At the end of World War I, there appeared a popular song, “How Ya Gonna Keep ’Em Down on the Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree).” It was a humorous attempt to deal with a serious problem: how to persuade ex-soldiers, most of whom had come from rural communities, to return to their former lives after they had seen the attractions of the larger world, epitomized by “Paree” — Paris. It was then the center of arts, culture and the high life.
The effort failed. The world had changed. A mass migration began to the cities that now are globally dominant. Nonetheless, nostalgia for the simpler life continues, in many ways stronger — and more futile — than ever.
President Trump’s rejection of the Paris Accord is but an effort to return to that isolated America of our past. This too, will fail.
There was no way that the United States could avoid becoming entangled in WWI and WWII. They were global. The problem of environmental pollution and the inevitable impact on our lives is also global — no wall will keep it out. We can reject the Accord but not that fact.
We all will pay the cost of Trump’s error; pay it with our lives.
Joseph M. Prospero, Miami