#GreenNewDeal – Dear Sunrise Movement: Here Is Where You Went Wrong with Senator Feinstein

First off, I am a proud, registered Democrat. I am in favor of anything that contributes to preserving our planet. This is more about future generations than it is about me. I get that.

With that being said, by now, many of us have seen the video in which an adult and several kids asked…no…demanded that Senator Feinstein vote Yes on the Green New Deal.

You expressed that she was “disrespectful” and “dismissive” in how she addressed you all. While I greatly admire action, let me explain the ways you were wrong in this entire approach with Senator Feinstein.

You are passing around edited video. I’m not certain if this was part of your initial plans, but the bottom line is that this is dishonest. It misleads the public by leaving out crucial information about your engagement with Senator Feinstein. After searching, the video I have here from TIME is what I believe to be much of the entire video, lasting approximately 3 minutes, 30 seconds (please correct me if this is incorrect), as what you have pinned on your Twitter page is only 2 minutes and 19 seconds.

Why this matters is because at no time did Sen. Feinstein express that she was against the Green New Deal. She expressed that the resolution needs work in order to pass the Senate, which with her experience, she would know far better than any of you would. Even in your edited video, she states near the end that she is looking to “write a responsible resolution.” That does not sound like a “no” to me. I’m not certain as to why you are implying that it does. If your goal was to simply “go viral,” then congratulations..it worked. But it was not achieved in an honest manner.

You used children as pawns. This is painfully evident. My opinion here is that the thinking behind this is that this will receive much more attention if children are used. If it looks as though Sen. Feinstein is blowing off an adult, people may not say much. But if the appearance is that she is doing this to children, well…SHAME on her.

I have absolutely nothing against children who want to participate in protests or even do things of this nature. I encourage my own children to do this. But they were obviously trained to listen to respond, not listen to hear, as evidenced by how the female adult of the group behaved in a similar manner. Which brings me to my next point.

The intent all along was to be confrontational, not conversational. In the beginning of your edited video, a young girl says, “We’re going to go in and share this letter, and we’re gonna do it all together; share it in front of Feinstein…” 

Since when is it respectful for children to refer to adults by only their last names? I know I wasn’t raised that way. Again, this comes from the adult(s) in charge. This young girl must have heard the senator referred to as merely “Feinstein” enough times by adults to where she felt comfortable in doing so herself. Again…this is not some unruly child doing what she wants. She is following the example of the adult in charge, as this too was evidenced by the female adult of the group.

The children should have referred to the senator as “Senator Feinstein” or even “Mrs. Feinstein.” Along with that, it is the job of the adult(s) involved to teach the children how they are to respect authority, however much they may not agree with them. Even if the adults hated the senator’s guts, that is not something that needs to be passed on to the children. Like most Americans with good sense, I do not agree at all with much of what the President Trump does and says on a daily basis. But if my children and I were to speak to him in person, I would still tell them to address him in the proper way and I would do the same.

Also, Senator Feinstein was cut off on several occasions. Anyone with the intent of having a conversation with someone would not do that. Again, that came more often from the female adult. I do not blame Senator Feinstein at all for her responses after this happened as often as it did, especially when she made it clear that the delay was more about preparing responsible resolution than giving you a flat-out “No.” The same way I’m sure many of you as adults would not accept someone coming into your office and demanding that you do something a certain way, there was no excuse for you to confront her in this manner.

She was right say that she “does not respond to being told ‘My way or the highway’.” That is very much what came across and she had every right to defend herself, especially when it was clear that anything short of her saying, “Okay, I will do it right now,” and you would push back.

Even when the 16-year-old said “We voted for you; you’re supposed to listen to us,” and after finding out that she was 16, Senator Feinstein said, “Well you didn’t vote for me,” I completely agree. The whole “DO WHAT I SAY BECAUSE I VOTED FOR YOU” is absolutely inappropriate and certainly not something a teenager should be encouraged to say. Yes, we vote for them, but we vote for them to do jobs. They are not our puppets. We need to allow them to properly do their jobs.

I could understand if AFTER lengthy conversation things went nowhere. But this was in the very beginning. The female adult even demanded that Senator Feinstein be “brave” and do this for her grandchildren. That was a passive aggressive way to attack her, which also gets us nowhere and frankly, made the senator’s eventually what you called dismissive replies totally appropriate in defense of herself. Remember that she did not have to see you to begin with.

You did not do your homework. One of the biggest problems in politics is that there are so many opinions out there, which is great, but few citizens choose to put effort into actually learning the processes, which would help in situations like this. There is a LOT that goes into preparing and passing resolutions, bills, etc., and it would help for us to have at least a basic idea of how this works.

It appeared that the senator was willing to explain that, but again, she was cut off over and over again. If you are okay with training children to confront a U.S. Senator, in my opinion, they should also be trained and willing to listen to how the processes work. Continuing to repeat phrases from elementary school social studies textbooks might sound good, but that is not how children should be used. We should be teaching them the appropriate manner in how to address this. Then again, as I stated earlier, if the goal was the “shock factor” for this to go viral, then well done. But not the way business should be handled for something

One kid even suggested to “take money from the military.” A child certainly does not know that on her own. She learned that from an adult that in order for the government to pay for this and that, all they need to do is pull from elsewhere. This is dangerous to teach children that life is that simple. As a 21-year veteran, the military has many issues that need to be addressed and paid for as well, and I am fairly certain that not this young girl, the rest of the children, nor the female adult leader has any idea as to what exactly is being paid for in the military, or what specifically they would be pulling money from. Adults need to be careful when speaking this around children. They need to be taught not to be quick to be confrontational with all who disagree with them, but to do their homework and their research.

The bottom line is that Senator Feinstein in ON OUR SIDE. But her job is not to just pass resolutions as they are just because children are shoved in her face and demand that she do so. There is a little something called “quality control.” That means that as much as she may want something to go through, she has the responsibility to make sure it is of quality before doing so. As she stated in this video (not your edited one, which this should have been a part of), Republicans control the Senate. They are already looking for ways to shoot down all Democrats do. If the resolution is not in a responsible place, it will not matter how much Senator Feinstein votes yes; it will be shot down. Then more time will be needed to fix what went wrong and eventually, it will get pushed to the back burner and totally forgotten about. That is NOT what we want.

It makes far more sense to take extra time NOW to make sure the resolution is responsible, rather vote YES, kickback; YES, kickback again; YES, kickback once more. Then they will say it’s time to move on. And how much critical time was lost trying to force the substandard resolution through?

Respectfully, I admire anyone who wants to take action to make our planet a better place. But we cannot be careless. We cannot attack the ones trying their best to put out a good product IN OUR FAVOR. Again, she did NOT say “No.” She clearly stated more than once that it is about putting out a resolution of quality.

If you would not go to a car dealership and take whatever car off the lot simply “because you need a car,” then it should not be acceptable to demand that Senator Feinstein or anything other politician vote to pass on a resolution because you demand that she does. The fact that time is getting short is all the more reason that we get things right at THIS moment than to be careless and do it “just because it has enormous popularity of this bill (it’s not a bill; it’s a resolution) throughout this whole the country.”

After all, the president received more than 63 million votes in the 2016 election, which accounts for more than 1/5 of the country’s population. I would say that makes him “enormously popular” too.

That alone should tell us that “enormous popularity” is FAR from a sole reason for something should happen.

PLEASE, keep that passion. Keep that faith. But let’s not get so crazy about things that we are fighting the ones who have our backs. If there is something we “cannot afford” to do, especially in this day and age in this country, it is that.

Thanks for reading.

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