Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dystopian Donald

As the evening drew on this past November 8th, 2016 and it became increasingly apparent that Hillary Clinton’s victory over Donald Trump was anything but certain her supporters watched frozen, with clenched fists and bit their collective lips.  What had seemed almost impossible was slowly becoming an absurd reality.  In the hours to come their egos, their smugness and their absolute confidence in their own forthcoming victory was to receive a blow that would leave them panting and dumfounded, unable to grasp what exactly had just happened or how they could have been so wrong.  In the following days, however, life took on its normal form and, while certainly no one forgot what had happened, people were largely able to resume their normal routines.  But, finally inauguration day arrived and what so many had put out of their minds was now here, real and tangible.  People watched, white-faced and speechless, as power was handed over to a man that they considered to be a racist, a bigot and a misogynist who was thin-skinned, unstable and dishonest.  The reality of it all set in and people were terrified.  We (those who opposed Trump) are all now forced onto one of two paths: admit defeat and support our new President out of a blind patriotic duty or, resist and fight on out of what in my opinion is a legitimate patriotic duty.

In the first camp of people we have those who did not support the Donald but are willing to now that he is officially our President.  They concede that the people should support their President even if they had not supported them during their campaign.  I can certainly see why someone would adopt this course of action as we’ve all seen in the history books the devastation that can ensue under a divided America.  Is that the right course though?  Let’s take a look at the Donald’s first few days in office:
·         Executive Order #1 allowed Federal agencies freedom to not enforce key parts of the Affordable Care Act.  Basically this attempts to allow employers to dodge the ACA until it is ultimately repealed.  There is no proposed replacement to it either, just FYI, so those of you who purchased insurance from the exchange would be left high and dry.  Some estimates put American annual deaths at 43,000 per year in the wake of a full ACA repeal.  Hope you guys don’t get sick. 
·         Later that same day he made a proclamation that there is to be a “National Day of Patriotism”.  No argument here it just seems kind of pointless, distracting and redundant.  What do we have Memorial Day, Independence Day or Veterans’ Day for?  They’re all “Patriotism” days in my view. 
·         Further, Trump has made FHA Mortgage Insurance more expensive by ordering the HUD to end rate cuts which is a direct kick in the dick to his middle-class supporters.  Sorry guys, you made your bed now sleep in it. 
·         Next, he plans to begin work on exiting the TPP hampering America’s ability to trade internationally.  We’ll see how that goes over with our international partners.  His “America First” attitude probably won’t have us winning any popularity contests anytime soon.  But who needs allies and trading partners, right?
·         Also, he is reinstating Reagan-era, anti-abortion legislation that pulls Federal funding for any foreign non-profit that counsels women on family planning if it includes abortion or provides abortions themselves.  I guess it is the right of every crunchy, old white man to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies. 
·         Moreover (and I’m just about out of transitions at this point), he has ordered the USDA not to release any public-facing documents.  This means that the transparency that he screamed from mountain tops was lacking in Washington took a pretty significant hit as did the world’s ability to share positive research.  Another example of Trump’s many many contradictions.
·         Finally, and in my opinion this is the worst of all, it seems that any and all legislation attempting to protect the environment will be first to the chopping block.  He seeks to pull America from the Paris Climate Accord which means that China will withdraw as well and the entire agreement (already inadequate in its scope) will collapse undoing years of progress.  He seeks to undo an EPA regulation that puts more waterways under Federal control which will allow landowners to dump whatever they please without any reprisals.  He seeks to relax regulations with regard to coal mining in close proximity to water ways (because obviously that’s not important).  He seeks to remove caps on carbon emissions because I guess 98% of climate scientists are in the relatively shallow pockets of the sneaky environmentalists and global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.  Lastly, he has signed an order accelerating approval of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) which says loud and clear: “I am for all Amercans!  Except Native Americans.  Fuck Native Americans.”

What is difficult for me to comprehend is how people can so adamantly oppose environmentally friendly policies.  Every human accomplishment can be attributed to our stable climate.  At the end of the last ice age humanity had accomplished nothing and eked out a pathetic and brutal existence on a barren landscape.  It was the gift of our warm, stable climate that allowed us to thrive.  Without it we’re all fucked.  Also, fossil fuel reserves are finite.  It is not debatable that they WILL be depleted and we need to be prepared.  How this eludes people is beyond me.  Science is this unanimous on precious few things.  If you deny the reality of climate change at this point you are of the same stuff as the flat-Earthers and UFO conspiracy theorists.  You are basically a crazy person.  Ask yourself what motive 98% of the world’s climate scientists would have to perpetuate the myth of global warming?  It’s insanity for people with no scientific background to oppose those with the degrees to back it up.     

So, if you like all that stuff then good for you.  I happen to think it’s all terrible.  Moving along, other than what he is doing from a policy standpoint, let’s look at what else is going on in Trump-town.  First, a few days before taking office he refused to answer questions from a CNN reporter saying that they were “Fake news”.  CNN has been honorably reporting the news for 36 years and to call them fake because they weren’t nice to you makes you, at least in my eyes, the biggest pussy in the world.  But that’s not the scary part.  The scary part is what his refusal means.  It means that if you report the truth about Trump (which is almost always negative) then he will not speak to you, in essence silencing you.  These, my friends, are the fledgling beginnings of censorship and to be taken VERY seriously.  Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, his press secretary comes out in his very first appearance to the American public and tells a blatant lie about a totally menial issue!  It was so unnecessary that it makes it even worse.  As I’ve heard said earlier in Trump’s campaign, “It’d be funny if it wasn’t so scary.”  When called out on this obvious falsehood Trump’s advisor and former campaign manager refused to own it and claimed that the press secretary had presented “alternative facts”!  What the fuck is that supposed to mean?  What ALL this means is that we can expect the Trump administration to lie to us and to silence anyone who calls them out on it and that absolutely terrifies me.  It should terrify all of us!  It sounds more at home in Bradbury’s dystopian-set novel Fahrenheit 451 than in real-life America.   This is truly disturbing and it is mind-blowing that his supporters accept it and continue to defend him as he mocks them and all of us.  How can you think it is your duty as an American to support your President even when he jeopardizes everything that makes us great?  Everything we are supposed to cherish?  How can you after everything?  
Which brings us to the second camp of people.  These are folks who did not support Trump during his campaign and do not support him as President.  This happens to be where I place myself.  I referred earlier to the devastation that can occur when America is divided against itself but I’ll state further that a far more important lesson can be gleaned from that same section of your history text book.  That lesson is that standing against something evil is not easy nor is it a short road.  Whether one is fighting slavery or demagoguery one must always put themselves, not on the side most likely to win, but on the side of truth, kindness and reason.  The side of their own conscience.  One has a duty not to let politics or personal gain influence their position.  That person cannot bury their own heart under layers of false justification gained by absorbing only the information beneficial to their own situation and holding it up as fact while ignoring anything that opposes it.  It’s irresponsible, dangerous and the outcome is often cruel.  Unfortunately it’s easy to look the other way and pretend not to notice who you’re hurting.  Often times you’re hurting yourself without even realizing it.  We all have a responsibility to stand against a tyrant and Trump is most certainly that.  I’m proud of everyone that marched after the inauguration and I hope they will continue opposing him in any way they can.  I vow to do the same and I will see you guys on the battlefield!  God Bless America