It’s been a little over 24 hours since Donald Trump gave his inauguration address. The speech made me speechless and I had to take sometime to process it.
The speech scared me to be frank. During the campaign there were comparisons to Hitler that I thought uncalled for but now I’m not sure. The nationalism in the speech gave me chills. There was an Orwellian air to all of the talk to patriotism. I’ve already seen the antagonistic view he takes with the press. In Donald Trump’s patriotic country, is there room for dissent? Is there room for protest?
As a spiritual person, the talk of God bothered me. There is a separation of church and state. Is Trump’s God the God for everyone or just the evangelical Christians? He spoke against “radical Islamic terrorists” but does he consider all of Islam to be radical terrorists? The God that Donald Trump thinks protects us isn’t my God because my God is of love and nothing of that speech was love.
Most inauguration speeches call for unity and try to bring both parties together. Donald Trump spoke about “American carnage”. He used righteous a lot which always bothers me. It’s one of those trigger words that signify you’re better than me because you feel your value system is better than mine. Most of the speech focused on fear based tactics and implicit bias.
I want to focus on passages from the speech and offer up my two cents worth of commentary.
First he talked about the movement that built around him and swept him into office. He said “At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens.” I find that fucking hilarious. President Trump feels that the nation exists to serve its citizens but one of the first things he did as president was sign an executive order that began the process of dismantling Obamacare. I guess having healthcare isn’t one of the ways a nation should serve its citizens.
Then he goes on to list the wrongs of this country and he made a statement that reeks of racism. “And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” When the Republican party talks about crime and gangs and drugs they are talking about the African-American community. There’s a distrust within communities of high minorities towards the police department but President Trump has now said that the drugs and the gangs and the crime will be stopped so that means more unchecked police officers patrolling in communities where people of color live. They’ll be more stop and frisk. They’ll be more racial profiling. The tension will build.
Donald Trump then talked about our military. He said we “subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.”
Now, the only militaries that we’ve subsidized to my knowledge are Iraq and Afghanistan. The only reason we did that is because we illegally invaded Iraq to take out Saddam Hussein after September 11th and we attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan even though the Taliban is a nomadic group. Fuck, Osama bin Laden was found in Pakistan. We still have one of the most well funded militaries.
I’ll give the president his due. I’d be the first to agree that the US has this odd habit of bombing places then helping rebuild them while our own infrastructure is crumbling. There are many issues here on the home front that needs to be dealt with before we deal with them in other countries. But I harshly disagree with the idea that the “wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated.”
The “America First” rhetoric worries me. It’s the same argument used in the 1940’s to keep us out of World War II even though there was strong evidence that the Holocaust was occurring. We’ve become a globalized world and President Trump scares me with his talk. I read that that the economic fallout of pulling out of NAFTA could throw us into another recession.
He said that “we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example” but I’m afraid that’ll turn out false. The United States has a long history of meddling in the affairs of other nations. He said that “we will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.” I can’t be the only one frightened that Donald Trump has the nuclear codes when I hear “ERADICATE COMPLETELY FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH.” That’s some scary talk.
Above all, Donald Trump scares me when he talks about allegiance. “At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.”
Allegiance is a tricky word. We’ve had instances in the past where citizens were rounded up and put into internment camps because their allegiance was questioned. We’ve had citizens rounded up and forced to testify in front of a House UnAmerican Activities Committee. If we’re persuing “solidarity” is there room for a difference of opinion. Donald Trump scares the hell out of me.
Yesterday I pondered what it was like to be an American. I tried to emphasize that being American meant that we got to challenge the president and keep an eye on him. Now I’m afraid that being American under the Trump administration means that we have to kowtow to Trump’s every whim and tell him falsehoods to stroke his ego. He’s already upset with the press because they reported the truth that the inauguration crowds were smaller than President Obama’s crowds. Will he consider it UnAmerican to support immigration? Will he consider it UnAmerican to disapprove of building a border wall? Will he consider it UnAmerican if someone disagrees with him?
President Trump vows that “our country will thrive and prosper again” but I feel our country already thrives and prospers. He said that “we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms” but that’s a falsehood. There are “religious freedom” laws that are discriminatory towards me because of my sexuality. There are laws that broach on women’s health issues. There are laws that make it easier for the wealthy among us and make it difficult for the poor among us.
“Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again. And, yes, together we will make America great again.”
America is already all of these things. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat myself. We’re in for a long 4 years. If you were content with the status quo then you probably look forward to President Trump and the Republican held Congress repealing Obamacare and limiting the rights of same sex married couples. You’re probably happy that Planned Parenthood is losing its funding. You’re probably happy that Freedom House here in Detroit, a place dedicated to helping refugees, has lost its funding. You probably think this is the start to a glorious age but not all of us feel that way. The women gathering on every continent in protest feel that this is the beginning of a dark time. I feel that this is the beginning of a dark time. All I can hope is that we see the light, that love and common sense win and that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Until then I hold onto my faith in humankind, my belief that we’re all part of a human family and put my faith and belief into action.