Three months. That’s how long I give the United States before events spiral completely out of control if President Donald Trump has his way.
As we watched the newsfeeds the train wreck not only continued, it sped up.
Each day as a new executive order and new revelations about Trump’s direction came to light it seemed to get worse.
Starting the ball rolling were the antics of press secretary Sean Spicer who treated the press like a child in a press briefing. His attitude, while unnerving in its brash and combative nature – ruining any chance at positive relations with national media in a five-minute tirade – should raise concerns about what’s going on behind the scenes.
There’s one way to distract a person from the real issue during an argument, and that is to insult them right where it hurts. Anyone skilled in the art of deflection, President Trump is a master, will find that sore spot, pour some salt on it and then press on it for good measure.
Spicer’s theatrics were major news and with his lies came a serious sentiment of distrust in Trump and his people. It’s impossible to look at anything that comes out of the Trump administration without skepticism.
Deflection and gaslighting, that is how the leader of the so-called free world has chosen his first days in office to look like. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where a person sows the seeds of doubt and while Spicer’s actions were quite clearly a lie, his words put doubt in people’s minds.
When shown the true facts, the administration suggested they had “alternate facts.” How do you like that? They weren’t lying after all, their facts were just different, no less wrong, just…alternative.
Trump then pulled a Harper-esque move, putting a gag order on federal scientists. So, yeah, climate change, it doesn’t exist according to the new guy. Well, if he says so it must be true right? Turns out alternative facts win.
While people debated over the size of the inauguration crowd, Trump appears to be unable to let go of the idea that Obama’s was bigger, the president signed executive orders that appear to be drafted with little oversight or legal vetting.
The Keystone XL approval is one that looks great on paper but faces quite a few hurdles, not least among them TransCanada’s $15 billion NAFTA lawsuit against the United States government. Along with the Keystone order was the green light to continue with the Dakota Access Pipelines despite strong protests from Native Americans.
Then we have this wall on the Mexico border intended to keep people out of the country that reminds one of the war days. Things are going backwards quickly.
As unsettling as the president’s actions are on these issues the most recent immigration ban of citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, is the most egregious.
The Trump machine would have you think this ban is to protect Americans from terrorists and yet it’s quite clear who it targets, Muslims. Did you know that there are a few countries not included in the ban? Where Trump does business – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt, which are also predominantly Muslim – have been left out.
If that isn’t a conflict of interest I don’t know what is.
As insulting to millions of people as that is, what’s more disconcerting is how that order affected Muslim Americans coming into the country. The poorly ratified document created confusion and turned existing green card holders away and citizens detained.
Imagine going on vacation and now you’re not allowed in the country due to a signature from a few days ago. You’re being told by border security you will have to go back where you came from based on your religious beliefs. The stories of fear, anger and resentment unfolded on social media.
Refugees hoping to find a better home were sent packing. Diplomacy took a back seat and burned bridges that will take a long time to rebuild.
These folks were taken into small rooms and questioned without legal recourse all due to the single stroke of a pen.
This type of action doesn’t bode well for the United States or the world. Indeed, all it does is create anger among world leaders.
And for those who praise the decision – to feel some sort of protection from these “dangerous” refugees hoping to escape and create a better life – they may not realize that these actions paint the United States as a tyrannical nation. The vetting and background checks on these refugees will be greater than any checks Americans will have to face.
Did you know on the Statue of Liberty is this prominent quote: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Much has changed in the last two weeks.
Trump appears more concerned about how he looks signing documents than what this is doing to the American people. And his supporters? Eating it up.
A fire destroyed a mosque in Texas. Shooters killed Muslims praying at a mosque in Quebec. Reports of people attacking Muslim individuals are on the rise.
When challenged on these contentious issues, I’m losing track of them all, Trump and his team stand firm in their decisions. In reality contentious is too light of a term. Combative is more appropriate, hostile, dictatorial; these are perhaps better words.
Thankfully there are good people out there, fighting the good fight in an attempt to counteract these decisions. After hearing of the mosque fire, an online fundraiser collected more than $900,000 by Monday.
In the airports, lawyers are working pro bono around the clock to ensure people’s rights are protected and further legal steps are being taken.
For a country built by the hands of immigrants it is the citizens who will be the ones who shine and create impetus to change the course of the country’s history.