By: Nicole Lashomb*/Editor-in-Chief—
Through trial and triumphs, 2017 brought us highs and lows like never experienced in U.S. modern history, starting with the presidential inauguration of egomaniac and alleged sexual predator Donald Trump. As the year unfolded, we learned that his presidency was even more dangerous than previously anticipated by many as he actively sought to strip away rights from Americans from nearly all backgrounds, diverse populations and those most marginalized.
In opposition response, we saw an immense resistance movement to his presidency that still continues into 2018. On the very day of the January 21, 2017 inauguration, more than 5 million marchers took to the streets to raise the voice of women, who were and have been under attack by the current administration. The “pu$$y hat” was created, worn and touted by millions of marchers in response to Trump’s encouragement and gloating of his own sexual assault on women. That was just the start of it all.
Despite multiple attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), the efforts were in vain. However, it cannot be ignored that millions of tax-payer dollars were spent relentlessly in an attempt to satisfy the ego of the insatiable Commander-in-Chief while he desperately tried to strip away one of the hallmarks of President Obama’s legacy and leave millions of Americans without reasonable access to healthcare coverage, again. Ultimately, he and his Washington cronies failed.
Trans Military Ban
In the direct line of repeated fire was the transgender community, whose members actively serve in the military at disproportionately higher numbers when compared to their counterparts. When Trump announced the Transgender Military Ban, the country went on firestorm in support of transgender service members. The fight ensued for months but the resistance was relentless to not allow trans service members be dismissed from their posts and excluded from defending the United States due to gender identity. After allowing transgender troops to openly serve in the military for a year prior and under President Obama’s direction, to strip the courageous decision to serve away from the community was reckless, discriminatory vile and reprehensible. The courts found so too and in ruling after ruling, Trump lost. As of January 1, 2018, transgender service members will have the right to enlist openly.
Muslim Travel Ban
Just days after taking office, Trump signed an Executive Order banning immigration from seven primarily Muslim nations and indefinitely blocked Syrian refugees from seeking asylum and LGBT rights organizations jumped in, in fierce opposition, reported The Rainbow Times.
“President Trump’s attacks on immigrants and refugees are a direct assault on America’s most fundamental values,” said HRC President Chad Griffin via a statement. “Donald Trump’s unjust and unconscionable executive orders make life more dangerous for countless LGBTQ people, and could equal a death sentence for those trying to escape violence and persecution from places such as Syria. No wall, no matter how high, can block America’s promise of liberty and justice for all.”
After several court battles and rulings, marches and protests, the U.S. Supreme Court wiped out the ban. And, Trump’s tactics failed again.
Religious Exemption Executive Order
A directive that has worried many in the LGBTQ community and women in general reared its ugly head in May 2017. “Trump, with the stroke of his pen, put into motion that executive order promoting ‘Free Speech and Religious Liberty,’ which weakens the wall between church and state and allows employers to use religious belief as a reason to deny preventive health care coverage to their employees,” The Rainbow Times reported.
With civil rights organizations springing into action from the time the pen slid across the paper, Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, said that “the executive order signed today is yet another horrifying example of this administration’s disrespect for women,” read her statement. “To be clear, the Trump administration is resorting to executive action to roll back equity in reproductive health care because the American people overwhelmingly support women’s access to full bodily autonomy. Those who would be most harmed are the communities already under constant attack from this administration—women, LGBTQ people, and people with low incomes.”
This order jeopardizes the health and wellness of virtually every group and would give employers control over the health and wellness of their employees. Essentially it is a license to discriminate.
“It also exempts private employers from offering their employees many forms of reproductive health care mandated by the Affordable Care Act based on religious beliefs,” said MassEquality’s Executive Director, Deborah Shields, JD, MPH, as reported by The Rainbow Times. “This could lead to the loss of insurance coverage for common types of preventive care such as contraception, vaccines against HPV and other STDs, and possibly for family-building technologies such as assisted reproduction. It could also open the door to denying coverage for PrEP and other HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment medications, and even lead to LGBTQ people being refused medical treatment or access to preventive care such as cancer screenings and mammograms.”
In November 2017, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined 18 other attorneys general in defending the constitutionality of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, arguing that a business owner’s personal held beliefs cannot be used as a justification to discriminate against customers—a commonly used strategy by others who assert the “religious freedoms” claim.
“More than 50 years after we desegregated lunch counters in this country, businesses cannot pick and choose which customers they’ll serve based on their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation,” said AG Healey in a report published by The Rainbow Times. “We are filing this brief to stand up for the rights of all Americans to fair and equal treatment.”
Quite literally, under this administration, the federal government is doing and supporting all it can to ensure benefits and protections for some Americans but not all, especially if you belong to a group outside of its convoluted definition of deserving, which serves as a catalyst to ignite hate.
