Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Make America Great Again

This is an open letter to President-Elect Trump:

Mr. Trump,

You speak of making America great again.  In your campaigning, you've captured the frustrations and concerns of many members of American society who have been left behind by globalization and technological advances.

It is difficult to make America great by simply turning back the clock, closing the borders and pretending that it's 1955 again.  In many ways I thought your slogan was hollow.  After the last eight years of job growth and rebuilding America's image in the world, who's to say we aren't great now?

However, there is one area that I feel that America excelled at, back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  There is something that has been lost.  If you truly want to make America great again, you can start with this one thing.

We used to celebrate intelligence and science.  Remember that?  Remember when we sent rockets to space and landed on the moon?  Remember when Disneyland unveiled the promise of Tomorrowland?  Remember when the American future would be built by American ingenuity?

Remember when people watched the news?  People like Cronkite were revered for telling it "the way it is" - I imagine that you would have liked him.  People watched the news to learn and be informed - not to bicker and be entertained.  Citizenship mattered.  Contributing to the national discourse mattered.  Being ill-informed was not celebrated.

When I see that you've appointed climate change deniers to the EPA and the DOE I can't help but contrast that decision against our previous head of the DOE who held a Nobel Prize.  Climate change due to greenhouse gases is real and it will permanently ruin life on this planet for your kids, their kids, and the rest of this world unless we reverse it.  This is the type of moonshot thinking that America excels at - and yet we're timid, cowardly, and unprepared to show leadership.  We should demand the world reduce carbon emissions - we should lead the way - and then we can reap the economic gains of being the market leader - just as we have done time and time again in industries such as automotive, aerospace, computers, telecommunications and medicine.

Now, it isn't just the right wing that has embraced ignorance with regards to climate change.  The left has it's own shame in the anti-vaxxer movement, or the concerns about GMOs.  These concerns are also not founded in science, and should likewise be addressed.

America is great.  America has been great.  But if you really want to make America great again.  If you really want to turn the clock by 60 years - then I implore you to make leadership in science, and leadership in forward thinking in addressing climate change central to your position as President.


Aaron Fyke