Commentary: Making a Stand

MN C&C May 2014
Photo by Randy Stern

Elon Musk is perhaps a hero.

What the Chief Executive Officer at Tesla did was in response to an announcement made by the President of the United States America, Donald Trump. President Trump declared that this government will pull out of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as the Paris Accords. In turn, Musk resigned from the Presidential Strategic and Policy Forum.

Musk knew that it would be hypocritical for him to run an automotive firm that makes exclusively vehicles running only on electric power and emitting no exhaust emissions to be complicit in a decision to walk away from an opportunity to improve this country's and planet's environment. I applaud him for having the foresight to stick to his commitment in assisting towards cleaner air from automobiles and complete sustainability in other aspects of life and nature.

Mr. Musk was joined by Marry Barra and Bill Ford as their respective automakers, General Motors and Ford, also affirmed their commitment towards improving the environment worldwide.

What Musk, Barra and Ford did was to make a serious statement as to what could have political and governmental implications in both the short and long term. While the industry indicated that it could do with less regulation overall, they already invested a solid chunk of money and resources towards offering alternatives to their customers. Through electric vehicles and lower emissions systems, the trajectory towards a future with cleaner automobiles have already been in motion.

Why stop progress? There are those who were bent on doing so. Those with interests in commodities, production and distribution of materials that have historically harmed the planet. These are people who serious could care less about their constituents – period. In fact, they are the ones calling Musk a hypocrite, because he is flown in a private jet. I believe those critics have their jets parked next to Musk's.

Here is the thing: I have not been a complete fan of Musk and of Tesla. I am not a fan of the electric car. But, these vehicles are a part of reality. They are offered in the marketplace. People actually aspire to own a Tesla, but not because of its electric vehicle structure. The enthusiasts see Tesla's current products as "cool," "exciting," "desirable" and, with Ludicrous Mode, pretty damn fast.

In light of Musk's departure from the Presidential Strategic and Policy Forum, he has become a person whom I must top my hat to. Good on you, Mr. Musk, for making a stand in light of this President's announcement!

This is not all about Mr. Musk and his actions. It is about the immediate fallout from the President's statement. Let's just say things got real very quickly. Other governments abroad jumped in on their condemnation of the President's statement. Individuals have also made their voices heard in light of the announcement. Because the Federal government has pulled out from the Paris Accords, states and local governments are pursuing their own paths towards meeting the agreement.

This Presidency has made it clear that they do not care what the people want. They want to reverse all of the progress made on ensuring an improved environmental future for this country – progress going back to President Nixon's administration.

It is one thing to tread lightly down the middle for all readers to understand where we stand in controversial topics. But, one must make a point – a statement. Our statement is this: We are disappointed in the President and his supporters on the decision made to vacate the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This administration has throttled back the advances this country made in regards to cleaner air, water and soil. As consumers are offered propulsion alternatives, such as plug-in electric, hybrid, fuel cell and hydrogen vehicles, you have shut the door to the eventual expansion of these alternatives to the automotive marketplace.

Who knows what else we will witness from the White House? Don't worry, Victory & Reseda will offer nothing false in terms of news reporting and commentary. Nor will I present any so-called "alternative facts." This is my pledge.

Oh, and lastly, thank you Mr. Musk.

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