Well, it happened.
After the election, there was a honeymoon period. The world didn’t change; Obama was still President; everything seemed like it was going on as normal. It was easy to fall into the trap of ignoring what was about to happen, or of believing that it would somehow be averted. But no. Donald Trump is officially the President of the United States of America.
I still can’t type that sentence without feeling as if I’ve stepped into an alternate universe.
Protests are igniting across the country, and some of them have turned violent. Reports of police brutality are coming in. If these images were coming from any other country in the world, they’d be taken as signs of deep political instability or even of imminent civil war. America appears to be in the opening stages of tearing itself apart, and I have very little optimism in Trump’s administration to respond to that scenario with fairness or decency.
How do I know that? Because his administration just told us. It’s one of the first things they did.
Less than an hour after the swearing-in ceremony, the whitehouse.gov website had changed to reflect Trump’s presidential leanings (the Obama version can be accessed here). The omissions are glaring–all mention of LGBT people have been erased–but what’s been added is even more chilling. In six short sub-headings, Trump’s government lays out its roadmap for the next four years, employing language seemingly destined to end up in a history textbook under a chapter title like “early warning signs”. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
An America First Energy Plan
The website is big on “America First”.
I present the following information for your edification.
Once you’ve stopped screaming, let’s talk about Trump’s energy platform, which is more or less what you think it is: drill, baby, drill. Tar sands, oil shales, let’s stop protecting federal lands and start extracting those sweet, sweet fossil foils.
Notably absent is any mention of alternative or renewable energy sources. Uncoupling America from a dependence on foreign oil is a perfectly sensible idea, but surely wind, solar, and other clean energy sources would be a good way to do that?
Opening up untapped oil reserves will certainly bring jobs and money in the short term, but eventually those resources will either run out or deprecate in value as the rest of the world moves away from fossil fuels. America, alongside the rest of the world, needs to permanently move away from oil. That transition will be painful and will come with a heavy cost, but it can’t be avoided. Trump’s energy plan is simply off-loading that suffering onto future generations.
America First Foreign Policy
You can probably guess where this is going.
Peace through strength will be at the center of that foreign policy.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more Orwellian phrase than this.
Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority. To defeat and destroy these groups, we will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary.
This is being presented as a novel idea (it’s Republican gospel that Obama was weak on ISIS and terrorists) even though the previous administration massively expanded a program whereby flying robots regularly blow people up in foreign countries. If that was Obama’s idea of being tough on America’s enemies, I don’t want to know what Trump is planning.
(Let’s not forget that the current situation in the middle east is largely due to America’s bungling intervention over the last sixteen years)
Next, we will rebuild the American military.
Gosh, I wonder where the funding for that will come from? Who needs healthcare or an education system when “unquestioned military dominance” is on the table?
Finally, in pursuing a foreign policy based on American interests, we will embrace diplomacy. The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies.
I wonder if Trump has a particular country in mind here…
Making Our Military Strong Again
Most of this is in line with Trump’s recent comments on America’s nuclear arsenal–basically, it’s a call for a massive arms race, because the Cold War was a really fun time and we should absolutely go back to it.
We will also develop a state-of-the-art missile defense system to protect against missile-based attacks from states like Iran and North Korea.
Iran and North Korea are not going to start threatening American soil with missiles. I assume these countries are named because Trump doesn’t want to piss off any of the countries that could actually do such a thing.
Cyberwarfare is an emerging battlefield, and we must take every measure to safeguard our national security secrets and systems.
Donald Trump is very concerned about The Cyber.
In the interest of fairness, I should point out that half of this section is dedicated to improving healthcare and assistance services for veterans, which is a legitimately worthwhile cause. America’s veteran’s support is a widely-recognized national disgrace, and many people have pointed out the hypocrisy of a culture that lionizes military service and encourages young people to fight in unnecessary wars, only to abandon them when they can no longer fight.
But the money for this should come from reducing the US military and downgrading America’s destructive meddling in other countries. Taken alongside Trump’s promise to do the exact opposite, it seems that any services for soldiers will come at the expense of the rest of the population.
Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community
One thing to keep in mind before embarking on this section: police officer deaths in America increased in 2016, but they’re still far lower than the national average.
This is by far the most jaw-dropping part of the whole website, employing language that seems like an open promise to institute some kind of police state.
The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration.
The United States has one of the most well-armed, militarized police forces of any country whose police force isn’t an actual arm of their military. It jails a higher proportion of its population than almost any other country on the planet, and its people tend toward a harsh, if not bloodthirsty attitude to crime and punishment.
The US does not need to be tougher on crime. It needs to focus on reducing crime before it happens, instead of vindictively punishing felons after the fact.
The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.
And then we come to this, which is actively terrifying.
How, pray tell, does Trump intend to stop people from not liking the police? Making it illegal to criticize police officers? Banning Black Lives Matter protests?
Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter.
What’s the difference between those three things and citizens engaging in protest? Do you think Trump can tell the difference? Do you think he cares?
In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent.
This is not actually true.
If Trump wants to reduce police officer deaths–which is of course perfectly reasonable–then shouldn’t he want to reduce the number of guns flooding the country’s streets? After all, in America as it currently stands any routine robbery or even traffic stop can turn into a life or death situation if the citizen involved happens to be carrying a gun. This both puts police officers in danger and encourages them to over-rely on deadly force, gunning down innocent people who they perceive as a threat in the heat of the moment. Surely it would be to everyone’s advantage to end this by
Supporting law enforcement means supporting our citizens’ ability to protect themselves. We will uphold Americans’ Second Amendment rights at every level of our judicial system.
Nope. The vicious cycle continues: Americans will arm themselves in response to perceived danger, thus increasing the danger they think they’re preventing.
President Trump is committed to building a border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities.
Yes, he’s still going on about this.
That was all pretty downbeat and pessimistic, so please enjoy this GIF of a neo-nazi getting punched in the face.