When Donald Trump was elected president, I was one month into my assignment in India. My American expat friends and I spent election day watching the numbers roll in, and we couldn't believe our eyes. How in the world did this man get elected?
Then the nightmare got worse as we watched his first 100 days in office, and saw him regress on issues that are near and dear to our hearts, namely women's rights and the environment.
AN EXPAT'S PERSEPCTIVE
It is perhaps more profound to watch all this unfold from a country in which women's rights are decades behind the western world, and ideas about and restrictions on pollution are even further behind. Watching a President who should be setting the tone for the rest of the world, including countries like India, begin to unravel the progress that has been made in recent years, has been sickening to watch.
And now he has pulled out of the Paris climate change accord, because it would be too risky to the American economy. Yikes.
MANUFACTURING & POLLUTION
What's interesting to note is that when Americans started outsourcing manufacturing to places like China and India, we also outsourced the pollution and carbon emissions that manufacturing creates. So while India got a booming manufacturing industry, it also got a staggering pollution problem.
I work in an industry where I get to see first hand the environmental damage that manufacturing does, and let me just tell you, that's not something any American wants to bring back stateside. We create more than our fair share of pollution as it is.
In the long run though, the pollution in India, China, and the U.S. will end up affecting the entire globe, not just the inhabitants of those countries, so it behooves us all to hold hands and agree to cut our carbon emissions at the same time. The idea that the United States, one of the greatest contributors to the problem, will now not participate in the effort to resolve it, is sickening.
The irony is, when renewable energy becomes economically feasible on a broad scale, which is only a matter of time, there will be countless jobs created in that sector. If Trump continues to look down his nose at renewable energy, the U.S. may miss out on the opportunity to be a leader in that industry. Talk about a blow to our economy. Joke's on you, Mr. President.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
I'm angry about this. I'm sad. I'm incredulous that the leader of the free world could be so careless with the future of the next generation. But let us not let this decision keep us down, and instead let it light a fire within us to do all we can, and spread the word about the changes and choices each of us can make to contribute to a better world for our children.
Let's vote with our dollars for businesses that actively make a positive impact. Let's opt out of the consumer economy that tells us we need big box stores and mass scale manufacturing. Let's quit buying shit, quit burning shit, quit throwing shit away. Let's plant seeds, and play outside, and create beauty, and build better relationships with our partners, our parents, our children, our friends. Let's talk to each other and collaborate and make the most of the precious little time we have on this earth, and make sure that we're spending every single day trying to make it a better place.
And, perhaps most importantly, let's vote with our ballots to get this f*cker out in 2020.