Another week another heart wrenching headline that makes Americans look as unwoke as humanly possible. Mr. Trump, as he is so lovingly referred to by The New York Times and other outlets that use the non-Presidential moniker to voice their own quiet rebellion, has done it again. In defiance of hundreds of years of global solidarity and scientific research, Trump has taken our country one giant step back, siding with only two other nations-Syria and Nicaragua-who reject the Paris Climate Agreement, meant to unite the world against the devastating effects of climate change. His reasoning is, as usual, muddled. It involves something about Pittsburgh? Or was it Something about Germany being “very bad”?
Around the world, the headlines were brutal. One German newspaper's cover showed a giant Trump head lunging towards the earth with an open salivating mouth. The title was just as ominous: "America First, Earth Last." We get it, we look crazy, but before you cast us aside, please give us a minute to analyze what is going on in Bizarro World USA.
Did Trump pull out of the Paris Agreement, which was carefully negotiated by representatives of 195 countries in 2015, because he truly believes it is the right move for our country or is he simply enjoying his role of political rule breaker? It seems “look at what I’ll do next!,” is our current President’s mantra. Trump is a man who is used to seeing his name in lights and this presidency thus far has been a reflection of that. From physically (and symbolically) pushing aside political leaders to sending messages of “covfefe,” (which as of press time is still unrecognized by spell check), it’s hard to know where the reality show begins or ends. And thus, we can’t help but wonder if Mr. Trump is chasing the spotlight rather than thinking of the best for Americans, present and future. Even former Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out against Donald with a now viral video in which he reminds the Commander-in-Chief whose best interest he’s supposed to be looking out for.
“My message to you, Mr Trump is that as a public servant, especially as a President, your first and most important responsibility is to protect the people,” said the terminator. “Two hundred thousand people die every year in the U.S. from air pollution, and half of our rivers and streams are too polluted for our health. We can’t sit back and just do nothing while people get sick and dying, especially when you know there’s another way.”
What is even more concerning is the fact that the world is beginning to pull away from the United States due to a President who most of us did not vote for. While we can’t say we don’t understand why there are so many who would rather not work directly with Trump, we ask world leaders to remember that America is more than Donald Trump. There are millions of us positively in a frenzy due to the ill-advised decisions and scattered leadership of this administration. We, the sane, the science-minded and, ahem, the majority of Americans, are in a downright panic about what is happening in our country. We are rising up, we are fighting back, we are trying our hardest to remind the world that the United States is a country that embraces diversity, science, information sharing and working with our allies to preserve our planet.
We cannot destroy the decades and centuries of camaraderie, intercontinental support and unity, because of one divisive President. It must be reminded that many powerful modern countries of today have had questionable and downright horrible leaders throughout history. Having the foresight to remember we must always come back to the table after the dust settles is imperative to navigating these next three years, seven months, 18 days, and 1 hour of this presidency.
Our Fragile President
The fragility of the male ego is an oft overlooked reality, and one that has come to define many of the world’s most tragic turning points in history. On one hand Trump is a fearless bossman who can fire people and reject policies with ease, but on the other he is a sensitive soul who needs to prove he is popular and well liked. Quick to hate-tweet his “enemies” and overinflate anything remotely positive, we want the world to know we see the smoke in mirrors and we are far from entertained by it. Deciphering the truth has never been harder, at least in my young adult life.
Often history’s most notorious personalities were also emotionally fragile, strange folks who could not handle criticism or questioning, yet were bold in their decision making. The fact that Donald has surrounded himself by only like-minded “yes” people including his daughter and son-in-law, make for a soft sounding board when it comes to rendering heavy verdicts. It is rumored that even Ivanka was against this move, although we can never be exactly sure just what is going on in that family.
Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement on behalf of a country that is the biggest culprit of carbon dioxide emissions in the populated universe, sickens the vast majority of us who feel a responsibility to the rest of the world to be leaders in the race against climate change. The dangerous and irresponsible move threatens our planet, our relationships with our allies, and our national security.
The future that Trump is preparing for is one that considers Trump, and Trump interests above all. By isolating us from the rest of the world (which incidentally is the way predators go about catching and killing their prey) creates a future for him that is unburdened by due process or global reprisal. Unlike other leaders (Washington, Eisenhower, and Obama are considered to be top in the bipartisan game) who sought the opinions of experts and lawmakers before making his decisions, Trump believes he knows best. And if history tells us anything, having that kind of ego means he does not.
“But this much is clear now: Mr. Trump’s policies — the latest of which was his decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change — have dismayed America’s allies, defied the wishes of much of the American business community he pretends to help, threatened America’s competitiveness as well as job growth in crucial industries and squandered what was left of America’s claim to leadership on an issue of global importance,” wrote The editorial board of The New York Times, which also reveals that in the last few months Trump has ordered rollbacks of every one of the policies on which President Barack Obama pledged to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions. “In huge neon letters, it sends a clear message that this president knows nothing or cares little about the science underlying the stark warnings of environmental disruption. Perhaps most astonishing of all, a chief executive who touts himself as a shrewd businessman, and who ran on a promise of jobs for the middle class and making America great again, seems blind to the damage this will do to America’s own economic interests. The world’s gradual transition from fossil fuels has opened up a huge global market, estimated to be $6 trillion by 2030, for renewable fuels like wind and solar, for electric cars, for advanced batteries and other technologies.”
The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) was held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON NYTCREDIT: Christophe Petit Tesson/European Pressphoto Agency
World, please do not for one second believe this country condones the actions of our rebellious president. We promise you will see us continue to fight back and mobilize, thinking of what is best for our future and for that of the world. We promise we are not robots and we will not ever become consumed by the lies we are being fed. We see what's going on and we don't accept it.
World, please realize that insanity is, in fact, not contagious. Please realize that Americans are mostly hard-working immigrants and children of immigrants who are just as dismayed as the rest of you with what is unfolding in our nation. All we can hope is we continue to uphold the values we stand for, both as individual states (New York, California and Washington have already pledged their allegiance to the endeavours of the Paris Agreement, and even petitioned to be recognized globally as doing so), as well as individuals. World, please bear with us through these next few years while we endure this roller coaster ride in the White House. We promise he will soon be gone and we can only hope our country does not make this same mistake twice.
Fool us once, shame on us, fool us twice - one-way ticket to bon Paris; That is, if you’ll still have us.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.