Las Vegas Sun

December 14, 2017

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Where I stand:

Let’s leave childish behavior to 2-year-olds

Building the blocks of adulthood.

I remember well the wonderful time I used to have when my grandson was just 2 years old and he was into — almost obsessively so — those Lego blocks with which you could build skyscrapers to the ceiling, complete with fire houses, police stations, hotels and castles.

The Legos were soon replaced by actual building blocks that took a bit more skill because they didn’t interlock, making the foundations more important to the actual outcomes. The stronger the base, the taller the buildings and the more creative the architecture could be — all to the delight of this little boy who dedicated hours of his young life to building something special.

And, then, with the swiftness of a cat and the lack of understanding of a child, he would swipe his hand, kick his foot or swing his plastic golf club at our creation, and the whole thing would come tumbling down — all to his great delight because he knew we would build it all over again!

And we did. And each time the experience got better as the 2-year-old grew into his 3s and beyond. Eventually, he matured away from the delight of his destructive phase and now enjoys building things up.

My grandson — besides being the most intelligent, handsome and loving grandson on the planet — is just like everyone’s grandson in that as he ages, he matures. Being destructive for fun gives way to being creative, helpful and constructive. It is called growing up.

The events around the Paris Climate Accord this past week made me think back to those wonderful days when I watched my grandchild grow from childish immaturity toward the responsibility we wish for them as adults.

I likened the many years of America’s leadership around the world on the critical issue of climate change to the time I got to spend with a 2-year-old teaching him how to build, brick by brick, Lego by Lego, something beautiful and something, finally, not worthy of being destroyed.

I don’t care where you are on the issue of climate change and man’s contribution to what could be the irreversible destruction of our planet. I mean that. I don’t care. Because if you are not among the people on this planet with a brain and the ability to learn about man’s contribution to the inexorable march of climate change and if you don’t have a concomitant willingness to do something about it, then I don’t care — about you! Because it is obvious that you don’t care about my grandchildren, or, more importantly, your own!

When is the last time 195 nations on the planet Earth came together to agree on anything? Let me help you with the answer: Never!

And, yet, when every country large and small, industrialized or not, wealthy or poor, having and having not, powerful or powerless, agrees that climate change is bad for children and other living things; when every country except Nicaragua and Syria sign on to an agreement that is, at worst, aspirational in its desire to do something about climate change and man’s negative impact on the future of Mother Earth and, at best, the beginning of a way forward and away from a devastating future; and when that impossibility happens only as a direct result of many years of hard work and leadership by the United States of America under multiple administrations — Democrat and Republican; when all of that happens so that there is a faint light at the end of a tunnel of humankind’s voluntary destruction of life as we know it; when all of that comes to pass when nations come together for the common good of all people everywhere ...

Why does the president of the United States have to act like a 2-year-old? Why does he have to destroy that which the world’s nations have tried to build into something beautiful? Just because he can? The president of the United States is supposed to be the adult in the room of nations, not the child.

And why, by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, does he have to turn the leadership of the world on this critical, job-producing, technology-leading, world-beating affirmation of American greatness — over to the Chinese?

While the entire country is concerned about how deep Donald Trump’s obligations are to the Russians, he makes a hard right turn toward China by creating a leadership vacuum that the Chinese are only too happy to fill. What could have and should have been America’s 21st century — just like the 20th — has been ceded to our adversaries in just one afternoon in the Rose Garden.

There is nothing mature or responsible about President Trump’s decision to turn his back on science — by denying the man-made climate change that no sane person disputes — and to turn away from America’s greatness as the world’s leader.

All I can say about our president is he is acting like a 2-year-old child. With apologies to all 2-year-olds.

Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.

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