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It's Time for War

A week ago Donald Trump was still all talk. Even his inaugural speech was just a speech. It painted the country in dark colors and trashed the political establishment, but that was just part of President Trump’s tendency to treat every opportunity to give a speech as another campaign moment, even after he won the election. A week later we are faced with actions. He hasn’t stopped talking or producing campaign-like speeches, but he has signed numerous Presidential Orders and given us glimpses of several more to come.

Many of Trump’s actions represent the fulfillment of campaign promises and are cheered by his supporters. For those of us who oppose them, they are the price we pay for our candidate losing the election. Many of his actions represent orthodox Republican political philosophy. Instructing the EPA to freeze implementation of new regulations pending their review and barring staff from awarding any new grants or contracts was music to the ears of Republicans who believe that the agency has overstepped its mandate in the way it regulates American industry and land development. Removing barriers to restarting construction on the Keystone XL and Dakota Pipelines was disappointing to  environmentalists and Native Americans, but pleasing to industrialists, the oil industry and most Republicans. “Easing the burdens of the Affordable Care Act” by allowing waivers from any ACA regulations that can be waived without violating the law, which was the substance of another Presidential Order, is another moved hailed as a victory by conservative, if not all, Republicans. The Presidential Order to move forward on building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico was Trump’s most famous promise and he is fulfilling it. The reinstatement of the so-called “Mexico City Policy” prohibiting funding of foreign NGOs that provide abortion or abortion counseling is so hard-core Republican that it has been instituted by Reagan, Bush I and Bush II and suspended by Clinton and Obama.

But these mainstream, or at least conservative Republican steps are not all that Trump has done since beginning his presidency. In addition to freezing regulations and grants from the EPA, he ordered them to stop communicating with the public, an order he also gave to the National Park Service after they posted a photo showing that his inaugural crowd size was smaller than Obama’s in 2009. In initiating the planning for constructing a wall between the U.S. an Mexico, he insisted that Mexico would pay for it, and when the Mexican president said he wouldn’t, President Trump tweeted that he might as well then not come to Washington for their scheduled meeting. President Nieto of Mexico promptly canceled the meeting. Contained in the Presidential Order related to immigration and the wall was the threat to cut federal funding to so-called “Sanctuary Cities.” Today, he is expected to sign an order prohibiting acceptance of refugees from Syria for the foreseeable future and suspending admission of refugees or other immigrants from countries whose citizens could pose a threat to the U.S., i.e. are primarily Muslims. Exceptions may be made for members of “minority religions” in such countries, who may be subject to persecution, e.g. Christians and others, but not for Muslims (who are the main victims of violence, persecution and intimidation by either sectarian governments or sectarian rebels in the Middle East).

In addition to the actual orders and directives President Trump has issued over the past week, there is the issue of his and his administration’s style. In his meeting with business leaders he told them that if they manufacture their products outside of the United States and import them for sale here, he will levy a very high import tax on them. He implied that his stance is non-negotiable. His tone with Mexico was that of a bully laying down the rules for a lesser nation to follow or suffer the consequences. Then there are the outright lies, the insinuations, and his treatment of the press. There was, of course the debate about the crowd size at the inauguration—a useless debate about an unimportant issue that was pursued by Trump, his press secretary and his advisors, who made demonstrably false claims in front of the whole country. This was followed by Trump claiming that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election and calling for an investigation into voting irregularities, despite no credible evidence that such massive voter fraud exists. And finally, there has been a resurgence of the issue of torture and the use of CIA “black sites” for holding and interrogating detainees outside of the U.S. Although President Trump has said he will defer to his new Defense Secretary’s recommendation that torture should not be reinstated, he has insisted that he believes otherwise and, were he not listening to his new appointee, he would recommend the use of torture, or “fighting fire with fire.” Torture, including waterboarding, is of course illegal both by U.S. law and by international law.

When media reports reveal Trump’s lies or even when they simply disagree with him, he attacks the media. In front of the CIA, he claimed that the media manufactured stories of his distrust of the intelligence community, although the evidence was right there in his tweets, and that their lies about the size of the crowd at the inauguration were “beauties.” His Chief Strategist, Stephen Bannon, told the New York Times that the media should “be humiliated and embarrassed and keep its mouth shut,” labeling the media as “the opposition party.”

We elected a Republican as our new president. To not expect him to act like a Republican would be silly.  At least half of the country, perhaps more, don’t support Republican values or policies, so we’re going to have a lot of disgruntled people with a Republican president. But that’s politics and that’s part of the traditional democratic process in our country. What is not part of the traditional democratic process is blacking out government agency communications with the public, threatening businesses and our neighboring countries, using religion—in the guise of geography—to decide who gets to come to the U.S. and who doesn’t, using federal funds as a tool to demand submission of cities or states to the presidential will, lying to the American public, attacking the media for reporting the truth, or lending support for illegal actions such as torture. The Trump administration is behaving like an authoritarian dictator in these early days of the Trump presidency. Many of the policies and a lot more of the sentiments and opinions espoused by the new president and his advisors are dangerous. They violate not just political and diplomatic decorum, but also decency, honesty, and American values such as the value of a free press, free speech and freedom from religious persecution.

We’ve now seen the direction President Trump is going, it’s time to fight back to preserve our values and our freedom.


Reader Comments (6)

I agree with you, Casey, and, as you know, I saw this coming. We need to work every day to resist this attempt to destroy democracy.

January 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnca Vlasopolos

Agreed, agreed. It really does feel like the beginning of a totalitarian regime. The entire world has been laid on the dinner plate of a sociopath. Tempted to take bets that he starts bombing next week. Because you know he's like a kid with a new car who has to test all the controls. All he ever wanted was everything and now he has it. The entire world has to worry about his instability on an hour by hour basis. I watch CNN's New Day because Chris Cuomo has him down and knows his mind, pushes his buttons. Every day the tweets from Narcissism Central come swiftly in response to New Day, although T. pretends he only watches Fox News. It's only a (short) matter of time until the cities explode with indignation. And who will pay the price? Innocents, not the would-be dictator. I honestly can't remember a single day where he didn't lie. And when they told him that his hero Putin kills journalists (during the campaign) he blandly replied, "Well, you gotta do what you gotta do."

January 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Keckler

Thanks, Casey. Brave words. This is a wake up call for liberals, but is it too late?

January 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLucy Wilson

Casey, wonderful rebuttal to our federal dictator. "It is time for war." I am glad to be living in California where the state government is ready to Resist.

January 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSara Murrieta

Well spoken, my teacher. Thank you.

January 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRichar Ettelson

Goodness gracious, please try and remove your head from the MSM echo chamber and get a grip.You're repeating the same out-of-context, partial quoting nonsense that has royally screwed things up for the left over the past two years.

Let me ask you two things regarding illegal votes: How many people are living in this country illegally and what percentage of those people voted? I guarantee you won't even hazard to put forth an educated, common-sense working theory.

January 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Wheeler

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