One just can’t keep up these days. This is the third column I’ve drafted in as many days. Each day, another social issue overshadows my previous draft and I can’t help but at least get my thoughts out on paper. First, wind energy got overshadowed by the latest addition to the “Fearless Girl” scenario. Next, the “Fearless Girl” got overshadowed by Kathy Griffin’s stunt. Now, that subject’s been eclipsed by the withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. We’ll see if this one can make it to print.
To be fair, I’ll give credit where credit is due. The president promised he would withdraw from the agreement and he did. So he’s got that under his belt and we’ll have to live with it…assuming we live much longer. I mean, this decision is coming from the guy who said there wasn’t a drought in California and he was just going to turn the water back on. I don’t think he’s exactly qualified to make such heavy judgements.
This is generally where a now-dated adage comes into play. “He’ll surround himself with experts.” Sure. I’ll admit that’s not a bad plan. It worked for Arnold Governator. It’s important to bring in minds that can understand, explain and extrapolate situations beyond one’s own capability when in a leadership position.
But, here’s where I get hung up.
He had Elon Musko on board. Short of Stephen Hawking, Musk’s pretty much guaranteed to actually be the smartest guy in any given room. Back in November, Trump said he would have an open mind on the issue of climate change and said it may have some connection to human activity. So then he gets Musk and Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick to join his economic advisory board. Later he brings Musk in on the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. Both these guys want to expand their business and make more product. Neither of them fully supported Trump’s ideas. Kalanick left after about a month, because of criticism stemming from the President’s proposed Muslim ban. Now, Musk is out because of the President’s decision to leave the Paris accord.
It does Trump no good to have people on his boards if he thinks he knows better than they do.
Musk is involved in clean energy, is building electric cars and is working toward space travel, so I’m not surprised he’s upset by the president’s move. If the President is going to close the door on Paris and try to keep things the same as they’ve been — coal, oil and combustion engines — it may be up to people like Musk to continue advancing American industry and technology. Musk and others like him see the very real potential for major shifts in the energy and transportation industries. Trump and others like him see the need to sustain the methods they are familiar with, because the old methods have been effective in the past.
People say the most dangerous phrase is, “We’ve always done it that way.”
The world is changing. Musk has foresight and is taking strides to prepare for the needs of the future. Trump sees only the present and is taking steps to keep it on life support for as long as possible until the electricity runs out.