Even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut—or does he?!

The new Emperor, Dear Leader, or as he is known in this country, President of the United States of America, is on the verge of proving that even age-old sayings are no longer sacrosanct. Since inauguration in January, we have collectively witnessed an elected official to the highest office who has bungled everything that he has touched. He has lied outlandishly and perversely to the American people (the size of his inauguration crowd, the size of his electoral victory, the claim that Obama is sick and evil and wiretapped him, that the Russian interference in our election is a hoax, that 5 million illegals voted and otherwise he would have won the popular vote, and on and on…), picked unnecessary fights and disagreements with allies and friendly foreign leaders (Germany, Australia), continually praised our adversary, Russia, at all costs, displayed terrible judgment in hiring someone who may yet be accused of treason as the National Security Adviser (Flynn) and refused to condemn him even after firing him, hired an Attorney General who may be accused of perjury (Sessions), messed up with travel bans, healthcare and many other issues. Come to think of it, has he done anything that the country can be proud of?

An old adage is that even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut—meaning that even the worst president, even randomly, should be able to do something right. No one is completely bad (or good)—there must be something positive that he does. So now is the opportunity: a no-brainer. Do NOTHING and win. Stay in the Paris Accord on climate change! How difficult is that?

An overwhelming majority (61%) of Americans support it. Only 17% want to exit the accord. Big business—even Exxon—wants the country to stay in the deal. Even if you are obstinately anti-science, and maintain that the climate is not changing due to human pollution, would you not want your children to breathe cleaner air? Can you doubt that facts that there are more people just in California who work in the clean energy sector than all of the current coal workers? That the US will benefit economically from staying at the cutting edge of energy technology? I guess “alternative facts” have taken over this conversation too…

Our Dear Leader has shown that he has no trouble backing away from other promises; everyone will be covered with much better healthcare! Except for the 23 million who won’t. So why not back away from this particular pre-election pledge, especially with so much pressure from business to stay with the accord? After all, he claims that he could shoot someone in broad daylight on the street in New York City and it wouldn’t detract from his following.

I have no explanation—except to say that this firmly proves that blind squirrels may not always find a nut. And the Emperor may not find out that he has no clothes. Until it’s too late for us all on this planet…

About Steve Caplan

I am a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska where I mentor a group of students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers working on endocytic protein trafficking. My first lablit novel, "Matter Over Mind," is about a biomedical researcher seeking tenure and struggling to overcome the consequences of growing up with a parent suffering from bipolar disorder. Lablit novel #2, "Welcome Home, Sir," published by Anaphora Literary Press, deals with a hypochondriac principal investigator whose service in the army and post-traumatic stress disorder actually prepare him well for academic, but not personal success. Novel #3, "A Degree of Betrayal," is an academic murder mystery. "Saving One" is my most recent novel set at the National Institutes of Health. Now IN PRESS: Today's Curiosity is Tomorrow's Cure: The Case for Basic Biomedical Research (CRC PRESS, 2021). https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B006CSULBW? All views expressed are my own, of course--after all, I hate advertising.
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3 Responses to Even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut—or does he?!

  1. Laurence Cox says:

    I am going to both agree and disagree with you here Steve.

    First you are right to say that Trump should just have done nothing and left the Paris Accord in place. Unfortunately, the one thing that he seems incapable of doing is nothing.The “something must be done” dictum always takes priority even when what is proposed has not been thought through (like replacing Obamacare).

    Secondly, I am more of a technological optimist than you are. I don’t think that leaving the Paris Accord will make any difference in practice because economics is driving the transition to renewables. If it is more expensive to create electricity by burning coal than it is from the wind or the Sun, then no amount of ‘making America great’ will save coal-miners jobs. Oil will change from a fuel that is burnt to a feedstock for chemicals. The key will be the development of battery technology to provide smoothing for the intermittent nature of renewables.

    The only effect of Trump’s actions will be to place the USA at a competitive disadvantage to other countries that embrace these new technologies.

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