President Barack Obama soared to the top of the political sphere with positive affirmations and a conciliatory attitude that sought to reconcile red and blue America. Trump, by contrast, ascended to the presidency with divisive rhetoric and bombast.
Let’s be honest, Donald Trump has had a long contentious history with the minority community, most notable among his offenses being his discriminatory housing practices and condemnation of the Central Park five. So when Trump started questioning then president Obama’s birth certificate we knew it wasn’t out of civic responsibility. No. We saw it for what it was–a thinly veiled ploy to color the first black president as illegitimate. That single, unfounded assertion raised Trump’s political profile. Of course, Obama would get his revenge at the White House correspondence dinner–but that drubbing may or may not have contributed to Trumps decision to run for the White House.
Whatever the case, The Donald threw his hat into the ring and what followed was the most cringe worthy campaigns in modern history. One that would devolve into a type of petty no one had seen at the presidential stage.
Trump would continue to throw shots at the president’s foreign and domestic policy, which is well within his rights, but the way he did it, questioning Obama’s fealty to the country, was deplorable. The implication was that Obama’s real allegiance is to some ominous Muslim cause–even going as far as to say Obama was the founder of Isis. Reinforcing this alt-right notion that then President Obama was an outsider, or un-American while further stoking fears among a lot of conservatives who saw the first black president as being representative of the demographic shift in the nation. To this day, a significant number of republicans question Obama’s religion.
So here we are. Trump’s platitudes and inflammatory rhetoric managed to strike a nerve with enough white men and women in the big swing states–along with some 3rd party help–to beat out Hillary in the Electoral College count. She would ultimately win the popular vote by close to 3 million, a sore point for Trump who has continually blamed his popular vote loss on voter fraud and has talked about launching an investigation.
Looking to completely upend Obama’s signature legislation, Trump took a step towards one of his biggest campaign promises, repeal of the Affordable Care Act, by signing a vague executive order. He’s building a wall along the Mexican border; proposing a ban on immigrants and refugees from predominantly Muslim countries and an ominous tweet threatening to send troops into Chicago.
He’s also flirting with the idea of reinstating black site prisons.
The Trump administration has put a gag order on the EPA, in an effort to silence climate change scientists. Nominated former Exxon head, Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State and then signed an executive order to allow the Keystone and DAPL pipelines to commence construction.
If the first few days are any indication, Trump is moving fast to institute sweeping changes that will most certainly affect how the world views us and how we see ourselves as a country. As a result, activists on the left have galvanized early. The Women’s March dwarfed the amount of people attending Trump’s inauguration. Trump caught feelings, leading him to make another, outlandish and easily refutable declaration that his was the most viewed inauguration of all times.
This is shaping up to be a tumultuous tenure that will benefit very few. Resist.
What are your thoughts?
Words by Darnell Wilburn.
Photo courtesy of NBC News.