So on this sad inaugural day, things have begun to change quickly in our country. Our new president has, through his inaugural address and White House website, deepened his reliance on authoritarian rhetoric even as he continues to be vague about what it all means or how it will all be accomplished.
Any mention of climate change has been seemingly removed from the site (except to note that he will eliminate our nation’s Climate Action Plan, which his administration considers “harmful and unnecessary”). https://www.whitehouse.gov/america-first-energy
He has rather ominously vowed to end “American carnage” even though there are no specifics as to the sorts of carnage he means. He continues to use his tired and coded condemnation of urban areas and populations. He disparages our educators and, indeed, our entire education system.
Even as he claims to be taking “an oath of allegiance to all Americans,” his attention appears to be miles distant from the carnage of inequality or injustice toward our nation’s religious or ethnic minorities or LGBTQ community or marginalized groups of any sort. https://www.whitehouse.gov/inaugural-address
The website touts plans to re-energize manufacturing without any awareness of the necessity for organized labor or, at the very least, living wages—the very things that will make a manufacturing economy viable in this century (must as they did in the previous century). https://www.whitehouse.gov/bringing-back-jobs-and-growth
His rhetoric about strengthening America by turning attention back to our country can be read as encouraging. Who doesn’t want stronger infrastructure or better jobs or safer schools? Who doesn’t want a country that “shines as an example” around the world? And I agree with his “buy American” philosophy. But when he starts his reductive “America First” sloganeering, it’s unclear what we should expect. It’s worth noting here that “America First” was an anti-semitic slogan in the years leading up to WWII, started by people who believed the Jewish-Americans were pushing us into war for their own agenda. The Anti-Defamation League asked the president to stop using the phrase nearly a year ago: http://www.adl.org/press-center/press-releases/anti-semitism-usa/adl-urges-donald-trump-to-reconsider-america-first.html#.WIKHkaOZOdE
Truthfully, I really want to believe in this speech and I’d love to be a person who could get behind the president and work toward a better country, but I think my work for the country cannot come through this man. If he accomplishes the economic goals and does help the country, I will acknowledge the positives and give credit where credit is due. But:
I fear for the environment.
I fear for the marginalized.
I fear more of my tax dollars going to “rebuild a military” that is already the most expensive in the world.
I fear pretty much all of his appointments.
I fear for my daughter’s future in Trump’s America.
I want him to surprise the shit out of me and become a great president. I want him to really mean it when he says he’s a president for all Americans. But nothing so far has given me any hope whatsoever that he will surprise me. Everything I’ve seen and read—and if you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I have been spending a great deal of time reading a wide variety of respected news publications—does not paint an administration worthy of my hope.
I do have hope in my friends and family. Today, my daughter left to march in the Woman’s March tomorrow in D.C.. She went with friends of our family, will stay with a friend of the family, be surrounded by women and men of conviction, and do her part to make a statement about the country she wants to be a part of. I’ll be attending a march in Portsmouth tomorrow. These are good people working to make America the bright and shining example it might someday be. These are the people to whom I can stake my allegiance.
Note: I’m posting about my political or social justice activities thoughts each week. It’s not an invitation to debate in the comments sections. If you yell at me online, I’ll just delete the comment. If you’d like to have a conversation about any of my ideas, I’m pretty easy to find. Let’s do it in person. I’ll even buy the first cup of coffee. We’ll get along famously in person. And in return, I promise not to yell at you online, too. Deal? Internet comments don’t solve anything.