Paul Andersen: So, where do we go from here?
Relief is palpable as Trump storms out the back door of the White House and into the glare of history. The number of presidential pardons alone will testify to his presidency.
In place of scandal rises a surge of optimism that the Biden/Harris team will give America a new and humane start by exercising a mandate for positive change by restoring sanity to governance.
The world has been given a reprieve with opportunities for cooperation instead of rancor, inclusion rather than exclusion, love triumphing over hate. It’s time to shift to full love mode with good tidings for a new year and a new beginning.
Global upheavals are akin to birthing where painful agonies are rewarded with the creation of an offspring carrying the hope and promise of new life. We need that now to offset the past four years during which America endured serious labor pains.
The postpartum turmoil from the most contentious election in recent history has played out with Shakespearean drama. A king is unseated, but is unwilling to go. One can only imagine the ego-shock rattling Trump and his abettors as his identity is swept out like detritus from last night’s orgy.
The transition will occur according to the law and according to the wishes of the majority of the people, which is how democracy works. The new administration will strive to move the nation toward much needed unity rather than disunion. That’s the hope.
Reimagining the America of a Biden/Harris administration invites a wish list of progressive policies. First comes the image of America as a global team player instead of an embattled curmudgeon as we rejoin the human race in alliances necessary to addressing the pressing issues of the day.
Climate Change tops the bill as the most crucial universal challenge in human history, requiring positive change for mutual benefits. All boats rise on a tide, and the literal tide precipitated by global warming requires universal cooperation.
When Joe Biden explained in the debates that fossil fuels are fuels of the past, he opened the door wide to alternative energy on an expansive and necessary scale. Wind and solar already are eclipsing carbon fuels, and while some are pushing for the Promethean gamble of nuclear power, others are exploring electrolyzing water to create green hydrogen as a safer bet. Across the board must come advances in energy efficiency, the low-hanging fruit that Amory Lovins dubbed “negawatts.”
Business-driven incentives for shrinking America’s carbon footprint must come through stakeholder interests instead of shareholder gains. Executives and regulators must tap virtuous behaviors rather than selfish, shortsighted ends.
“Rather than chasing short-term profits or narrow self-interest,” wrote Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum, “companies could pursue the well-being of all people and the entire planet.”
Schwab and other global thinkers may now count on American leadership to help drive and inspire higher values leading to a more inclusive and sustainable world economy. The result could be a cleaner planet with more cohesive political alignments and stronger communal commitments to the future — acting as if our grandchildren mattered.
Now is the time for big visions in infrastructure where technologists like Elon Musk and Danish architect Bjarke Ingels may use both wide angle and telephoto lenses to inspire change in the world.
Musk’s electric cars are no longer the future — they are the present. Ingels’ plan to save the world, one building block at a time, is shifting the future into the present. New starts are the realm of dreamers whose creative thinking harnesses systemic solutions and takes them to scale.
Ingels’ “Masterplanet” mandates sustainable global design scenarios for a world population of 10 billion, which the planet is forecast to reach by 2050. Utopian instead of dystopian, “Masterplanet” assumes dramatic cuts in carbon and super-efficiency in resources.
This collective new start must go beyond environment to dramatic advances in social justice, income disparity, immigration, race and gender — all leading to greater opportunities for healthier living in tempo with intelligent stewarding of the natural world.
If all this sounds idealistic, that’s because it is. New starts are times for dreams, for hopes, for idealism in a world that desperately needs them.
Paul Andersen’s column appears on Mondays. He may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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