Have you ever wondered about the castle-like structure on Interstate 90 as you approach the outskirts of Chicago? Medieval Times is the venue for a dinner theatre/jousting performance complete with kings, queens, knights in shining armor and even a damsel in distress - quite a show! As you take your seat, one of the half dozen or so knights, be it the Red Knight or the Blue Knight etc., is selected as your “champion”. From that moment on he’s your guy, and the rivalry between your knight and those of your friends is ON!
After the show as we relived the highlights, many of us remarked how quickly we had developed loyalty to our “champion” who is just some actor dressed up as a knight. We were quick to attribute virtuous qualities to him while suspecting devious motives of the others.
Funny about us humans and our fierce allegiance to our own “tribe” and its members. It can be so intense that it clouds our objectivity. For example, folks on the left side of the political spectrum may squirm when reminded that it was Richard Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and he signed into law the Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection Acts – impressive! And how about that George W. Bush warning, “America is addicted to oil” in his 2006 State of the Union Address. Conversely, folks on the right may disregard anything Al Gore says about global warming despite the fact that the non-partisan, international Nobel committee did indeed award him the Peace Prize.
Ahh…humans. We find it easy to assign negative qualities to those outside our tribe while we unquestionably support those within our group. Thankfully, those tribal inclinations are not airtight. For example, the House of Representative’s Gibson Resolution urges House members to find ways to balance human activities that are changing the climate. Every single signer is a Republican. Not what you expected?
We’d see environmental champions (without the shining armor) all around us, if only we’d pull aside those tribal blinders. The Climate Solutions Caucus does just that. Any Representative who wants to join this caucus is required to bring along a member of the opposing political party, equal Dems and Repubs. It’s a great example of breaching tribal walls and working together for a healthy planet. After all, our only home is right here. We’re forever…Earthbound.