Time for Manchin to move on

Aaron Dunbar in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Sep 18, 2021

I have a message I’d like to deliver to Sen. Joe Manchin: Get out of the way, old man.

Now, it’s not in my usual nature to address someone so rudely. But given Manchin’s recent patronizing choice of language referring to his colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (a year older than myself) as “that young lady,” using her age and gender to belittle her status as a fellow legislator, it seemed only appropriate that I address him similarly.

Manchin and Ocasio-Cortez’s most recent exchange of unpleasantries comes as a result of sparring over Democrats’ proposed $3.5 trillion spending package, which Manchin has managed to singlehandedly capsize.

It’s worth noting that this piece of legislation might be the one and only chance the Biden administration has to meaningfully take on the climate crisis for the foreseeable future. Setting aside political realities, the overwhelming consensus among the scientific community is that we have less than a decade to drastically slash emissions or else face a certain future of runaway climate catastrophe.

One might think that, following a summer of warming-fueled (un)natural disaster after (un)natural disaster, along with record-shattering global temperatures, Manchin might have a better response to such vital climate legislation than to shrug his shoulders and say that it “makes no sense at all.”

But then again, if you do think that, then you probably don’t know Joe Manchin very well.

It actually makes perfect sense that an irredeemably corrupt politician like Manchin, who owns millions of dollars of stock in coal brokerages, and to whom climate denying monster corporations like ExxonMobil refer as “crucial” to undermining climate action in Congress, would be opposed to such important legislation as the reconciliation package.

I’m not a West Virginian, and I’m sick of every single attempt at passing any kind of meaningful legislation being hamstrung by a single corrupt Senator who doesn’t represent me. And speaking often as I do with those who are in fact represented by Manchin, he doesn’t actually seem to care about his constituents whatsoever. He’s perfectly content to let the West Virginians who voted for him stay poor and miserable, sacrificing thousands upon thousands of good-paying jobs in clean, renewable energy, as long as he can continue to line his pockets with as much dirty money as he can get his hands on.

And so to Senator Manchin, I say this:

You’re a 74-year-old man. You’re at the twilight of your years, and leaving behind a legacy of perverse greed and human suffering for those of us who follow in your wake. Americans who are AOC’s age, my age, and younger, will remember you only as a great villain of history. As a corrupt old man who let the world burn in order to serve his corporate puppetmasters.

This is your legacy, Senator. You can either save face now and do what’s right for the sake of future generations, or else get out of the way for those of us who will.