Tilbage i maj lykkedes det IPmonopolet, at få et interview med den demokratiske senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon). Det blev til en snak om global opvarmning, hvorfor USA har brug for forandring og, selvfølgelig, Donald Trump.

Af Esben Als-Andersson

 

I processen fra første kontakt til at aftalen var i hus, gik der næsten to-en-halv måned. Det er, hvad man må forvente sig, når man forsøger at få et interview med en amerikansk senator midt i de amerikanske primærvalg. Senator Jeff Merkley (SJM) fra delstaten Oregon havde ganske kort tid forinden interviewet fandt sted, offentligt meldt sin støtte til den demokratiske præsident kandidat Bernie Sanders, og var derfor en mere end normal travl mand herre. Støtten blev givet via en såkaldt endorsement, hvori senator Merkley offentligt bebudede hans støtte til Sanders frem for alternativet, Hillary Clinton.

Planlægningen og tilrettelæggelsen af interviewet skete igennem Merkleys personlige assistent Jennifer Piorkowski. Det gik langt fra glat. Eftersom der kun kunne blive tilbudt halvtimes åbninger med næsten tre uger i mellem, samt den otte timers tidsforskel fra Washington til København, blev aftalerne konstant rykket frem og tilbage, aflyst og omlagt, ændret og aftalt igen. Og igen. I alt ni gange blev den oprindelige aftale om et halv times interview omlagt, og i sidste ende blev aftalen, at interviewet skulle kortes ned til ti minutter – og alle spørgsmål skulle sendes i forvejen. Derudover blev repræsentanter fra senator Merkleys kommunikationsafdeling stationeret i rummet for at føre protokol og overvære interviewets forløb i tilfælde af, at utilsigtede spørgsmål eller situationer skulle opstå.

Efter alt dette var faldet på plads, og der endeligt var blevet givet lov til at lave en lydoptagelse af interviewet, kunne senator Merkley og IPmonopolets udsendte langt om længe tænde for Skype, og interviewet kunne finde sted.

 

So we know you just made an endorsement, if you could sum up a few points about why you endorsed, whom you endorsed?

“I endorsed Bernie Sanders. I think [concerning] the biggest issues facing America in terms of living ways and in terms of taking on role of concentration our campaign system and in terms of taking on global warming, and those three really big issues, Bernie is by far the best candidate running. He is ready to aggressively take on these challenges – he has tales about how to take them on, his heart is there”.

“We have to tip it from fossil fuel to renewable energy, but folks do not generally understand how far we are behind. We have to accelerate this transition and accelerate it dramatically. Bernie Sanders gets that! He has been very supportive of the normal conversation which I would say is the safe conversation in terms of; yes we have to make billings more energy sufficient; we need to make cars with higher mileage; we need to encourage people to go to electric cars – but that is only the start of our conversation. That conversation did not help understand the size of the challenge we are facing”.

“The size of the challenge is that of identifying, that of the proven reserves of fossil fuels in the world, 80 percent have to stay in the ground – while there are people who own those reserves. How are you going to get people who own reserves that are worth a lot of money – It is like have buried liquid gold if you will – how are you going to get them to leave their gold in the ground? That is the size of the challenge. So a place to start is what American citizens own. I own a lot of oil and gas by being an American citizen and my fellow citizens own it with me. And what are we going to do with that? Are we going to keep leasing it out?”

“There is no way we should be authorising the extractions of more of our citizen owned fossil fuels. At least as a starting point we are talking about keeping it in the ground, and so I invited both leading candidates on the democratic side to come and help me kick off the ‘Keep it in The Ground’-bill – one showed up, and one did not, I am endorsing the one who showed up! I am endorsing the candidate who was there on arctic drilling from day one. Who was there for every single aspect of our collective owned resources. Plus, understanding that we have to be a leader in international conversation because the whole world has to do this together”.

 

Senator Jeff Merkley, Demokraterne. Billedet er taget fra Jeff Merkleys kampagneside.

