By Land Wilson, Author of Sofia’s Dream
History has shown that times of great transition often require great leadership. Yesterday, I discussed the current need we have for a leader to help guide us as we move toward a more sustainable future. It is my opinion, California has an opportunity to embrace this important transition with the introduction of a leader who has already made significant progress, Assemblyman Jared Huffman.
A noteworthy amount of environmental legislation has been created by Assemblyman Huffman. Since 2007, he has authored over 100 pieces of legislation and about half of these have been environmental.
Early this year, I read in the paper that Huffman was proposing a bill to protect California’s forage fisheries such as sardines, anchovies, herring, and squid – a critical link in the food chain that larger species like Salmon, Rockfish and Sea bass depend on. I thought to myself, here is someone who understands what’s at stake and is working hard to protect what could be considered the ultimate ‘sacred cow’ of ‘the commons’ – the collectively shared resource of a thriving food web. Protecting one part of our food web protects the entire web, including us. Healthy oceans are a critical foundation of society. As Jean-Michel Cousteau said, “If we protect the oceans, we protect ourselves.”
In the 1990s, I had the privilege of becoming close friends with the 1952 Democratic National Committeewoman for California, Clara Shirpser. She traveled with Harry Truman by train throughout the entire state of California on his whistle-stop campaign for Adlai Stevenson. Clara and Harry became good friends and corresponded many times in later years. In her memoirs, she stated, “I came to like him tremendously. I think he was a great president, who carried out his responsibilities without shirking, and was determined to do the best he could. As president, you always knew where he stood!”
If Clara Shirpser and Harry Truman were alive today, with Huffman’s track record, I am certain that she would ask Truman to endorse Huffman’s 2012 campaign for Congress. Huffman has shown great leadership skills which I believe mirror that of Truman’s. In fact, he has stated that, growing up, Truman was his political hero and role model. Interestingly, they were both raised in Independence, MO.
If there is an ounce of a “Truman” in Huffman, I believe we can be grateful for however many years of service he and his family give us. The sooner we embrace leaders who prioritize the transition to a more sustainable civilization, the better. The big environmental decisions that our leaders will have to make won’t please everyone. But I am convinced that those who show their strength of character by making wise environmental decisions will rank as history’s great leaders.
We can’t sit idly and ignore our responsibility to care for fellow humans and future generations. It is time to get fervently behind candidates whose actions, not their rhetoric, demonstrate that they care about what is at stake. We are more able to improve our quality of life with candidates who prioritize environmental protection. Jared Huffman’s actions have demonstrated that he cares about protecting Earth. This matters because it impacts our health. And at the end of the day, don’t we agree that the health of the people we love is what really matters?