Don’t Keep Quiet

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Trump has been in office for less than two weeks and at every turn I feel like we’re seeing the beginnings of some 1984-Animal Farm Orwellian alt-reality turned actual reality. His cabinet appointments leave a lot to be desired and his executive orders, thus far, raise the hairs on the back of my neck and turn my stomach. If recklessly plowing forward with his plans to build the wall and the unofficial-official “Muslim Ban” are where he’s starting with domestic and foreign policy, I shudder to think where we’ll be in six months. Minority registries? Internment camps? And let’s not forget that he’s already placed gag orders on government scientists and removed a number of advocacy and information links– including climate change, LGBT+, health care, civil rights– from the White House website. While none of these things are inherently surprising, as CNN so callously pointed out, they are no less distressing. It all begs the disturbing question, what– or who– is next?

Trump has singled out plenty of targets and while I don’t know which one he’ll focus on next, I’d like to note that there is something to feel hopeful about: people are speaking out. Political paradies, such as the Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee have been unrelenting in their criticisms of Trump and his new policies. Prominent scientists, like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, are vocalizing their support of the scientific community and standing firm in their adamance that facts are not subjective nor political and they will not be bullied into silence. Rogue NASA, EPA, and National Parks Services social media accounts have already popped up in a stunningly fast response to Trump’s gag order. I will note, that there are some inherent dangers with rogue accounts (appropriately mused over in the linked Forbes article), yet, their very existence speaks volumes of the current political climate. Rogue reporting exists as a necessity in the face of censorship, and it has been clear from the start that Trump’s tolerance for unfavorable reporting is nil. The tighter he pulls the restrictions, the more rogue and satirical reporting we will see in response.

It’s frightening to watch the changes already sweeping the nation, though it’s more frightening how many people are still denying what’s happening in front of our very eyes. Still, I am ever inspired by the acts of solidarity in the face of injustice. I can’t speak about the growing resistance without mentioning the global Women’s Marches the day after Trump’s inauguration or the protests at the airports following the refugee ban, both of which serve as a reminder that people are prepared to act in the face of Trump’s despotism. It is imperative as a country that we maintain this unity. Trump’s messages, the orders he’s signed into place, are meant to divide us. As we move forward, it will be easy to slip back into complacency, to focus only on those policies that immediately impact us, but we must remain ever vigilant. To be silent benefits no one.

 


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Remember…

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It’s Friday. I would normally be posting this week’s Cards Against Humanity Flash Fiction, but today is January 20th, 2017– Inauguration Day– and I couldn’t bring myself to write something light-hearted on a day when so many people are so very afraid.

election day, 2016, trump, trump presidency, guy fawkes

Rather than espousing all the reasons I believe our fears for Donald Trump’s presidency are founded, I will simply say let us hope for the best while preparing for the worst. I hardly want to catastrophize, but it would be foolish to ignore the red flags. On November 8th, 2016 we voted into office a man who has by his words and actions made clear that he does not respect or care about women; ethnic minorities; immigrants; the LGBQT community; the disabled; the poor, working, and middle classes; the environment– have I missed anyone or anything?– and the reality is that no matter what happens during his presidency, by our very electing him, we’ve changed things irrevocably. The world’s view of us, our view of ourselves, has been tarnished.

Now, if a hit to our reputation and our egos is the worst that comes from Trump’s presidency, I will be grateful, but I can’t rest my hat on that. Trump’s censorship of the media has already begun. Take it seriously, keeping people uninformed and fearful is a powerful manipulation tactic. It also leaves plenty of room to insert propaganda supporting his own personal agenda and we’d better believe that he absolutely will: scapegoating was a base ingredient in his campaign strategy, be very wary of the hype. It’s in our nature to think in terms of us versus them; however, when we dehumanize entire groups of people, we are able to justify all manner of atrocities. Without a doubt, a time will come when we will be faced with the choice of turning a blind eye or standing together for the equality and dignity of a few. All Trump need do is make good on any one of his campaign promises. Remember, any and all threats to the civil liberties of one group are of concern to the entire population. We cannot hide behind the false belief that “it doesn’t affect me.” Maybe today it doesn’t, but that does not mean to say that the same will be true tomorrow.

I wish I could finish this post on a more hopeful or optimistic note– at the very least, I wish I could offer some insight or closure– but the truth is, I’m just as anxious as many of you. There’s nothing I can say that doesn’t feel horribly cliched or falsely positive at this moment, so I suppose I will simply end by saying that this isn’t over. Words have always been my weapon of choice and it seems to me I will have ample opportunity to use them in the coming years.


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