This article first appeared on The Liberator Today on March 28, 2017.
March 28, 2017—a dark day. . . dark like coal, dark like charred bodies, dark like torched farmland.
I had been warned. I was expecting to wake up on Tuesday to a headline like the one “Trump Set to Take an Axe to Climate Change Rules.” I expected to read something like The Atlantic’s lead paragraph: “On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will sign an executive order that will demolish his predecessor’s attempts to slow the pace of climate change. It is an omnibus climate directive that strikes across the federal government, reversing major rules that aim to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions while simultaneously instructing departments to ignore or downplay the risks of climate change in their decision-making.”
I even expected that climate activist Bill McKibben would tweet, and he did: “Today, Trump orders an end to all federal action on climate change. Just think about that for a moment, and imagine what history will say.”
What I did NOT expect was the first headline that my wife Robynn read to me in the morning: “The airstrike in Mosul was potentially one of the worst U.S.-led civilian bombings in 25 years.” Likely numbers of civilian dead range from 130 to 230, which has nothing to do with climate change, but is the most heart-wrenching fodder for analogy.
I hate it when America does something stupid. I hate it when “pursuing higher goals” or “fulfilling campaign promises,” we abandon the better side of caution for the sake of the fell decision. In science, it’s called the “precautionary principle.” (I hate when we dismiss science out of hand.) I hate when Iraqi lives (or Syrian lives, or Muslim lives, or unborn lives, or poor lives, or Black lives, or Mexican lives, or female lives) are not accounted the same worth as ours.
Today I am angry.
McKibben’s comment is haunting. What will history say about Trump’s executive orders on March 28, 2017? History does speak, you know. It speaks from the past for sure. I can still hear Al Gore who heard Winston Churchill and quoted him in An Inconvenient Truth, the documentary credited with first warning us ten years ago of the suffering caused by global warming. Churchill said of Germany, as Gore was saying of climate change, “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”
McKibben of course means history speaking from the future back to us. That’s the approach of the second climate change movie I ever saw. Robynn and I drove all the way to Topeka in October 2009 to watch the simulcast premiere of The Age of Stupid. British actor Pete Postlethwaite plays an archivist in the year 2055. From his lonely redoubt over the melted ice of the Arctic, the archivist watches old news clips (actual video clips from us in 2008, from our networks, from our interviews, from our press releases) and wonders how could we be so stupid as to not listen to our best scientists, to our most compassionate colleagues, to our most prophetic Christians, to the ill-logic of our own inconsistencies?!
I hate it when America does something stupid.
The nice thing about history is that it extends so far out into the future, and extends out to its very end when Christ will return to pursue his higher goals, to fulfill all his promises. History also extends out into the hope of regular and serious incursions of God’s Kingdom NOW, today, on March 28, 2017 and every day that follows.
And so, I believe . . .
My wife pointed this article out to me. I am so glad she did.
We need to be History Makers, World Changers. A great fleece of wool has been pulled over our eyes – especially the eyes of those who say they belong to Jesus – and we need to rip it off. We need to recognize what matters and actually do something about it.
While we listen to a cacophony of policy changes that are defeated in the public arena – and we claim victory – real, disturbing changes are flying under the radar only to have their impact realized too late. Not everyone is missing it, but far too many of us are.
While we were looking one way, our water systems and our land was attacked. While we fixated on the bullfrog’s rants, our privacy was stripped away. While we pondered what nonsense was spouted from the public square, hundreds of innocent people were slaughtered.
There is a smarter way. A better way. And together, I know we can find it. I know we can fight for it. I know we can make sure that future generations won’t look back at us and ask “Why? Why didn’t you listen? Why didn’t you do something? Anything?”
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