There was no good time for Donald Trump to be president. But this is a uniquely bad time for us to have a race-baiting, science-denying divider in chief.
Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson wrote a famous memoir, “Present at the Creation,” about the birth of the post-World War II order — an order whose institutions produced six decades of security and growth for a lot of people. We’re now at a similar moment of rapid change — abroad and at home. Many institutions have to be rethought. But any book about Washington today would have to be called “Absent at the Creation.”
Surely one of the most cynical, reckless acts of governing in my lifetime has been President Donald Trump and the GOP’s attempt to ram through a transformation of America’s health-care system — without holding hearings with experts, conducting an independent cost-benefit analysis or preparing the public — all to erase Barack Obama’s legacy to satisfy a few billionaire ideologue donors and a “base” so drunk on Fox News that its members don’t understand they’ll be the ones most hurt by it all.
Democrats aren’t exactly a fire hose of fresh ideas, but they do respect science and have a sense of responsibility to not play around with big systems without an ounce of study. Not so Trump. He scrapped the Paris climate treaty without consulting one climate scientist — and no GOP leader protested. Think about that.
That failure is particularly relevant because, as this column has been arguing, “climate change” is the right analytical framework for thinking about how we shape policy today. Why? Because we’re going through three climate changes at once:
We’re going through a change in the actual climate — disruptive, destructive weather events are steadily on the rise.
We’re going through a change in the “climate” of globalization — going from an interconnected world to an interdependent one, from a world of walls where you build your wealth by hoarding the most resources to a world of webs where you build your wealth by having the most connections to the flow of ideas, networks, innovators and entrepreneurs. In this interdependent world, connectivity leads to prosperity and isolation leads to poverty. We got rich by being “America Connected” not “America First.”
Finally, we’re going through a change in the “climate” of technology and work. We’re moving into a world where computers and…