Election Therapy and the Golden Rule

When Pennsylvania went red and it was clear that Donald Trump would be our next president, I went to bed, but could not sleep. My mind kept thinking about the effective Clean Power Plan that is now hung up in the courts and how Trump’s appointments could reverse the progress we have made to shut down dirty coal plants and replace them with clean gas, wind, and solar. I am 71 years old, so it is likely that 25% or more of my remaining years will be spent under the administration of a president that few of us respect as a person, even many supporters who held their nose and voted for him.

Before the election, I was a news junky. For 60 to 90 minutes every morning, I read everything from the New York Times to various news aggregation services. After the election, I cut it off. The night of the election, I kept my mind fron thinking about the future by reading The Girl on the Train. I have now moved on to A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder. These books provide temporary relief by distracting me from the serious problems created by our choice of a president, but they are much like an ostrich with its head in the sand. The problems don’t go away; you just can’t see them at the moment.

Our first grandchild was born three weeks ago. When this precious infant matures and becomes a senior citizen like me, I shudder to think of the world she will face. Our experts tell us that flooding rains will increase in many areas, while other areas will become deserts. Sea level will likely rise 36 inches, but it could be a lot more. Atlanta had 86 days this year when the temperature was over 90 degrees. 100-degree days will become the norm which will increase the need or air conditioning, which will require more electricity, the production of which will emit more carbon, causing temperatures to rise even more and require more air conditioning. It’s a vicious cycle that we need to break.

I believe we have an obligation to look after the welfare of future generations and a failure to do is a sin. In my opinion, the most important parable from the Bible is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In this parable, “others” extends to future generations. We only have one earth and we should not “foul our nest”; our grandchildren deserve a healthy and bountiful planet much like the one we have enjoyed.