Don’t believe that … it’s fake news! Anytime that Trump doesn’t like something that a report or televised segment has revealed about him or those in his inner circle like Putin, he calls it fake news—even when it’s not. Though we all should have learned what fake news is by now, the problem is those that blindly follow Trump have been fooled into believing America’s great conman, again. In a culture saturated with blogs, social media and self-reporting, which doesn’t have the same level of integrity that journalism does, many of the general public does not educate themselves properly on credible sources or a run of the mill blog. My hope for 2018 is that people will empower themselves with truth and indisputable information through credible websites, publications and news sources.
Calling media outlets like CNN, the New York Times (NYT), MSNBC, NBC and reputable journalists “fake news” is like calling Putin an ally to the United States. Journalists have rigorous standards and guidelines to follow in order to uphold the journalistic integrity—not to mention to avoid lawsuits and libel. Anytime that Trump shouts “fake news,” you can likely be assured it is not. Which leads me to Trump’s year-end interview with the New York Times (NYT), where his omnipotent delusion is evident. Echoing pompous grandeur throughout, his “Trump brand” continues to be built on outright lies and manipulation, and expecting others to blindly follow suit.
NYT Year-End Interview
According to CNBC, “what made the president’s year-end New York Times interview notable was repetition of a particular brand of untruth,” its website read. “Even as his administration struggles with historic unpopularity and extraordinary dysfunction, Trump ascribes to himself qualities that surpass all predecessors—even reigning Republican icon Ronald Reagan.”
At the beginning of his term, Trump’s cheerleaders often defaulted to the sound byte that he needed to “learn the ropes” since he isn’t a standard politician—always a safe bet for the highest office in the country. I’ve grown accustomed to such non-sensorial commentary from the Trump camp and I assume many of you have too. Yet, in just a year, we find ourselves in the midst of a petulant Twitter rampage between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, lending itself to a potential catastrophic nuclear arsenal discharge. Then, there is the ongoing scandal of collusion between Trump’s inner circle, campaign members, cabinet officials and Russia with links to the Kremlin and Putin. Under Trump’s direction, the U.S. has lost credibility around the world even requiring the United Nations to step in at times to literally discredit and protect the planet from Trump’s careless, cantankerous and delusional actions.
This administration has lowest presidential approval rating in history , hovering around 35 percent, with the country being heavily divided between those in power and those not. As time continues, it has proven to be undoubtedly clear that we have a madman-in-chief that could care less about the American people so long as he creates division among us, while lining his pockets and those of his family and friends. The most recent “tax-cut” is evidence of that, which temporarily cuts taxes for the middle class and excessively and disproportionately cuts taxes for corporations indefinitely.
In the NYT interview, Trump contributed his defeat of Hillary Clinton to his skill in overcoming the Electoral College, which favors democrats. Yet, that is a blatant lie. The Electoral College is constructed by a system in which gerrymandering favors Republican candidates, making it nearly impossible for a Democrat to win in some districts. Though once in place to prevent a tyrant from assuming the Oval Office, it provides the possibility for the loser of the popular vote—Trump in this case—to still “win” the presidency. Thankfully, President Obama and his post-presidency machine are working hard on redistricting so that gerrymandering’s grip is lessened.
Trump also insisted that he has been absolved of collusion with Russia on election interference. In the interview he said, “I think it’s all worked out because frankly there is absolutely no collusion, that’s been proven by every Democrat is saying it.” Clearly, not true and the logic is hard to follow given the incoherent statement. Nonetheless, the investigation is ongoing.
Likewise, Trump asserts that he can do whatever he wants with the Justice Department. But, the reality is that he cannot. Either he does not understand the different branches of government and their functions or he expects people to believe him without questioning. However, you would think that the massive opposition he has received would have enlightened him ever so slightly. However, it only causes him to double and triple down on the con of the day.
Trump’s delusion is further amplified when he claimed that Republicans in Congress “love him.” Republicans such as John McCain have outwardly tangoed with Trump on issues like healthcare. Trump’s repeal and replace “Obamacare” failed miserably, yet he still credits himself for “winning over Republicans.”
According to CNBC, he claimed he has an “understanding of public policy superior to any president in American history,” read the report. “I know the details of taxes … better than the greatest CPA;” and of health care system, “better than most.” Oxymoronic in nature, just seconds later he said, “millions of people are joining” his health plan. This is an impossible claim since he was never able to implement any type of directive relating to healthcare.
Trump’s repeated crash and burn policies have made it evident that he has no clue what he is doing and doesn’t care to know better. At very best, he is a manipulative sexually assaulting entertainment hog that has learned how to prey on and con the most ignorant among us for his own gain and his own gain alone. He is a disaster and is taking the United States down with him.
“I’m going to win another four years,” Trump said to the NYT while attributing such inevitability to the alternative fact that “newspapers, television, [and] all forms of media will tank” if he is not there. “Because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes,” he exclaimed.
And the resistance continues. Carry on …
*Nicole Lashomb is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of The Rainbow Times. Nicole holds an MBA from Marylhurst University and a Bachelor of Music from the Crane School of Music (SUNY-Potsdam). The editor can be reached here.