Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump's Presidency: What Do We Do Now?

By now, it's all over the news: Donald Trump has been elected to the Presidency of the United States. And not only that, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the majority of Governors will be overwhelmingly Republican. Already, even after one day of the election, racism-fueled incidents are happening all over and are being broadcasted via social media.

The reason why this is happening is because Trump won by openly courting and inciting racism and violence against people of color while scapegoating liberals, and now they have been emboldened to step out of the internet forums and do their best to bring back the days of Jim Crow, segregation and lynch mobs. This is scary enough as it is, but it gets worse.

Already, the new Republican majority has indicated it will completely repeal Obamacare and replace it with something only the middle class and higher could effectively use: Health Savings Accounts. Which is exactly what it sounds like: a tax-emempt savings account that can only be used for healthcare. In other words, healthcare insurance for the poor will literally disappear as an option for the lower classes, which will result in people literally dying from not being able to save enough money in their HSA to cover already skyrocketing health costs.

But it gets worse:

The Republicans have long pined for the opportunity to reverse Roe v Wade, which granted the right of women to have safe, legal abortions. Their opposition to abortion rights stems from the right-wing religious "pro-life"(more accurately "pro-birth") doctrines. With Trump and his Republican supermajority, he will be able to pick up to three Supreme Court justices to guarantee a total reversal of Roe v Wade.

LGBT rights are also on the chopping block as Republicans have opposed civil rights, including marriage, to nonstraight individuals and couples for decades as well. Trump's Congressional supermajority and Supreme Court picks can easily reverse Obergefell and potentially even criminalize being anything other than straight. The core of this anti-LGBT stance, just as with abortion, is solely religious dogma.

And it gets even worse:

Trump has said he wants to "open up the libel laws" to allow him, as President, to sue anybody who criticizes him, even if said criticism holds truth. Put quite simply, he wants to gut the core constitutional rights to free speech and free press solely to protect his ego. That would de-facto establish a kind of "blasphemy law" similar to what North Korea has when it comes to criticism of Kim Jong Un.

And it still gets worse:

Trump's likely choices for his Cabinet reads as a who's who of anti-intellectualist clowns: Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and others. More fracking, shale oil, deep dependence on fossil fuels, climate change denialism, anti-multiculturalism, anti-higher education and anti-science will become the official government platform.

And with anti-multiculturalism, Trump has also promised a ban on granting asylum to refugees and openly discriminating against immigrants from countries where there is conflict(which is a quite a legitimate reason to emigrate in the first place). And there's his famous vow to "build a wall and make Mexico pay for it".

Trump's completely unexpected ascendancy marks a complete 180 degree shift from the increasing progressiveness America has enjoyed since the Civil Rights Act, and threatens the most core institutions of American democracy. So the question becomes: How can we fight this? How can we defend the progress and rights we've fought for since the 1960s against a Republican party that has been completely gutted by white nationalists and Christian theocrats, and headed by a reality TV conman who effectively mobilized hate to launch himself into the White House?

The answer to that is simple: We play the long game, just as they have. We let enough of their regressive policies and behavior bear their rotten fruit, put it on blast in the news and social media when it hits their voters and their loved ones hard, and then point out that there is a better way while being careful not to repeat the mistakes that cost progressives this election so gravely(looking straight at you, people of the Democratic National Convention who screwed over their strongest candidate). When a Trump-supporting family sees their gay child bullied or assaulted(or worse), when a Trump supporter realizes their HSA is very ill-equipped to handle real health costs, when a Trump supporter sees their friends of color openly discriminated in ways not seen since the days of MLK, when a Trump supporter realizes that jobs aren't coming back to the U.S. just because their strongman gave employers an incentive to keep them out of the States, when a female Trump supporter is unable to get an abortion or reproductive health care, the Republicans and Trump will be unable to scapegoat progressives, and their support will collapse under its own weight.

It will be extremely tough to endure, but think about this: We suffered two terms under George W. Bush, where in one year he erased the budget surplus Bill Clinton worked hard to leave us with, dragged the U.S. into a second Iraq War under a false pretense and a personal grudge, and promoted the sub-prime mortgage crisis that precipitated the Great Recession of 2008. The Bush Administration's policies and behavior hurt the American economy so bad, that the country had no choice but to elect the first black president in history, and the rest is history.

So let the Trump train speed towards the cliff. After the inevitable wreck, and the horror of what they have wrought upon themselves sets in, that is where we can respond with our own anger tempered with hope, and offer a better, more rational alternative to racism, xenophobia, jingoism, misogyny and class warfare. We can do this.