Money still rules in D.C.

 We have a real piece of work for a president.  
Despite Trump consistently touting throughout the campaign trail that he was a ‘different candidate’ compared to other politicians, his presidency has done little to validate those claims. His latest move to pull out of the Paris Agreement - despite overwhelming support amongst the American people - reveals yet another example proving he is no different from every other money grabbing GOP member of Congress.
The decision to pull out of the largest comprehensive agreement on climate change in history places the United States in the camps of Nicaragua and Syria: the only two countries who refused to participate in the universally supported agreement.  
They had good reasons though for not signing, Nicaragua felt the agreement was too soft on restrictions in developed countries, (which frankly it is) and Syria because they are amidst a bloody civil war.
So what’s our excuse?
“I got voted to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh,” Trump cluelessly stated in his announcement to pull out of the agreement, “not the citizens of Paris.”
Good one.
The actual reason, revolves around the same issue that has been entrenched in politics for a long time; money. If you look at it through that scope, then it should come as no surprise to find out the 22 GOP Congressman - and head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt - who urged Trump to pull out of the agreement, have been in bed with fossil fuel companies for years.
To illustrate this I took a look at the past campaign contributions over the last three election cycles (2012, 2014, 2016) for the 22 congressman. The sum of contributions from coal, oil and gas corporations in those three cycles totaled $10,694,284.
This of course doesn’t include the ‘dark money’ that is passed from oil interests - like the Koch brothers - to general slush funds to re-elect Republicans. Ever wonder why incumbents are so difficult to oust?
See, in our political system the only way to ensure your voice is heard, is to donate money to a campaign. The glaring problem with this “Pay-to-Play” system though is that it heavily favors the rich. They keep donating, and the politicians in turn make certain their interests are put first in line. As long as corporations continue to have the ability to donate vast amounts of money to campaigns, the will of the people will not be met.
This isn’t something new though “Pay-to-Play” has been going on since the fateful Citizens United decision in 2003, and applies to Democrats and Republicans alike. Trump ran on the baseline that he was supposed to be impermeable from the influence of money, because, well he was a “successful businessman”. Trump supporters should remember this, I mean, it was one of the biggest selling points of his campaign. So how is it possible that the man who wrote the art of the deal could be swayed by these corrupt politicians that he said he wanted to drain out of Washington?
It’s simple, although there are stark differences between Trump and GOP congressman (mostly with the latter using coherent sentences) their policies are the same. The rich get richer and screw everyone else.
So we shouldn’t be looking at this whole deal just through the science lens. Yes, the move should come as a blunt reminder that our president ignores clear facts and evidence, but states and everyday people will have the greatest impact combatting climate change anyway. Hence the amount of states and cities that have already declared they will defy the president and comply with the Paris agreement.
Also keep in mind that - if the government wanted to - we could switch to 100 percent renewable energy right now, our government is just not inclined to support the idea with all the money coming in from fossil fuel companies.
Don’t believe me, go check out the solutions project.
Authors Note: For you high school students who are just getting interested in politics, I have a word of advice; stop listening to your parents and the pundits on TV that they cherish and start paying attention to the teachers, scientists and activists who have dedicated their life to the subject. The debate is settled, climate change is real.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or NCW Media as a whole.
Zach Johnson can be reached at or 509-682-2213

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