Featured republicEn: Shay Khatiri

over 3 years ago

Our ClimateEye editor recently had the pleasure of talking to active RepublicEN, Shay Khatiri, an international student at Arizona State University (ASU). Originally from Iran, Shay studies political science and economics, serves as ASU's American Enterprise Institute's Executive Council Chair, and was President of Students for Jeb at ASU.

What is your impression of the U.S. political process?
What is most impressive in the U.S. is the freedom of expression. Everyone gets to express opinion, even if others don't agree with it. We don't get that liberty in Iran. The election and democracy matter more here than anywhere else in the world. It must be fascinating watching the 2016 election cycle. Yes! Here, it's at least a two-year process and Americans value their role in that process. Americans really have a say in their own futures. But even compared to other western cultures, your system is different. For example, in Europe, the election process lasts five to six weeks. As such, not as much attention is paid to it, unlike here in US where there is a long period of voter engagement.

Do you think there is a disconnect between younger and older generations on the issue of climate change?

Yes, the younger generation, the millennials, seem to embrace idea climate change is happening more readily than the older generation. Overall, some young Republicans are still more skeptical more than Democrats, but it's because they haven't seen solutions they can support. They don't want to support climate policies that require sweeping economic changes or heavy government intervention. Unfortunately, when climate change was being debated in Congress, Republicans didn't offer an alternative that wouldn't damage economy or everyday life of Americans. Instead of offering free market solutions, they rejected the concept of climate change all together. That worked for some short period of time but in the end, you cannot argue with the overwhelming scientific fact.

How to we break the political logjam and move forward?
First of all, regardless of the politics, everyone should accept the notion that we, policymakers, are not scientists. We cannot challenge scientific fact. Similarly, climate scientists are not policymakers and should not weigh in on the policy solutions. Let's leave the science to the scientists and the policymaking to the policymakers.

How do conservatives create a space in this debate?
Conservative policymakers need to propose a climate action alternative that is free market based. If we don't address climate change, we are just as guilty as those who propose sweeping measures. We need to build support first within the conservative community, and then get the center/independents behind it. Eventually, I think you can rally the public support of all parties.

Do you have final words of wisdom for us?
Fundamentally, we need to leave world a better place for future generations. As things currently are going, the next generation is not going to benefit from a better, stronger America.

Do you want to be our next featured RepublicEN? Drop us an email and we will soon be in touch. We want to hear what inspires you!