Our world changed massively on November 8th. The election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the continued control of the House and the Senate by the Republican Party as well as the imminent control of the Supreme Court by the right will impact this country profoundly. I will not attempt to analyze the election or discuss the reason we lost. That is for the pundits, political scientists and historians. What is more important for us at this moment is to understand that our world has become significantly more dangerous than it was on November 7th and appreciate the kinds of changes we may well begin to see in our country in the days, weeks and months ahead. Those who believe that Trump will become less polarizing, hateful or downright frightening as president than he was as a candidate are going to be sorely disappointed. Don’t be fooled by superficial and meaningless gestures. What we see is what we’ve got.
During the days immediately following the election demonstrations erupted in dozens of cities throughout the country. Those demonstrations continue and more are planned for the months ahead. This reaction is unprecedented. I cannot recall another election in modern American history that created such dissension, fear or disgust at home and abroad. However, it should be no surprise that so many reacted so vociferously. During his campaign Trump talked about building a wall, deporting millions of immigrants, banning all Muslims, punishing women who had abortions, repealing Obamacare and bullying our allies. He gave voice to and legitimized the haters and anti-government groups that had, up to this point, lived on the fringes of society. He chose a governor as his running mate who has attempted to implement the most extreme anti-gay laws in the country in addition to passing the most abhorrent anti-abortion laws in the nation. To seal the deal Trump appointed Steve Bannon, an acknowledged white supremacist and anti-Semite to be his senior advisor in the White House. It is clear that this will not be an administration that celebrates diversity or protects equal rights for women or minorities. It will promote an America that celebrates the kind of nationalism that supports xenophobia and endangers minorities. Our hubris will cause us to isolate ourselves and make us an undependable trading partner or ally. As a result, decades-old security pacts and trade agreements will be placed in jeopardy.
The list above is both incomplete and general. It merely touches on some of the more obvious ramifications of a Trump presidency. He has shown himself to be an individual who views the law as something to use to his own benefit and ignore when it does not serve his purposes. HIs ethics in business are abhorrent and his narcissism is a threat to sound judgment and effective leadership. Flattery will get you anywhere you want. He is not well read, does not believe in science and has a notoriously short attention span. All of this makes him incredibly vulnerable to the manipulations, both foreign and domestic, of those that want to influence his decisions. It has been reported that his Transition Team is in disarray as they use loyalty rather than experience as a litmus test for important cabinet and White House positions. This naturally raises a red flag as we wait and watch to see the makeup of the Trump Administration. While I have many ideological disagreements with Priebus, I can’t fault his selection as Chief Of Staff. However, the selection of Steve Bannon as a senior advisor is horrifying. Furthermore, it raises serious questions about Trump’s judgement. The issues regarding his international financial entanglements and the role of his children only add to this list of concerns.
The fact is simple. We have elected a president who is dangerous, ill-prepared and ill-informed. The years ahead will be filled with challenges to our democracy and our security. We must be prepared to challenge him at every turn. We cannot allow Donald Trump to become part of normalcy. He must be perceived and treated as a threat to everything we hold dear as Americans and human beings. Don’t grow weary, the fight has just begun.