Image by Kiran Hania from Pixabay

We are sinking and I show a picture of children? What is the tie in, just ask Bob Marshall.

I think I’ve discovered a way to get Louisiana politicians to stop denying the truth that the only way to prevent the Gulf of Mexico from swallowing much of the state’s bottom third within the next four decades is with regulations dramatically cutting greenhouse gas emission soon. It’s simple: Make every voter place a mirror next to pictures of their children and copies of their mortgage and paychecks. I came to this solution on a winding path that started with this question: If every other segment of our society — individuals, businesses, organizations — can be held accountable for damages caused by their products or actions, why can’t politicians?

We are responsible for our actions and this includes those we elect who are not protecting our land.

It is a well-established principle of our legal system that we are responsible for our actions. And ignorance is no defense. Tort law states that you can be found guilty for the consequences of your decisions and products if you knew or should have known about the dangers that would result. Well, the dangers Louisiana and the nation face from accelerating sea level rise due to global warming caused mainly by greenhouse gas emissions has been known for more than a decade. And earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ended years of uncertainty by declaring it was “indisputable” that warming is underway, humans are responsible and the dire impacts already underway (fire, drought, floods and hurricanes) will get more severe in the decades ahead unless emissions are significantly reduced quickly. Yet Louisiana politicians still fight the regulations needed. Congressmen like Steve Scalise, Clay Higgins, Garret Graves (well, the entire GOP delegation) see as their first duty the protection of the emitting petrochemical industries. This even while the state’s own master plan for survival says without dramatic emissions reductions most of the state from Lake Charles to Slidell and southward could be swamped by 2067.

So they do this. What is the cost to us? Just losing land or does it hit our pocket books?

If that happens your flood insurance will become unaffordable, your property values will collapse and your job will probably vanish as your company is forced to relocate to a safer place. Now at that point, it would help if you could haul these politicians into court to make you whole again. After all, they clearly knew or should have known that voting against regulations would lead to your disaster. But unlike the rest of us, elected officials can’t be held accountable for the damages caused by their professional actions. They are protected by the very old and accepted concept called sovereign immunity covering actions by governments, which includes lawmakers. Legal scholars say such suits would turn judges into legislators, a violation of the Constitution — not to mention the chaos that would ensue. There are examples of the federal government waiving its immunity. But don’t hold your breath waiting for politicians to freely follow suit.

If we can’t sue them, what are our options?

Instead, voting remains the only way to hold politicians accountable — even when their official actions cause financial disaster or death.

So simple, but how many times do we vote against our best interests? Bob Marshall has a solution.

Which brings me to my solution. When the next elections come around, take a long look at your mortgage, your paychecks and the pictures of your family. Now look in the mirror. The vote that person looking back makes is the only way to protect what you hold most important in your life.

So simple, so easy, yet so hard.

We are sinking and politicians don’t care
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