

Louis Andrus calls on us to “walk the walk.”  These are wise words I think she should practice.  I suggest that she stop acting on party lines and re-election interests and focus instead on future generations.

Harvey J. Pine, PhD