Well, it’s been a week, and I’ll admit—my fear that we would rue the day we elected Trump has only magnified. With each executive order he signs, a new threat to our democracy presents itself. Some of you may think I’m severely exaggerating. Some of you may think these proposals will never happen. Some of you may not care because political discussions make you uncomfortable. Some of you may even agree with everything he’s doing.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’m exaggerating. Because the alternative means we have learned nothing from historical dictatorships. Consider:
- On his inauguration day, he ordered the shutdown of a Twitter account that portrayed him negatively. This violates both free speech and free press.
- On the same day, he declared war on the free press, claiming that the presidency is the ultimate truth. When Trump presents information, he does so with no evidence and no facts. When the press question this with documented evidence, he calls them “fake news.” Media members have had credentials revoked and have even been arrested (and face felony charges) for doing nothing more than reporting. As I wrote this, Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief advisor, said the media should “keep their mouth shut” and called them “the opposition party.”
- He has questioned and attacked the intelligence community, claiming he knows what is really going on.
- He has cut off federal funding to agencies that promote and publicly share knowledge he disagrees with. The AP reported today that the Trump administration has mandated that all data from EPA studies will be run through the political staff before it’s released to the public. In essence, they will block any climate science that they disagree with politically. This is a declaration of war on public knowledge.
- He has ordered the construction of a wall and put in place orders to prevent anyone who looks and believes differently from us from entering the country.
- He has implied that he could declare martial law on the city of Chicago.
- He has declared war on the election process. Now, the focus will be on illegal immigrants voting—something that has been conclusively proven to be false. However, that’s not the end game here. When this is said and done, I expect that there will be laws in place that will ultimately make it more difficult for minorities and the poor to vote. In short—our democratic elections will no longer be truly democratic.
Look at the constitutional freedoms being trampled. Look at the basic rights being violated. Collectively, these are not the actions of a leader of the free world. These are the actions of someone who wants to control what you are told…what you are to believe…what you should know…what you should do…how you should behave…how you should think…and on and on. This is not leadership. This is control. This is ruling.
History shows that political systems that fell into this trap did so while the people sat back and did nothing. Said nothing. If you think I’m exaggerating—fine—let’s talk about it. If you agree with me—fine—then speak out. But you cannot sit back and say nothing. Do nothing. You MUST pay attention to what’s happening. You MUST take part in what’s happening. Not participating in political conversations or political actions is why we’re in this mess to begin with.