After spending a day grieving for the country I thought I lived in, and coming to terms with the hypocrisy and idiocy of roughly half of the citizens of the US, I have come to some conclusions. First, to me, voting for someone who has espoused so much hate and bigotry means that the voter is willing to overlook such behavior for whatever reason. No one who spewed as much malevolence as Trump has any business running this country – a country that, at least on the surface, promotes “liberty and justice for all.” I’ve had people tell me that this is God’s will – it true, it’s not any God I would worship. I’ve also had people tell me that they voted for him to shake up the system, to get someone in there who isn’t part of the established status quo, and because they agree with some of what he said. Technically, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, with 59,814,018 votes to Trump’s 59,611.678 votes. This does console me a bit in that the majority of people in this country are good people who see Trump for the racist, misogynistic, bigoted bully he is. However since the people in key states are not, the electoral votes went to Trump, making him the de-factor winner.
On his second day as President-Elect, Trump has already started to make his plans. Apparently he has a list of “enemies.” He’s considering some of the most unqualified and frankly terrifying people for his cabinet including Chris Christie or Newt Gingrich for Attorney General, and Sarah Palin for Secretary of the Interior. Chris Christie is also being considered for secretary of Homeland Security, with Rick Scott as potential secretary for Health and Human Services.
He’s already chosen Myron Ebell to lead the EPA transition. A known climate change skeptic, Ebell was called a climate criminal by Greenpeace, and was censured in the British House of Commons due to his views on climate change. One of Trump’s campaign promises was to “get rid of [EPA] in almost every form. We are going to have little tidbits left but we are going to take a tremendous amount out.” (Trump, March 2016) Much of Ebell’s work Is funded by companies like Exxon Mobile, Koch Industried, and Murray Energy Corporation, on record for constant criticism and litigation concerning the EPA. They are the largest coal producer in the US, thus having the most to lose in the clean energy movement.
Presumably, “shaking up the system” means having people in power who are not part of the established structure. Now that the man at the top is a definite political outsider, how will that work? Given his list of cabinet choices, he’s not really holding true to that. Not only has he chosen career politicians to populate his cabinet, but the ones he’s considering have proven themselves time after time to be the worst of the worst when it comes to governing all the people, not just the highest dollar contributors. How is that anything other than politics as usual? In addition to that, the GOP is now firmly in power in most areas of government. These are the same elected officials who made it possible for jobs to be shipped overseas. They enacted the policies that Trump directly benefited from in his business life. Even his “Make America Great Again” caps were made, not in the US by US workers, but in China. Imported via trade agreements to make them cheaper – those same trade agreements he is now promising to dismantle.
Voters also say they wanted someone who would fix the economy. The actions Trump is threatening to take could very well tank the economy. For those Trump voters who bought into his tax policy proposals, it has been estimated that he will increase taxes on working and middle class families by virtue of eliminating personal exemptions for taxpayers and dependents, and removing the head of household filing status, which single parents and caretakers use, the overwhelming majority of whom are single mothers. That accounts for 35% of all children in the US who will be reduced to further poverty in the name of “fixing the economy.” These tax changes will directly harm the very people who voted to put him in office. Who gets tax cuts under his plan? Rich people and corporations, of course. In addition, with the now Republican held Senate and House, Paul Ryan may just be able to end Medicare, food stamps, and Medicaid. Expect to see a lot more hungry children and dying elderly. Since repealing the Affordable Care Act is also one of Trump’s priorities, those elderly won’t be able to get private insurance, either. But let’s focus on “shaking up the system.”
Effectively raising taxes on the poor and middle class and putting even more money in the hands of the 1%, backing out of trade agreements without viable alternatives, and wrecking the environment are the things he has promised to get done in his first 100 days, albeit in terms that are less blatant.
There’s so much more to say, but this is already too long for a blog post. I’ll be writing more. Perhaps I’ve just gotten to an age where seeing someone decide that hating and racism and mysogyny and bogotry can be ignored because a person “just wants change” is wrong on so many levels I can no longer excuse it. If people want change, and I have no doubt they do, there are ways to facilitate it without marginalizing and brutalizing large groups of people. If people want change, they need to get out and make it happen. If there’s one thing this election taught me, it’s that time-proven lesson about what happens when good people sit by and do nothing. I’m not willing to overlook the secondary message in this election – some people matter less than others.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
*Note: Given the hatred that is now running rampant in this country, I have set comments to moderation. If you have a dissenting opinion, you’re welcome to it, but write it in your own blog. It’s free! It’s time to people to start working for their 1st Amendment rights – at least on my blog.
**I am Jewish, but I wanted to quote the poem in it’s entirety.