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.