I woke up Wednesday morning to the news that Donald J. Drumpf will be the 45th President of the United States of America. This news is historic on so many levels. I can’t think of many good things that will come out of this Presidency. My thoughts follow:
NOTE: I’ve now had a full day to process this information and am still having trouble with the reality of the situation. This post has been written over the course of two days and may not even fully describe the potential threat to America Drumpf’s Presidency poses.
1. Drumpf’s Presidency legitimizes the worst in us
Throughout his campaign, this man has done everything he could to scare the living crap out of the American people, using phrases like “third-world country” and “war zone” to describe our infrastructure and cities. While this sensationalism is obviously false, and (for example) numerous reports – based on actual data over the past few decades – show that crime is down nationwide, the anxious, frightened voter base he’s garnered takes it as confirmation that they’re in real danger and cements the wrong-headed idea that our government has failed us. In short, he has bolstered intellectual laziness over honesty with the words, “Trust me.” And his voter base did. You don’t have to scour social media very thoroughly to find more examples than you want of expressions of these ideas.
Drumpf’s declarations of nationalism, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, elitism, and selfishness resonated through Republican voters and, while all of these ideas seem to run counter to every American ideal, became a part of America’s national identity. By electing a man who holds and broadcasts, unapologetically, these views to our highest office we have admitted defeat and a willingness – nay, a drive – to undo all of the progress we’ve made. Even though I feel justified in using the #NotMyPresident hashtag I still have to accept some amount of responsibility for this outcome because these people were my neighbors, my friends, and my family and through apathy or a lack of persistence (or an aversion to associating myself with these people) I failed to sway them from these dangerous ideas. Now that Drumpf is taking office they feel more justified than ever to feel this way and people like me have lost ground in the fight against it.
2. Drumpf has undermined the Democratic Process
Claiming over and over that everything about this country is “rigged,” from elections to polls to the media to microphones, Drumpf has given his entire voter base reason to be suspicious of anything this country does…except when it benefits Drumpf and his voters. Blatantly disavowing the legitimacy of our President and the ability of the American people to participate in a fair election undermines everything we stand for and gives groups of people justification for lashing out violently when they don’t get the outcome they want. This goes for everybody, I’d like to point out, and the violent protests in Oakland that resulted in property damage and injury weren’t the act of Drumpf voters. I’d like to think, however, if the Republican candidate hadn’t been a complete monster these protests wouldn’t have happened and I’m more than willing to take any backlash from saying that these protests, and the peaceful ones around the country, have been Drumpf’s fault.
In addition, because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College, everyone on the Left (again, like in 2000) feels that this country’s Democratic system is (you could say “rigged”) deeply flawed and needs an overhaul. While this manifests more as despair and petitions for changing the system – recognizing that it won’t change the outcome of this election – it is severely troubling for those who had hoped to keep this monster out of the White House and feel like Hillary should have won.
3. Drumpf’s appointees will stifle progress
Already having announced Chris Christie as his transition manager and Myron Ebell, a climate change denier, as his EPA transition manager we’re getting a glimpse of what the next four years will be like. Add to that his list of Scalia-esque Supreme Court nominees and you’ve got the perfect storm of Conservative Christian theocrats in positions likely to make long-lasting, damaging decisions pertaining to education, women’s rights, voting rights, social welfare programs, and clean energy. Any policies put in place during the Obama administration are likely (nearly guaranteed) to be discarded and any progress made in these areas will be reversed. There may be a glimmer of hope in at least one action President Obama took protecting funding for Planned Parenthood, but everything else appears to be on the chopping block on day one of President Drumpf’s reign of terror.
Even scarier than that, we have to contend with Mike Pence as Vice President. I’ve already written a post on why Pence is worse than Drumpf. In addition to the already stated objections, we’re talking about a man who subscribes to “pray the gay away” (most innocuously) and gay conversion therapies like – allegedly – shock treatment (most heinously). While we can make a note that shock therapy has been rejected by all medical professionals, it’s important to note that Conservative Christians don’t always get the memo and leave little Easter eggs like leaving it “up to the parents” to determine the proper medical treatment for their gay children. Pence believes Christianity is under attack and would push for more religious freedom bills, which would allow Christians – and it’s important to note that while these bills are introduced as “religious freedom” they are blatantly targeted toward protecting those discriminatory behaviors exhibited mostly by white Christians – to discriminate against anyone, any time, for anything with impunity. Pence has also been among the leaders of the leaders in the country opposing LGBTQ equality. In Indiana, Pence signed a bill – with overwhelming Republican support – that requires aborted or miscarried fetuses to be buried or cremated no matter how far along the pregnancy as well as outlawing abortion if the fetus had a deformity. The bill was struck down by a district judge, thankfully. I would presume, knowing the Christians I know, this only stoked the fires of his passion for “protecting the sanctity of life” and makes him happy he’s got a higher office now.
