Enough of Trump and the screeching overload of bad decisions, extremely badly carried out. At least for a day, let's look at some good things that are happening.
1. Top of the list should be recognition of the people who organized the women's marches and all the people -- women, men, and children -- who participated beyond even the most optimistic expectations.
2. Equally important to what happened that first weekend is the continued spirit of protest and holding leaders accountable that seems to have taken hold among people who care about the direction of our country, as well as the Democrats in Congress. Perhaps things have to get really bad for us to realize that we can't just depend on someone else to fix it; it's going to take us all to oppose the autocrat that our system has put in power. I think the American people have realized that things are really that bad.
3. Even a group of prominent Republicans (Jim Baker, George Shulz, Henry Paulson and other leaders in industry and politics) is formulating a plan for what they're calling "A Conservative Approach to Climate Change." Their plan would focus on a carbon tax designed to raise the cost of fossil fuels and bring down consumption. On Wednesday, Baker presented the plan to several of Trump's staff, including VP Pence, Jared Kushner, and Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council. Baker said he thought they would take a look at it. Despite Trump's political statements, there may be support, including Secretary of State Max Tillerson who, as head of Exxon/Mobile, had begun planning for climate change and supported a carbon tax.
4. President Jimmy Carter has converted one of his peanut fields in Plains, GA to a solar farm, with rows and rows of solar panels. It generates enough energy to supply half of the electricity used by the city of Plains. Georgia is becoming one of the leading states in the solar energy field. There is a company a few miles from my hometown of Sandersville that manufactures solar panels.
5. Speaking of solar energy as an industry, it is one of the leading job producers and actually is clamoring for workers, according to an AJC headline. One out of every 50 jobs created last year was in solar energy, which now employs 250,000 workers, an increase of 25% between 2015 and 2016. These are well-paying, family-sustaining jobs with low barriers to entry and a median wage for a solar installation job of $26 an hour. Now if we could just get the unemployed coal workers and the solar energy jobs together in the same place.
6. The United Talent Agency that represents some of Hollywood's biggest stars, has announced that it will cancel its Oscar party this year, and instead will contribute $250,000 to the ACLU and the International Resuce Committee that supports refugees. This is being done because of their support for immigrants and in protest of President Trump's immigration ban. Hollywood stars are among the most vocal opponents to Trump's policies, e.g. Meryl Streep's speech at the Golden Globe awards, and Viola Davis at the SAG awards.
7. In a full-page Washington Post ad on Wednesday, over 500 evangelical pastors and church leaders signed a letter that expressed their disapproval of President Trump's ban on immigration. The letter emphasizes the role that local churches have played in resettling refugees in their communities. It's good to see these evangelicals pastors speak out for Jesus' social teachings rather than saying it's God's plan to have Trump be our president.
Along with these pastors are the people who have welcomed refugees and helped create welcoming communities for them. So this is not just about evangelical pastors but about the good, loving people, who work for the humane treatment of others as the true religious expression. I've been puzzled for years now about why we haven't seen the liberal, social activist churches get involved in these issues like they did in the civil rights struggle years.