Trump Is Wasting Time We Desperately Need to Solve Major Problems

It’s common for writers to take a single germ of an idea and fill the white space with nearly a thousand words where a few sentences would do. I’m not going to do that this Sunday morning.

Instead, I just want to take a moment of your time to ponder the enormous waste of time that the Trump Administration is putting us all through.

The world is facing enormous challenges, potentially the greatest that humanity has ever faced. Climate change. Mass extinction. Globalization. Automation and artificial intelligence. Antibiotic resistant bacteria. Nuclear proliferation combined with homegrown mass terrorism. Record wealth inequality and financialization of the economy. Just to name a few.

These are problems that threaten the the ability of the human race to survive on the planet or at least civilization as we know it; the continued existence of the majority of the world’s species; the Westphalian order of nation-states; even democracy and capitalism themselves.

These problems are going to require ingenuity, creativity, flexibility and bold experiments in both government and the private sector to address them. There is no time to waste. All of these problems are getting worse by the day. We need to be working on Apollo programs for renewable energy, pilot programs for universal basic income and massive government jobs programs, major investments in promising new genomics technologies like CRISPR to hopefully handle the next plague before it strikes, new market and civic structures to shift the balance between high asset prices and the inability of wages to match them, and much much more.

Instead, we’re wasting time dealing with a morass of greedy bigots and blundering fools trying to stumble their way back to the 1950s socially while fleecing the government for all they can get for themselves and their wealthy benefactors–with an assist from a fallen kleptocracy desperately trying to stay relevant in the 21st century.

Even if all the worst fears about the fall of American democracy under Trump turn out to be unfounded, this Administration is at wasting time we desperately need to address existential crises for our planet, our civilization and the structures by which we live our lives. Climate change won’t wait for us to get our act together. Neither will artificial intelligence, automation, offshoring and consolidation. Nor the next superbug, hacker or mass terrorist.

But instead of focusing on what matters, we’re forced into watching an endless spectacle of corruption and incompetence. Days become weeks, weeks become months, and suddenly we’re half a year into a presidency dancing around efforts to blockade refugees, ramp up fossil fuel burning, take away healthcare from poor people, give rich people a tax cut, and try to avoid accountable for subverting our democracy with the help of a hostile power.

What a waste. We have so many more important things to do.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.