4. Drumpf’s rhetoric will recruit more terrorists
Drumpf wasn’t wrong to call our leaders out on not addressing, specifically, “Radical Islamic Terrorism” and pointing to their cowardice in facing what Islamism truly is. Drumpf has been consistently wrong – dangerously so – however, in painting an entire religion with a broad brush and giving American Muslims the feeling that they don’t belong, aren’t welcome, and are always under suspicion. What happens when a group of people is marginalized and demonized is perhaps one of many different things, and one of those is radicalization. We’ve already seen young Muslims get caught up in the horrible ideas of Islamism because of their living situation and interactions post-9/11 and we know that it continues to happen. The question is not whether it will, but on what scale? If Drumpf continues to spew his rhetoric concerning Muslims (not Islamism) then I feel it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that more of the marginalized, demonized, ostracized Muslim community will be pushed to the point where they feel like they’re at war with their own country.
5. Republican control of America will hurt all of us
Though I speak as an atheist I have often said that religious people’s objections to the separation of church and state manifest in a “be careful what you wish for” scenario, where they don’t understand that this wall that separates the two provides protections on both sides. The Conservative push for tearing down this wall opens churches and religious institutions to government encroachment on their funding, their operations, and their very existence. What Congress and the Supreme Court do in the next four years will have lasting effects for all of us, no matter our religion or lack thereof. Without a doubt, this administration’s actions will hurt some way more than others (women, minorities, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ to name a few) but we have to realize that we’re all in this together now, symbiotic.
6. Drumpf will destroy foreign relations
Already having questioned the worthiness of NATO countries for America’s friendship and assistance, pinned a ridiculous, unwanted and impossible border wall on Mexico, questioned every foreign trade agreement on the books, and caused a ludicrous back-and-forth over Russia, Drumpf couldn’t possibly be further away from a foreign policy expert. His ego constantly gets in his way and his mouth is a barrier to rational conversation. One can imagine that negotiating deals with other countries will sound something akin to:
Drumpf: OK everybody, this is going to be the greatest deal ever. The greatest. Sign here.
Everyone Else: Wait, what’s in this deal?
Drumpf: Don’t worry about it. Trust me, this is a tremendous deal. Tremendous.
Everyone Else: Yeah, but what’s…
Drumpf: You’re the puppet!
I haven’t even mentioned the fact that he thinks countries like Japan and South Korea aren’t paying their “fair share” to maintain our military bases on their land – not even realizing that having military bases in these countries is every bit as beneficial to us as a super power as it is to the host country for protection! How stupid do you have to be not to see that? Drumpf stupid, that’s how stupid. This man clearly knows nothing, and if he institutes (or tries) a “pay us or we’ll leave” policy these countries (a) may not want to continue their reliance and alliance with the U.S. and (b) may be singled out by aggressors as weak links that we’d be hard-pressed to defend if we didn’t already have a presence. I’m no military genius but that makes sense to me.
7. You can’t always get what you want…
Drumpf supporters are going to be very angry when they finally realize Drumpf cannot deliver – even with a Republican Congress – on most of his promises. Acknowledging that most campaigns make a ton of promises and only keep a few, this is different because the only reason Drumpf won the Presidency is because he went completely bananas and told America he would do things that are literally impossible. The border wall will not be built; it’s impossible to build a wall that big. He won’t bring worthwhile jobs back to America; companies have very specific reasons and vested interest in having moved them in the first place. He won’t force companies to make their products in America for the same reason. He won’t make you wealthy; no matter what policies he tries to implement he doesn’t have that power. He won’t defeat ISIS; ISIS runs on an ideology and isn’t constrained to a person or an easily identifiable group of people that you can “bomb the shit out of.” He will not force other countries to pay for protection, as though we’re running some kind of mafia operation.
When Drumpf supporters realize the Drumpf was trolling them at every single one of his rallies by playing the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” they’re going to be pissed. Because this entire campaign has been about the most irrational ideas and behavior there’s no telling how that will manifest.
If we’re going to make it through the next four years we’re going to have to be active participants in government. Right now I’m still in shock and despair and I’m feeling like there’s nothing I can possibly do, but I’m going to research and I’m going to speak out and I’m going to figure out how to donate some of my time and energy to righting any wrongs that arise from this shift to authoritarian dictatorship called Drumpfland. I recommend you do the same. Don’t sit by and watch Americans get beat up by a bully.