Trump’s Move on Paris Climate Accord Shames Our Democracy

The decision by Donald Trump to pull out of the landmark agreement feels like a gut-punch, there’s just no other way to describe it

Today I feel ashamed.

Ashamed to be American. Ashamed to be a grown-up telling my kids what the grown-ups have done: made the planet a toxic mess and then declined to take responsibility for having done so.

The decision by Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord feels like a gut-punch, there’s just no other way to describe it. It goes against every value I hold dear and everything I want to believe about this country, about our ability to lead, our belief in doing the right thing, the higher mission we hold for our democracy on behalf of the world.

I can’t tell if Trump thinks he’s going to re-engage on this hard-won treaty or not. As usual, he doesn’t seem to have the courage of Steve Bannon’s convictions. “We are getting out,” he said in his statement, but then immediately confused matters by adding: “But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great.”

And if not? If not, “apres moi le deluge.” By the way, that’s a phrase I never understood as a child, probably as someone who was too young to conceptualize what happens “after me.” Having Trump as president makes every day feel appropriate to use the phrase: After me, the flood.

The rich-get-richer tax cuts. The budget cuts to Meals on Wheels, Medicaid, disability, Planned Parenthood. Restoring junk food to school lunch programs. There is really so very little to like or respect about this president. And then today: He spits in the eye of our children. It’s like the death of hope.

Now our president has made what many are calling a reckless decision that make no logical sense — no one seems to think his withdrawal from the accord will create jobs, which is his stated rationale.

America is receding from the world, receding from its critical role as a global leader for good.

There are others who will step in. Emmanuel Macron today spoke words of hope today, in English: “France believes in you. The world believes in you. I know you are a great nation,” he said, offering “in France, a second homeland. Come and work here with us. Let us work together on concrete solutions.”

 

Today, it won’t be America.