Like many of you, I have been apoplectic about the hubris demonstrated by pulling out of the Paris Agreement. I was anxious to see what the polls said about the decision. Democrats, of course, were overwhelmingly opposed to Trump’s action. To my surprise, Republicans disagreed with him, too. Even Trump voters were opposed by a small margin.
This left me wondering why he did it. Many analysts believe that if the president simply was trying to keep a campaign promise he would have withdrawn right after he was inaugurated. The timing apparently was the result of Trump not feeling sufficiently appreciated by European leaders. In other words, he withdrew to spite them.
President Trump and President al-Assad of Syria now are on the very short list of only two leaders in the world not to agree to the accord. (Nicaragua also did not agree, but the leader who refused to sign on is out of office). One would think that being on that list would be sufficiently embarrassing to cause a normal person to choose differently.
While I couldn’t disagree with, or disapprove of, Donald Trump more, this boneheaded act does demonstrate a characteristic that progressive people could use more of. Unlike the president, we are addicted to acting according to the expectations and approval of other people. Progressives are sometimes too obsessed with not doing unpopular or politically incorrect things.
We absolutely do not want Donald Trump to be our role model, but we do need a bit more courage to act out our convictions whether or not others approve or support us. As Christians, we follow a rabbi who often went his own way all alone, and almost always was a contrarian to popular opinion. Surely there is a bit of Jesus in us ..
Rev. Michael Piazza