Wasting our precious time

Dear President Trump,

We have this plug-in thing in the bathroom upstairs that’s an all-in-one nightlight, digital clock, and thermometer. It’s not my favorite because the clock numbers are teeny-tiny and I can’t read them in the middle of the night when I don’t have my glasses on. The numbers reflecting the temperature, however, are huge and easy to read and because the nightlight feature changes depending how cool/hot it is, we’re always able to have that information readily available. Of course this is the information we are generally already acutely aware of since it’s not that hard to know whether it is too cold, too hot, or just right. Really, most of us have solidly functioning Goldilocks-comfort set points.

So last night at 10:30 the light was bright red and the temperature reading was 83. In Seattle. In June. At 10:30 at night with windows open for cross breezes. At midnight the light was a pale yellow, which I found puzzling since my Goldilocks-meter was definitely not registering a comfortable temperature. Turns out it was because the temperature had only dipped down to 80 – enough to trigger a cooler light color but certainly not enough to allow for comfortable sleep. I know this is nothing compared to what people in San Francisco are contending with (100+ degree weather) and people in India (123+ degree weather in some places plus cyclones), so while I do feel crabby on my own behalf, I’m bringing this up (again) because these drastic changes are about so much more than discomfort – they are life and death and they beg the question ‘how hosed are we?’

This morning these climate change indicators also have me wondering what things would be like had you not been elected and we instead had a Clinton presidency and a leader who wouldn’t have had her head in the oil well over global warming. I’m under no illusions that the actual climate change indicators would be any different – this global course we are on was set decades ago (which in the scheme of things isn’t that long, but certainly predates you and any time that you had real power). We would still be seeing the catastrophic effects of human activity on the planet no matter who was president now. But what I think would be different is that we’d be f*cking talking about it, grappling with it, as a country, together.

Yes, you and your ilk would still be flapping your gums trying to undermine the public’s confidence in the science and you’d still be bilking the world’s natural resources and leaving messes in your wake, for sure. Even the best policies regulating greedy asshole-behavior and the best public health we’re-all-in-this-together messaging are not going to stop everyone inclined toward this crap, but it would curb some. Also, having clear, consistent messages coming from the federal government, from our president, would not only help shape behavior, but it could give us some sense of hope and common purpose. It would allow us to at least be aspirational around doing everything in our collective power to slow/stop/reverse course. Sitting back trying to pretend things are normal has got to be messing with most people’s minds and hearts. In big ways.

The malevolence and corruption you brought to the White House absolutely needs to be addressed. Your willingness to use information about political opponents furnished by foreign governments, for example, has to be checked. But the nasty 20-ring circus you’ve got going is keeping us from rallying around and dealing with the issues we desperately need to confront, and this is the real tragedy of your presidency. You are wasting our precious time.

May we pay real attention and put real energy toward the massive safety issues we all face.
May we be willing to contend with our collective reality.
May we get our asses in gear before the health of our planet is so far gone we can’t help her.
May we not buy into your war on the future.

Tracy Simpson

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