OCTOBER 2017
CITIZEN PETITIONS SWAMPING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

Is the Trump administration in its last days? Interesting question. While it is true that every day seems to bring us new news of this gang's transgressions it is also true that there is still a chance that the scandals will not reach high enough to bring the President down. In fact, at the rate that administration officials and cabinet members are biting the dust, it seems that soon the President will be the loneliest guy in Washington.


One of the main reasons for this isolation is the fact that the President has not been able to populate his presidency with competent help. It is widely reported that some 60% of career positions within the government remain unfilled. Secretary of State Tillerson, a legitimate major player, reportedly travels with an entourage that can fit in a minivan. The number of empty desks and offices in the agency that is supposed to create and manage our worldwide diplomatic efforts is unprecedented. For those of us primarily interested in environmental issues the damage the Trump administration has done to the US Environmental Protection Agency is literally sickening.


There are three main reasons for this phenomenon, which is not restricted to the State Department but is government-wide. The first is the native and endemic incompetence that President Trump brought with him to his new job. His incompetence is becoming a significant issue. He also reportedly has a problem reading. Naurally, his choices for Cabinet Secretaries, under secretaries, administrators, aides and other people who work in the White House reflect his intellect and experience. Both of which are deficient. These guys are not just the gang that couldn't shoot straight, they are the gang that can't think straight. As a group they lack the historical perspective, desire to learn, respect for their peers and citizens from other countries that have been the hallmark of the US government for more than 2 centuries.


By and large the way our new President and his cohort treat our allies is an international disgrace. Almost unbelievable is the fact that the US is one of only 2 countries on our planet that has indicated we will withdraw from the Paris Accord on the environment. In fact, the other holdout is Syria, hardly a leader in the environmental field. Recenet reports indicate that they will soon sign on. Imagine that - more than 190 countries are united in a worldwide emergency effort. And there we are, but the clinging to the most ridiculous reasons to turn our backs on this historic effort . This is a national disappointment and is also moving us away from our traditional alliances and isolating us on the world stage.


For those of us who focus our energy and efforts on dealing with local and global environmental issues the Trump administration, in particular the Environmental Protection Agency, has been a true disaster. It is not an understatement to note that Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice for EPA secretary inherited an Agency in excellent shape with a clear mission and the means to make that mission move forward. However, most of the administrations' efforts have focused on undoing the efforts of several past administrations. Obama-era initiatives such as the Clean Power Plan, protections against water and air pollution, protections for endangered species and other environmental protections. For a comprehensive look at what has happened so far, compiled and presented by National Geographic,click here.


Day-by-day the Trump anti-environmental agenda is moving forward. The question now is how do we regain control over this train wreck and get back on the right track.


WHAT WE CAN DO

One strategy is to utilize one of the President's most interesting characteristics, the way he adopts the views of the last person he talks to on any particular topic. In most cases our chief executive seems to have almost no comprehension about what he is parroting from his last influencer. We have seen this empty suit flip-flop countless times on virtually all major policy discussions and actions. We know Trump is a major consumer of cable news, primarily FOX - TV. If he hears it on FOX, his reasoning goes, it must be right. And correct as well. Thus he has reduced our political discussions to a series of slogans with only a tiny taste of truth.


If this is true one strategy is to work to make what we say the last and loudest word. One of the most effective tactics is to present the results of the political petitions which are proliferating as never before. No matter what individual issue we are interested/involved in there is a way to join with millions of other Americans campaigning and communicating to expose our President and rectify the terrible mistake we have made. A recent Google search for Trump Environmental Petitions yielded about 2,150,000 results. Not only is there a cause and campaign for nearly every one of us, there is also plenty of company.