This is the season for the public to express its views – and register its discontent with the status quo in American politics and policy:
- The Occupy Wall Street protest in dozens of cities throughout the U.S.;
- The estimated 12,000 people who rallied and circled the White House in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline – a successor to the 1,200 people who protested and were arrested in opposition to the pipeline this summer;
- The overwhelming rejection by the citizens of Ohio to the attempt to curtail the bargaining rights of public workers;
- Citizens in New Hampshire and other states disclosing to pollsters their desire for Congress to fix our nation’s broken system for regulating toxic chemicals – and more generally disapproving of the performance of Congress – to the tune of 91% public dissatisfaction.
The public is using all the tools available in an effort to send a message to our political “leaders” of both parties: fix the things that are broken; get us back on the right track; protect the public, and our rights, and stop catering and selling out to polluters and other corporate interests.
The youngest among us can’t necessarily camp out for weeks or months, and they’re not old enough to vote. They rarely get called by pollsters, and in any event they rarely get to answer the phone, even when they are at home (although they are often funny and cute when they do). But they are still making their views known, just like the bigger kids and grownups.
Today is “round two” of the Stroller Brigades – kids and parents in cities across the country walking and strolling to the offices of their U.S. Senators, urging their elected representatives to “be a hero” and co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act (S.847), the bill that will protect the public from toxic chemicals, increase the public’s right to know, and restore some sanity to our national chemicals policy.
Today’s events are taking place coast to coast, including Arkansas, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee and Nebraska. You can watch a short video that captures the ideas and spirit of the first Stroller Brigade which took place in early August (subscription required).
The chemical industry is paying attention to the rising public wave in support of national chemical reform, and responding, largely by paying it lip service -- “we support reform too!” -- while vigorously pursuing its agenda to undermine government efforts to inform and protect the public. For just a few examples, see previous blog posts here, here, here and here.
The politicians in Washington may be easily fooled, but kids, parents, and many legislators at the state level are not. That’s why states continue to take action to protect the public from chemicals, and parents and kids will continue to walk and stroll until the politicians get the message and pass the Safe Chemicals Act.