It has begun. As Donald J. Trump stepped up to the podium to take the oath of office the rain began to fall. The darkness officially descended at high noon on Friday, January 20th, 2017 as Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
Trump’s speech was identical to those he gave on the campaign trail, rather than take the opportunity to heal divisions. Trump’s message to Americans and the world was a reflection of the same populist and nativist vision that made him president. Pundits have watched and waited for Trump to become presidential, but the promised pivot never occurred and if the inauguration is any indication, it never will.
As has been repeatedly said by his surrogates, “Trump is Trump” and anyone who is offended by racism and misogyny knows that Trump being Trump is not a good thing. Trump took an oath he will not be able to keep, but those who believe in freedom and reason have also made a pledge. They have promised to stand up and speak truth to power, they have pledged to expose the subterfuge of the incoming administration and defend progress, our planet, and the future.
The mood in the country could not be more different from the optimism that defined President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Many Americans marked the inauguration by protesting in cities all across the country. The first big post-inaugural protest will take place on Saturday, January 21 as women and their supporters are scheduled to march in Washington D.C.
The disdain for Trump is unprecedented for a new commander and chief. Hollywood dispises Trump as do musicians. Trump had a lot of trouble finding acts to perform at the inauguration. The one band that he had left (the East Street Band), pulled out at the last minute and many Washington restaurants are donating some of their inauguration day profits to charities opposed by Trump.
The president is widely despised because of what he has said and done, not because he is a Republican. Before the election many if not most well-known Republicans stood against him. In their hearts, good people know that Trump stands for all that is wrong with Amerca. This is not speculation about what he may do this is a matter of public record. He represents a vision of the country that is morally evil, politically divisive and flawed.
That is why civil rights pioneer John Lewis, led at least 60 lawmakers in a boycott of Trump’s inauguration. For a summary of reasons why legislators boycotted click here.
There are good reasons why people are protesting that transcend partisan politics. This is not like the protests against President Obama that were fueled by strident partisanship, racism, and lies about his citizenship. Those who oppose Trump are patriots who see him and his administration as a threat to reason, decency, and democracy.
People are rightly afraid of Trump and Republican control of the House and the Senate. Most, even those that oppose Trump do not fully appreciate the gravity of what his administration will do. It is not mere partisanship that compels many to stand up and oppose this president, it is fear of the harm he will perpetrate through the execution of his dark agenda.
We need to take stock of Trump’s promise to dismantle the EPA, kill Paris Climate Agreement and end America’s contribution to the Green Climate Fund. Trump’s administration includes corporate raiders who will oversee the economy and climate deniers who will gut regulations. The fossil fuel industry which is at the core of our climate crisis, will set the foreign policy agenda and ratchet up extraction.
This is not a normal presidency and Trump is not a normal president. Now is not the time for dreamy-eyed optimism and platitudes about peaceful transitions of power. Unless you are part of the wealthiest 1 percent or connected to the fossil fuel industry you cannot reasonably pretend that any benefits will come from this administration. This is the dark night of the soul for America’s democracy.
Those who voted for him will rue their decision and the majority of Americans who did not vote for him will suffer along with them. Opposition to the coming dystopia may one day unite the country and depose him.
Americans need to ask themselves if they want polluted air and water, they must ask themselves if they want to condemn their children to a climate apocalypse. Perhaps the most important question they must ask themselves is whether they will suffer in silence or allow their voices to be heard.
In his oath of office, Trump promised to “protect and defend” the Constitution. He also repeatedly referred to this being a victory for the American people, saying this day belongs them. Let us hope that everyone, Democrats, Republicans, and independents, hold him accountable.
The most hopeful vision of this tragic event was offered by now former President Obama when he said at Andrews Airforce Base just after the inauguration: “This is just a pit stop…a comma not a period…To all who have put your heart and souls…making sure we left a planet that is safe for our kids…for all of you who have done the hard work…we could not be prouder. … I can’t wait to see what happens next and we will be right there with you.”
Global Warning 2017: Combating the Dystopia of the Trump Administration
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Trump and the Darkness of Post-Factual Media
The Coming Darkness: What the Election of Trump Means for our Planet
What the Election of Tump Means for Our Planet
The Implications of the Trump Administration’s Disdain for Science
The Trump Administration and the Coming Kakistocracy
Facing the Truth About What A Trump Administration Means for Climate Action
Trump’s Denial of Reality Makes Him Putin’s Puppet (Videos)