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Let’s Do Something About It
In the two weeks since The Instigator was last in your inbox, it seems as though the world has plummeted into darkness. Beginning with the Hamas massacre in Israel and followed by the subsequent war and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, every day we confront horrific news. This while the Russian war against Ukraine wages on and there is grave concern of additional outbreaks of conflict – whether it be the prospect of war (possibly by proxy) with Iran or fears of an emboldened China seizing some moment of distraction to move on Taiwan. Not to mention the nuclear weapon buildup in North Korea. The world certainly faces some daunting risks.
International conflict is not my area of expertise nor the primary topic of this newsletter. But it does affect us all, much like climate change. And it’s easy to feel helpless given the scale and severity of the challenges, and of course the painful human toll.
But it does strike me that there is one thing every concerned citizen can and should do. We should do our best to elect honorable and competent leaders who will prioritize and engage seriously on these complex issues.
That may sound obvious but when I look around, I am not sure.
Take the challenge of how to address climate change, for example. I expect and welcome policy debate and disagreement on the best course of action. But when we have presidential candidates who declare climate change to be a “hoax”; or a political party that promises to dismantle all of the public policy progress we have finally made to address the climate emergency, we are not having a serious debate. We don’t even have shared rules of engagement. And we certainly don’t have the foundation for any kind of enduring progress. A lot of what passes for leadership is just noise.
I wouldn’t dare tell you who to vote for – on either global security or climate. But where I hope we can all agree is insisting our representatives display certain attributes. Integrity, wisdom, and experience. Willingness to listen, negotiate and collaborate. Pragmatism and a belief in science. Knowledge of history and a vision for our future. Some of our leaders certainly meet these criteria, which is all the more evident in times of acute crisis. It reminds us of the importance of casting a serious vote.
That’s the best way forward.