With Trump officially in office and already starting his term off to a bang, it’s important to reiterate that all of this is not normal. The censoring of government employees and scientists? Not normal. The Press Secretary blatantly lying about the size of the inauguration crowds, despite the fact that there is clear photographic evidence to contradict him? Still not normal, no matter if ‘alternative facts’ actually exist. The Press Secretary has even started to print out tweets that Trump has issues with and holds them up at press briefings, which is incredibly bizarre and definitely not normal. Trump and those in his administration have proven several times in less than two weeks that they are willing to lie to the American public on numerous issues.
There are some on the left who are saying that we will survive Trump’s administration and that we’ve survived similar situations. That’s true to some extent because as a whole, the nation might actually get through the next four years. But individuals won’t. People won’t. When people speak of past administrations, like Reagan or Jackson, the fact that so many people died because of the lack of action done by those same administrations seems to be left out.
People died by the thousands in some part because of the lack of action done by the Reagan administration at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. We have an almost completely lost queer generation because of the policies and lack of action from the then current administration. (This unearthed audio from several unearthed press briefings during the Reagan administration is haunting.) And under Andrew Jackson, the nation prevailed but the horrendous Trail of Tears eventually killed thousands of native and indigenous folks. So when people say that we’ve survived worse, for me it says a lot about how we learn and remember history and the erasure of marginalized folks. It also says a whole lot about their privilege and the ways it blinds them to the experiences of others.
And Trump is moving at an alarmingly fast rate to enact several of his campaign policies, including trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (The ACA, in case you aren’t sure, is the exact same thing as Obamacare, a fact that has escaped some.) People have been sharing on social media, especially with the twitter hashtag #SaveTheACA, all the ways in which the ACA has saved people’s lives. The Act isn’t perfect but repealing it with zero alternative is dangerous and the proposed Health Savings Accounts don’t actually help, especially for low income folks and those at or below the poverty line.
The Global Gag Rule that he enacted just days into his presidency is much more extensive than previously thought and when the rule was enacted during the George W. Bush era, there was significant impact on women’s health worldwide. All of that combined means that this new enactment of the rule is going to have a significant and negative impact of some of the most marginalized folks around the world.
The completely misguided ban on travelers, refugees, and foreign nationals from seven countries in the Middle East has proven to be a massive shit show to say the least. People are being detained in airports, often without a translator, lawyer, or even water sometimes. Even with many courts around the country putting a stay on the ban and many arguing that the ban is illegal, Trump and related agencies are still going ahead with the ban and deportations. Trump and Customs and Border Protection agents are literally defying court orders that say this ban is unconstitutional. Trump even fired the acting Attorney General Sally Yates recently because she refused to defend the ban in court. All of that is not normal, nor should it be ignored.
Trump is an insecure, egotistical man whose administration has been and will continue to be awful for numerous marginalized folks. I think his rise to political power and rise in support says so much about us as white people. We are so willing to set everything on fire to prevent others from having just a silver of what we consider ours. The phrase ‘when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression’ comes to mind. The next four years are going to be rough but there’s a large community around the nation that’s fighting back against this administration. We’re not alone in this fight.