John Kerry, the Biden administration’s envoy for climate change, is being criticized for taking a private jet to Iceland in 2019 to receive an award. When asked by a local reporter if this was an eco-conscious way to travel, the former secretary of state replied, “it’s the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle.”
Only choice. Somebody like me. Win this battle. Let’s take those three components of Kerry’s very telling statement and unpack them a little. It’s an important exercise in understanding how “somebody like him” sees himself, us and the world.
Icelandic air has 11 non-stop flights to the United States, four of which are close to where Kerry lives: Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. American Airlines and Delta also offer non-stop flights, and from personal experience I’ve had layovers in Reykjavik airport on United and Aer Lingus flights en route to Europe.
So, a private jet is not the only choice. It’s his preferred choice, and if I had his wealth, I absolutely guarantee you I would travel private, too. Middle seat on the DCA to DFW between a mom with a newborn and a girthy millennial watching videos sans headphone or a private jet … not a hard choice.
But in the age of climate change, the existential threat which looms over us, when science tells us we must act now, one has to wonder when John Kerry will make the choice which is better for the Earth and not just himself.
“Somebody Like Me”
Who is John Kerry? A politician, diplomat, world-renowned figure and a major player in the Biden administration. All of that, regardless of his politics and my thoughts about them, is true. So, status, therefore, confers certain privileges. “Powerful Players Lead Better Lives” is not grabbing any headlines. We all know the rich, the insiders and the connected have perks the rest of us don’t.
Kerry isn’t guilty of abusing his position. This is not one of those moments like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi going to a closed hair salon or California Gov. Gavin Newsom violating his own lockdown orders to dine with lobbyists or New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordering New Yorkers to stay off the road as he drove down it. Kerry is exercising his privilege.
But in the age of climate change, the existential threat which looms over us, when science tells us we must act now, one has to wonder when John Kerry will stop using his privilege and act for the Earth and not just himself.
“Win This Battle”
This is where it all comes crashing down, and John Kerry shows the great contradiction which is the climate change movement. The battle he references is the battle against climate change, and it is caused by us. Human action. Our choices; our use of fossil fuels; our lifestyles, and only government action, swift and deliberate, is strong enough to combat it. Action like the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal sets the goal of phasing out the combustion engine. We’re driving too much, and it’s fueling this climate battle. We need government to step in.
Vice President Kamala Harris expressed interest in the government changing dietary guidelines to reduce the consumption of red meat.
President Joe Biden has said we should “phase out” fossil fuels and make the country carbon neutral by 2050. His recent Executive Action makes it much harder for the fossil fuels industry to operate, but this is all because we are in a battle against an existential threat of climate change.
Just, don’t expect somebody like John Kerry to get his hands dirty in this fight. His position in government and his private wealthy affords him that privilege, and somebody like him will always, always, make the choice which is best for somebody like him.
Somebody like you, however, will not have a choice. John Kerry is making sure of it.
While the rest of us will see our cars, our diets and our lifestyle increasingly regulated by a climate-conscious federal government, John Kerry, or somebody like him, will always have the privilege of choice.
But what about the cause, this existential crisis of climate change brought on by human actions requiring strong government intervention. If he believes it, like he claims he does, why doesn’t he live it? We’re not asking him for pennies for a charity or to promote a hashtag or buy a box of girl scout cookies. This cause is existential. EXISTENTIAL. That’s what John Kerry tells us.
How do actions waiver after professing such an unyielding creed?
“I believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior but I also pray to Buddha” said no Christian ever if he truly understands the gravity of that profession of faith. And John Kerry is a believer. He believes the science.
If a person does not voluntarily live in his personal life what he wants the power of government to mandate that you live in yours, then that person is a fraud and a liar and not worthy of trust let alone federal authority. No free people will ever willingly follow his lead. From COVID to climate change, Americans are sick of hypocrisy of the ruling class. Somebody like John Kerry.
Daniel Turner is the founder and executive director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @DanielTurnerPTF