It was a tough afternoon, with breaking news that the US would pull out of the Paris agreement, the global deal to address climate change. Though the withdrawal was long foreshadowed, it’s still tough to swallow that any form of leadership could ever take such a reckless tack. There are, quite literally, no winners politically, economically or socially.
Today, with Congress in recess, I attended a Town Hall meeting with one of my Senators, Ed Markey, who sits on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He put out the statement today: “Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement Is a Betrayal of Scientific Fact, Economic Opportunity, and Moral Leadership.” I wanted to hear what he was going to do about it. (Special bonus: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Congressman Mike Capuano got everyone energized.)
It was clear just how much he and the Democratic Party are on the defensive, not really interested in putting forth a vision, but rather fighting solely to resist. I suppose that’s the state of politics today.
At his best, though, Markey was engaging. He invoked John F. Kennedy, who rallied the nation by declaring, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade…not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” In so doing, he signaled America’s leadership in the world; its ability to do the impossible. The current administration, by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, has just signaled the opposite. Sad.