I, like so many others, have been rendered speechless (and unable to write) by the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in our land. It is time for us to ‘wake up’ and speak out.
I have watched in dismay as Trump has insulted first one group of Americans then another; and then, even more vituperatively, those who have come to America as immigrants.
What of our historical recognition of the value of diversity? What of our longstanding attempts to obliterate racism and other forms of prejudice and bias? What about our concern for equity and equality among the populace?
I have seen him boast and brag and acclaim his own greatness with nauseating frequency.
What about our cultural value on modesty, our common distaste for bluster? What about the dignity of the office of the President? How can such boastfulness and self-importance mesh with our expectations of a President?
Now he assigns individuals to lead different parts of the government: a person who wants to dismantle the Affordable Care Act to run the Department of Health and Human Services; a person who disapproves of the minimum wage to run the Department of Labour; a person who prefers private schools to public, in charge of the Department of Education; a person with little concern for the environment in charge of the Department of the Interior; a businessman with ties to Russia to lead the State Department; a CIA director who believes in torture; persons who do not believe in climate change for Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency; and so on.
What of our efforts to build policy on sound science? What about the extensive evidence showing the value of health insurance to those now covered? What about the role of public education in providing equal opportunity and educating the populace? What about the role of conventional energy sources in exacerbating climate change? How can these choices of Secretaries contribute to our nation’s wellbeing?
Trump tweets his childlike responses to criticism (such as to Meryl Streep’s comments at the Golden Globes event yesterday), as well as policy statements with potentially world-shaking implications (such as his tweeted taunt regarding North Korea’s claimed ICBMs, “It won’t happen”).
What of our longstanding attempts to work cooperatively with other countries? What of the norms of diplomacy that have helped to keep warfare at a scale that has not endangered the entire Earth? What of the world’s expectations that American leadership will function in a reasoned and adult manner? How dangerous it will be to have a full grown and powerful child at the helm—one with no impulse control, yet access to the nuclear codes, ‘the red button’.
Trump has failed to share his tax returns; he continues to involve himself and his children in his business affairs; he has pending court cases against him; he is mixing his political powers with his economic affairs; and he has questionable links with Russia, as he continues to deny their role in influencing the US election.
What of our tradition of financial openness on the part of presidents? What of our reluctance to condone nepotism? Where do ‘questionable links’ turn to treason?
There are only a few more days until he is sworn in as President of the United States. Is there really no way to undo what has been done, even with all this evidence of his unsuitability for the office of President? Surely some of these actions are illegal.
If not, if we are genuinely to endure four years of Donald Trump, we will have to be vigilant, outspoken, and firm in our convictions of what is right in this world. I wish us strength.