Trump released his budget and it reduces funding for social programs while increasing military and border wall spending. Trump does nothing to address the deficit spending trend that he has increased throughout his administration, and he reduces funding to the Environmental Protection Agency. The budget represents a long term attack on the American people with cuts to environmental, medical, and social services while failing to address increasing debt. Trump is irresponsible with other people’s money while trying to protect his odds of being re-elected by goosing the economy with borrowed money. He has successfully attacked American institutions like the Justice department, intelligence agencies, etc., but he has not worked to improve any infrastructure besides the border wall that antagonizes our neighbors. If he were an agent for a foreign power you could not expect more damage to America’s long term strength from a single politician.
Dr. Martin Luther King said that “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” As I look at today’s challenges this quote resonates as loudly as it ever has. We poison our planet with carbon and plastic while a few thousand billionaires have more wealth than over four billion people. In the United States and other countries tribalism is on the rise and threatens to destroy any effort at global collaboration to save, or improve life on our planet. Many Americans say they would rather have a dictator who thinks like they do rather than have a constitutional republic. Fools and foolish thinking is at high tide right now, but we can change that in 2020… it may be our last chance in more ways than one.
I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! 2020 will be a pivotal year in world and US history. America will make a decision about it’s character, and future in a profound election between stark choices. Donald Trump cannot be confused for a statesman, decent person, or benevolent democratic leader. Everyone voting for him at some level realizes they have a target or two in mind for him to go after. The bad news is that by selling their liberty for perceived protection or benefits Trump voters risk losing them as Benjamin Franklin warned. The bad news gets worse when you consider The limitations of the current president. Four more years of not addressing the climate crisis and bowing to Putin could potentially weaken human rights and democracy around the world. The triumph of the oligarchs can be halted, but only if the truth is not smothered by lies and indifference.
Many Americans repeatedly say their main reason for support of Trump is the economy. In the last week a United Nations conference in Madrid on climate change concluded in failure despite scientists alerting world leaders that we are heading for the worst case scenario. A major reason cited for the failure to act on climate change is the current United States leadership not believing in it, or acting to mitigate it. As Americans consider the cost of Trump on the moral plane, the national security front, the maintenance of the republic, and the respect for institutions; we need to see the speeding freight train of climate crisis coming. Facts and truth don’t apparently matter for a portion of Americans supporting Trump, but there will be no escaping a climate that does not support human civilization at the current scale. We can still escape the worst of a nightmare future, but scientist are alerting all of us that time is running out.
Today we have world leaders and regular citizens who believe that they can speak lies into truth and change people as well as reality. A hard working American diplomat who fights corruption becomes a bad person according to her own president. Everyday citizens routinely trash each other on the internet and behind each other’s backs to change the identities of those they do not agree with, or like. As our civilization deals with existential threats that will require every ounce of science and teamwork we can master it is a horrific time for the worst of human nature to be edified by social media and selfishness. Push for the truth in your life and with your friends. Get your information from more than one source. Act like your life depended on knowing and acting on truth because it does.
In the last few days we have seen the first extreme fire alert in California accompanied by dangerous fast moving fires, and the readjustment of the number of people threatened by worldwide coastal flooding in 2050 raised by 300%. Scientist are starting to speculate about migration patterns leading people to leave drought ravaged farm areas for coastal cities which are dealing with flooding. Video of the fires in California due to Santa Ana winds show the danger for fire fighters as wind gusts up to 80 miles an hour. An ember can be picked up by the wind and start a fire behind the fire fighting line while fires blaze like jet engines on dry brush and grass. As a society we face increasing threats that will multiply in force if we continue our current ways. Vote as if your future depends on addressing climate crisis; it does.
A new poll shows that a large majority of Americans believe that humans contribute to climate change and can slow it. That is good news for many of us who are alarmed by our lack of leadership on the climate crisis. Our country has taken it’s time, but I believe that the United States is uniquely able to lead, and create conditions that will lead to a planet that is more conducive to human civilization. We live in interesting times that will demand our attention and creativity to prevent catastrophe. Hope is what we need to create energy and solutions and the 2020 election will be critical to supplying new leadership that can bring it. I think and I hope we are on the path to confronting the climate crisis as a fully engaged society with powerful markets, and structures to apply to the fight.