Sophie’s latest LUC8K adventure takes her back to the United States, with her first stop being Washington D.C. Once off the plane, she headed, with her leather tote and canvas bag, straight for the center of world power, the White House. It is said the president of the United States is the leader of the free world. Because of an archaic system of electing U.S. presidents and proven Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the free world leader is now a deranged, narcissist, sadist.
Donald Trump’s immigration record consists of placing the poorest of the poor in cages (where children have died) and deporting people without regard to their family situation or whether they are even U.S. citizens. Meanwhile, undocumented people continue to pour into the U.S. at the same numbers as before. His record on the economy gives huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans that have ballooned the annual deficit to nearly $1 trillion. His record on trade is a catastrophic failure.
Image courtesy from the Breaking Times article; Donald Trump mocks Denmark in Greenland Hotel Gag
Trump’s Environmental Record Is Dismal
Perhaps most importantly, Trump’s environmental record is dismal unless you are an owner of a fossil-fuel burning company. As president, the shortlist of what Trump has done to the environment includes the following:
- Resumed sales of coal mined on federal land;
- Reversed an Obama-era restriction against dumping mining waste into waterways;
- Killed a mandate that federal agencies must consider climate change when making decisions;
- Revoked the EPA’s landmark Clean Power Plan;
- Announced the United States would withdraw from the 195-country Paris Climate Agreement;
- Asked the courts to delay a hearing about limits on mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants, which suggests he plans to weaken such rules;
- Moved to overturn rules that limit methane gas pollution from oil and gas production; and
- Allowed, over the objections of EPA scientists, the continued use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos has been linked to breast cancer and birth defects.
More recently, he unleashed a series of angry tweets that were bizarre even by his standards. The result is that he tanked the stock market then joked about it. He then “ordered” U.S. companies to stop doing business with China (he doesn’t have that kind of power).
Now, once again, people are openly talking about Trump’s mental health. That doesn’t even account for his crazy attempt to buy Greenland and then cancel his trip to Denmark because its leader refused to entertain the idea. (Denmark has administrative control of Greenland.) Most people realize the real reason Trump canceled his trip is that his hugely popular predecessor, Barack Obama, will be visiting the country in a few weeks, and he was rightfully afraid that the comparisons wouldn’t be favorable for him.
Trump Wasn’t In The White House
Trump wasn’t in the White House, and surprisingly, he wasn’t golfing at one of his resorts during Sophie’s visit. Instead, he was at the G7 Summit in France, where he was totally humiliated by the other world leaders. No one would go along with his lies, and he was criticized for his crazy tariff threats with China that rattled world markets. He was further embarrassed by France’s Emmanuel Macron, who surprisingly invited Iran’s foreign minister to the event.
As Sophie gazed at the White House, she noticed that it wasn’t a palace or a royal estate. It was quite a modest house for a world leader. That is by design. The president under the constitution is a servant of the people, not their master. The White House is too good a place for someone who declared himself to be “The Second Coming of God.”
Other than the White House’s current occupant, the nation’s capital is a wonderful place to visit. The museums are world-class and free, the parks are beautiful, and it’s easy to move about the city. Monuments are erected for the country’s greatest leaders, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, people who aspired and worked toward the country’s greatest ideas in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Sophie bought lots of souvenirs for her LUC8K partners Karen and Anette and kept them in her Leather Shopper.
The Country’s Greatest Leaders And Their High Ideas And Aspirations
To further understand the country’s greatest leaders and their high ideals and aspirations, Sophie traveled to South Dakota to view the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Getting it isn’t easy. Sophie first flew to Denver and drove six hours (in a convertible, of course, with her LUC8K bags in hand) to make it to the rural landmark.
The national park is centered by a bigger-than-life granite sculpture carved into a mountain. The sculpture features the 60-foot (18 meters) heads of presidents George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The four presidents were chosen to represent the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation, respectively.
The will to create a sculpture of its size and grandeur reflects each of these presidents’ high ideas and the people who elected them to the nation’s highest office. Surrounded by a landscape of mountains and trees, it’s as solemn as it is inspiring as many people over the years gave up their well-being, their livelihoods, and even their lives to uphold these ideals.
It’s interesting to note that the mountain’s chief carver was Luigi del Bianco, artisan and headstone carver in Port Chester, New York. Del Bianco emigrated to the U.S. from Italy and was chosen to work on this project because of his remarkable skill at etching emotions and personality into his carved portraits. He probably wouldn’t have been allowed to emigrate to the U.S. today.
Next Stop – California
Sophie’s next stop was California, where dreamers and schemers from every part of the country and even the world went to remake themselves. Make no mistake; this is a state with a robust economy with a more than $3 trillion economy. If it were a country, it would have the fifth largest economy, ahead of the United Kingdom and behind Germany.
Sophie flew into Los Angeles and drove up the iconic Pacific Coast Highway. This time she went in style in a sand white Mustang GT convertible with her LUC8K leather bags in the back seat.
In addition to being an economic success, California is the most progressive state in the country and perhaps the world when it comes to protecting the environment. California was the first state to enact air pollution legislation in 1947, nearly two decades before the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Air Act. It is the only state with its own greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program, which earns revenue from emissions permits. It works with Silicon Valley to lead the nation in generating inventions for electric and self-driving cars and a “smart” electricity grid, which are helping create a renewables-based economy.
California’s Fight Against Trump
California has also led the fight against Trump’s dismantling of environmental regulations. According to the Los Angeles Times, the state has filed 29 lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and so far, it has won 15 of those lawsuits.
Passing the pretty coastal city of Santa Barbara with its low-lying buildings overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Sophie is enjoying the drive on one nation’s most scenic highways. Onward, Sophie went passing the small town of San Luis Obispo and picturesque Morro Bay, revealing crystal blue waters on her left and the north edge of the mountainous Los Padres National Forest on her right.
Even with all its groundbreaking initiatives, many look at California’s environmental record as mixed. The former governor Jerry Brown supported fracking. It is the nation’s fourth-largest oil producer, and it has upheld water projects that benefit agricultural interests at the expense of rivers and estuaries.
California Protecting The Environment
But California still leads when it comes to protecting the environment. In 1970, the U.S. government provided waivers for California for new vehicle emissions standards that allowed the state to enact more stringent regulations than federal regulation. About a dozen other states adopted California’s more stringent standards, so car companies now make all of their cars meet those standards. Of course, the Trump administration wants to end the waiver program.
Sophie finished her drive at the rugged and mountainous area known as Big Sur, considered by some to be one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. The 71-mile stretch of mountainous and coastal terrain is undeveloped and protected by the state.
It was here that Sophie pitched a tent, unpacked her LUC8K leather bags, and enjoyed the simple luxury of a California sunset.