As a John Kerry supporter prior to the last election, I was fortunate to become involved in his campaign so early that I was once given a "4JKB4IA" button as a gift. I wore that button last night when I heard John and Teresa talk about their book, "This Moment on Earth," and John recognized it immediately.
During the course of the campaign, I heard John and Teresa speak on the waterfront, at the Sheraton, at the Westin, in Tacoma, in Everett, in Boston, and after the election, once again at Daybreak Star Indian Center and at Town Hall, where I heard them once again today. During the last election, the senseless violence in the middle east caused such a distraction that many missed the message of the Kerrys.
For it is clear that our dependence on fossil fuels and our wasteful way of life are intimately related to the geopolitical instability on this planet. People failed to capitalize on environmentally aware candidates in 2000 and again in 2004. John Kerry is a veteran of the original Earth Day and has been involved with creating and working for enforcement of earth and health-protecting laws for years. Teresa Heinz Kerry has spearheaded futuristic "green" projects.
Their time has come and we are ready for them in the Pacific Northwest, where we love our waters, mountains, forests and wildlife. They always seem glad to be in Seattle, the "Emerald City" and to eat at the Wild Ginger, then meet with their many long-time friends here. We met some of them last night - researchers and innovators in our own area who are admired and championed by the Kerrys, such as Ed Miles from the University of Washington, and Dennis Hays, who has worked with for the environment since he knew John 37 years ago.
I was able to participate in a conference call the day before they arrived, in which I asked a question about the increase in the incidence of autism, since I work with autistic children. The verdict is still not in as to the effect of toxins and components of vaccines on certain vulnerable children. Last night there was a reception before the talk, and I continued to meet people who were asking similar questions - about cancer, about poisoned rivers, about the current administrations failure to show a commitment to answering these questions.
Teresa is always stunning and brilliant and has amassed alot of admirers here. I remember watching over time as she would come here to speak and people would walk away amazed and impressed with the depth, breadth and originality that she represents. John was the most animated and comfortable I've ever seen him, as he told why he "is not in the 2008 mix," about the influence of fear in our society and the willingness of some to exploit lies.
They described the tipping point we face, with 44 states where it's not really safe to fish or swim and where pollution levels have increased under the Orwellian "Clean Air" act. He told us amazing stories about real people. John and Teresa not only know all about the hog farms I've been reading about that are so filthy that I hesitate to eat pork any more, but they know what has to be done about them. They have seen too how escalators in Germany move when they are in use and stop when they are not, while ours run continuously, and again, they know what we need to be doing differently.
Teresa grew up in Africa and her father was a physician and this informs her work. I have noticed that when she comes to Seattle, she will visit a Cancer Center or other place where research is going on and has friends there. It has never been a PR stunt and it's clear today that she does not consider caring for the environment a partisan issue. "This is life .. this precious moment in time."
The question/answer period was animated, particularly John's rebuttal to the woman I'd seen at an anti-Gore stand outside who wanted to argue that global warming is a hoax. "Larouche is nuts," said John, and I just came full circle, remembering how I started to support him when I heard him say, "We need to start making some friends on this planet."
It was stunning to hear of the Supreme Court decision re the Clean Air Act on the same day that the Kerrys came to Seattle. It is clear that the environment needs to be front and center in 2008. It is not a fringe issue but the fundamental one. I don't think I will ever find a couple of people that I would so desire to see in the White House, but I am certainly willing to hold the current crop of candidates' feet to the fire on the issue of the environment. It is personal.