As I write this, I am sitting awake on the eve of the 45th presidential inauguration. Like millions of others, my mind is busy trying to make sense of what is to date, the most controversial transfer of power ever to occur in the United States of America. However, as my concerns maybe similar to those that are protesting or speaking out publicly on the many flawed ideas that the new president has addressed during his campaign and resulting wait to hold office, they are indeed slightly different as well. They focus not on today. Not on me or my fellow neighbors that make up the 300 million plus residents of the United States. It is my children and their children I am most concerned about tonight.
Before I begin I would like to take a moment to discuss the difference between having a conversation about someone’s character versus someone’s ideas. When choosing to talk about the character of a person, it is hard to not be judgmental, condescending or down right rude. That person most likely will feel personally attacked and they would be right to feel so as their morals and ethics are being questioned. When discourse erupts over ideas however, the person whose ideas are being challenged may have a sense of being personally attacked, but we must remember the conversation is purely about the idea, not the person's morality. Good people have bad ideas. It is one of the many ways we consider ourselves to be human and distinctively separate from other closely related species. When debating an idea one must separate whatever personal beliefs they have or any personal attachments so that the idea itself can be up for criticism.
Back to the concerns that are keeping me from my slumber. Two issues seem to eat away at my patience and tolerance with the new person I must call our president. Climate change and education.
Let's start with climate change. Scientists have for years now largely agreed that human impact on the environment has caused significant increases to the speed at which greenhouse gases are entering the atmosphere. Without going to deep into the science behind this issue. Greenhouse gases cause the earth to trap heat, warming up the planet. The earth has natural cycles of warming and cooling, but the evidence is no longer a gray area. We are making it worse. Fast. This is not about the science of climate change however. This is about the new president, his administration, and their ideology surrounding the topic. The president has repeatedly said he believes that climate change is a Chinese hoax. As sad as that is to the rest of the world who have our eyes open and are perceptive to evidence, it has the potential to cause huge problems in our not so far away future. It may not seem to be a big deal day to day but it will have major impacts to the lives of humans as well as the other estimated 16 million species alive today by the time I grow old. I'm 25. This means that within 50 years the environment could become such a harsh system to live in that many of the world's plants and animals will perish as evolution would not have enough time to let them adjust. As for humans, we can adapt thanks to our bigger brain to body ratio allowing us to create and use new technology. With what cost though? Massive expenses to move major cities that will be half, if not completely underwater. Higher costs related to keeping us comfortable during the increasingly hot summers and increasing cold winters. So while many reading this will either be dead or at a end of their lives, your children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren will now have a carry the burden of increasing costs and increasing difficulty to survive while the beautiful planet we see with our eyes today becomes more dry, less green, and more hostile. Now if the president himself believed this whole thing was a hoax then fine. Let him believe as he wishes as long as those appointed to the problems realize what is at stake. But that's not what happen. He appointed cabinet members who say they either agree with the president or believe it's fake all together. Okay fine. What about the Energy secretary? Rick Perry also doesn't think climate change is an immediate threat to the world. Not surprising, but scary. The new president and his team are ready to implement policies or disable policies that were making America a leader in the fight against climate change. This is devastating...to our future.
Next up, education. The new president has said before that education is important to him and the country. I mean it has a be if your goal is to “Make America Great Again” right? Well public education is the overwhelming way that most of the students in the United States get prepared for real life after graduation. The president then proceeds to appoint Secretary of Education to someone who, donated mass amount of money to him and his campaign, is widely inexperienced with the public school system, and seems to think that private schools are the way to go (primarily religious private schools). Take a moment to dwell on the following thought experiment. Your child is a student in the public school system at the moment, but thanks to new policy changes made by the new administration in government, you and everyone you know has a voucher to allow their children as well as yours to go to a private school, if that school in facts wants your child, since they have choice on who gets accepted. Your child struggles with one of the following: physical disabilities, mental disabilities, behavior issues, diagnosis for lack of attention, bad parenting resulting in academic failure or behavior disobedience, or even just a bad attitude no one can fix (this one seems to happen to every child at some point growing up). Your child is not getting into that school. They want the smartest, hardest working, most focused students since they now get funding from the government based around test scores. Public education now is filled with students with problems, whether or not those problems make the student a bad student, it makes teaching a class a million times harder and less content and life skills are able to be taught. Remember I am a teacher. Unlike Betsy DeVos, I do in fact know what it takes a teacher to try and educate all types of children.
Climate change and education. Two issues that will change the course of future for the better or the worse depending on policies put in place by the new president and his new administration. Among many other ideas swirling in Washington after the transfer of power. These two should carry significant weight in the minds of American citizens.