Nothing is safe or sacrosanct in Donald Trump’s developing governance team, and America had better start being alarmed about it and moving to actively oppose it.
The time for voting has elapsed, but the time for being vocal has emerged.
Let’s take the tally:
He has chosen a man hostile to immigrants and with a complicated – to put it mildly – history on race to be attorney general.
He has chosen a man who is anti-abortion, pro-fetal “personhood,” and anti-Obamacare to be secretary of health and human services.
He has chosen a man who has criticized paid sick-leave policies and opposes increasing the federal minimum wage to lead the Department of Labor.
He has chosen a climate change denier and anti-environmental-regulation crusader to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
He has chosen a vocal proponent of school vouchers to run the Department of Education.
In a way, Trump seems to be trying to destroy these agencies from the inside out, the way a worm slowly devours an apple.
Furthermore, he is stacking these jobs with people who have given him cash. According to The Washington Post:
“President-elect Donald Trump has now tapped six big donors and fundraisers to serve in his administration, lining up an unprecedented concentration of wealthy backers for top posts. Together with their families, Trump’s nominees gave $11.6 million to support his presidential bid, his allied super PACs and the Republican National Committee, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign filings.”
Trump’s defense: “I want people that made a fortune!”
And, just as the CIA was asserting that Russia meddled in our election specifically to provide succor to this sap, reports emerged that Trump’s likely pick for secretary of state is Exxon’s chief executive, who has close ties to Vladimir Putin. Daddy Warbucks is hellbent on appeasing Mother Russia.
Angry yet? Yes. Good!
And understand this: You are not alone; you aren’t even in the minority.
A Pew Research Center report published last week found:
“Trump also receives low marks for his initial Cabinet choices and other high level appointments. By 51 percent to 40 percent, more say they disapprove than approve of the Cabinet choices and appointments Trump has made so far. In contrast, majorities approved of the choices made” by the past four presidents-elect. “In fact, approval ratings for Trump’s cabinet choices are 18 points lower than for the next lowest-rated president-elect.”
Furthermore, the report found:
“Just 37 percent of the public views Trump as well-qualified; 32 percent of registered voters described Trump as well-qualified in October. Majorities continue to say Trump is reckless (65 percent) and has poor judgment (62 percent), while 68 percent describe him as ‘hard to like.’”
Since the election I have heard from more people than I can count who express fear and anxiety about Trump and the future of the country. There is a stifling sense of discontent and foreboding and apprehension.
I know that it can feel like we are all drowning in a deluge of compounding outrages, with every headline about this impending administration appearing to one-up the last, but take heart.
You may have been on the losing side of this year’s election, but you are on the right side of history. In the final tally, courage will always defeat fear; love will always conquer hate; the beautiful diversity of America, and indeed all of humanity, will always outshine the darkness of racial enmity.
This is the reason I write, to remind people of honor and courage; to tell them that their cause isn’t lost, that their destiny is victory.
Maybe I am confined by my craft, pumping out polemics that, it is my great hope, help to stiffen the spines and lift the spirits of those determined to stare down the threat. Language, in that way, holds the possibility of transcendence and conscription. One of the first and most essential ways to mobilize around a cause is to establish its moral framing.
In a 1780 letter written to a fellow revolutionary considering “retiring into private life,” staunch abolitionist Samuel Adams – a man strongly opposed to slavery and therefore one of my favorite founders – wrote:
“If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experiencd Patriots to prevent its Ruin. There may be more Danger of this, than some, even of our well disposd Citizens may imagine. If the People should grant their Suffrages to Men, only because they conceive them to have been Friends to the Country, without Regard to the necessary Qualifications for the Places they are to fill, the Administration of Government will become a mere Farce, and our pub-lick Affairs will never be put on the Footing of solid Security.”
There is no other time to which this could apply more perfectly than now. This is not the time for the “retiring” of “experiencd patriots.” A “vain and aspiring” man now possesses the highest seat in government and the administration of the government is on the verge of becoming a farce.
America needs you … now. Speak up.