From an early age we are taught the values-laden story of the birth of our nation. It is filled with feats of courage, perseverence and wisdom. To be sure, it is a history that weaves a rich and vibrant fabric. A fabric that has withstood the many stresses and strains the years have placed upon it. Each of us extracts from this fabric those elements that drive our patriotism and give meaning to our lives as Americans. Most importantly, as our democracy has sought to become a “more perfect union”, the fabric has grown stronger and has been a beacon for the world. However, over the last nearly one hundred days there has been an assault on our national fabric. We have a president who is challenging the very values from which this fabric has been woven.
We are a nation that prides itself on equality, a free press and an independent judiciary. While we are well aware that our history is dotted by instances during which we didn’t live up to these ideals, we have continued to strive towards them. However, our president both rhetorically and through his actions has ignored those basic tenets. He has verbally assaulted the press, has purposely berated the judiciary and through his Executive Orders placed into question some our most basic Constitutional guarantees. Not only has the Trump White House become one of the least transparent in history, but its continued use of “alternative facts” has placed the credibility of this nation in jeopardy.
Yet, while this is extremely damaging there is something happening to our country that is more concerning. Trump is changing trying to change our national character. The increase in hate crimes toward minorities and immigrants during the past 100 days is a fact that cannot be denied. There are no alternate facts to make this reality disappear. Trump, through his hateful words and his careless behavior has unleashed a climate of hate and distrust in this nation. Where we were once the safe sanctuary to those endangered or oppressed, we are now seeking to build a wall. Where we were once the beacon of liberty and justice across the world, we are now becoming the symbol of intolerance and xenophobia. Where we were once the example of democratic ideals, we are now seeing a constriction of those ideals and freedoms. Trump is clearly seeking to break down the good the government has done and has been expected to do.
Over the past nearly 100 days we have been paying a great deal of attention to the, as many have called them, “shiny objects”. Certainly there has been much to see. But during this same period, the real and enduring damage has been taking place very quietly. Bannon stated clearly that it was the goal of the administration to dismantle the “administrative state”. The race to deregulate and defund is achieving just that. Through Executive Orders and defunding the President and his administration have been ripping the fabric of America. It challenges our commitment to the arts and education. It eliminates much of the research and progress in the sciences and medicine. It removes the protections that we have a right to expect from our government. It reduces the size and effectiveness of agencies that work on our behalf and protect us. Most importantly he tugs at our souls and moves us toward a soulless and heartless utilitarian society.
The fabric that represents who we are is being torn before our eyes. If it continues to happen we will have no one to blame but ourselves. We must continue to engage, challenge and demand. We must stop this from happening.