“I am very concerned that this is the biggest issue ever threatening humanity and that we are moving far too slowly. We are seeing the impact on the ground in my home state (Oregon, red.). We are seeing it with the pine beetles, who are destroying forests because they do not die in the summer because it is not cold enough. We are seeing it with the drought because we do not have the same snow pack on our mountains. Our oysters are having trouble reproducing because baby oysters, when they start to form a shell, the water is too acidic for them to form a shell. With all that is going wrong in the world is, that the ocean is becoming too acidic for shellfish to form their shells, which is a sign of a lot of trouble to come. But that is just in my home state”.

“Bernie is talking about global warming in every speech. When I first ran for the senate in 2008 it was considered to be 20th on the list of what Americans were concerned about. However, I talked about it at every gathering, and it was the major reason for why I was running. And Bernie is doing the same thing. Hopefully the fact that now half the democratic party supports him in the national polling where it is almost an even split. That is a good indicator of where the democratic party is heading regardless of he wins the nomination”.

But is it only because of Bernie Sanders stance in the climate debate that you are supporting him, or is it also in other aspects such as the American economy for instance?

“To understand what is happening to the American economy, you have to understand the concentration of power that has come from cash-in-the-system. Our legend of our republic is framed by the first three words of our constitution, which is ‘We the People’ and the whole idea was that every citizen would have the opportunity have an equal say symbolised by equal vote. But ‘equal say’ goes beyond that idea of a town square, where one can get up and say what they think. Everyone can influence the process. But when ‘town square’ is television, web, radio and you have to buy that time at ‘town square’ and when the court says; “Well those with the most money, can buy the most time”, that turns the whole principle of equal voice on its head. Bernie really gets that and he is determined to do everything we can on that score. And If you add the political system, captured by fusing ‘We the People’ with ‘We the Powerful’, then the economic system is captured through the laws that are passed”.

“Anyway, that is the foundations why I am backing Bernie. You may know that last night we had five more primaries. Where Bernie won one of those. The math, well it is not good for him, but it is still worth while having this conversation about these big issues across America”.

So now that we have been talking about your endorsement of Bernie Sanders, let us turn the focus to the Republican Party, more specifically to Donald Trump. What do you think of the way he has been campaigning throughout the primary elections?

“Right now he is just throwing out whatever comes to his mind. At one moment he will say: “Europe does not pay its fair share to NATO and NATO’s role ought to be diminished if they do not pay more.” The next moment he is talking about we should tell Japan and South Korea to build nuclear weapons so we do not have to provide a nuclear cover for them. The next moment he is saying: “No Muslims should be allowed into the United States.” When he said that, I was sitting here in this office and I jumped up and I went to the floor of the senate and immediately spoke, and I said that that was the single worst idea I had heard from a presidential candidate – ever! I think I has gotten to the point that you either have to view it that he really does not think anything through – the pros and cons and the complexities which is very scary, or that he is just throwing out campaign-rhetoric that he thinks will resonate, and he will figure out his real policies later on. So I do not know. It is for a lot of concerns”.

Do you think, that the fact that the fact that Trump is not a politician per se, but more of a businessman will play a role in regards to his relations to other heads of state?

“Well, first of all, I will do anything I can to make sure that he does not get elected. Because of the great concerns about what damage he can do domestically, and the type of prejudices he invokes. And certainly his naivety about the complexities of policies. I do not think we can say, that it is because he is a business man that he is saying these things or has these policies. There are many very sophisticated business men who think in very complex terms. He has had a very narrow slice of business about development of basically commercial properties. That is maybe an add onto itself, but it is a very narrow challenge and he may be a master of that, but he he is not the master of many of the other issues of the world. It will be hard to say where he will go in the course of the general election campaigns if he becomes a nominee. We are all going to be paying a lot of attention to that question”.

 

Med disse ord slukker vi Skype-forbindelsen og lader senator Merkley tage sig af sine daglige pligter på Capitol Hill.

Idag, godt et halvt år efter interviewet, må vi konstatere at, Bernie Sanders ikke blev nomineret som demokraternes præsidentkandidat, og valget nu står mellem demokraternes Hillary Clinton og republikanernes Donald Trump. Sjældent har verdens øjne hvilet så tungt på et amerikansk valg, og sjældent har et valg været så nervepirrende som det, der finder sted i morgen.

 

Esben Als-Andersson er medlem af IPmonopolets chefredaktion

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