By Bruce A. Smith
As the country ends its first week as Donald Trump as President-elect, fears of the coming Trump administration remain and the protests continue. Adding to this tension is the realization that the Republican Party now controls all forms of the national government, and two-thirds of the governorships. The combination frightens progressives to their core, so the question pressing upon the minds of many is: what will happen and when.
The simple answer is that the Republicans will probably pursue their long-stated goals of small government and ultra-conservative social agendas. Hard-core Republican beliefs seems to be mostly supported by Trump’s public positions, so it is possible that many social advancements will be rolled-back.
Obamacare is certainly on the chopping block. Other social entitlement programs, such as Medicaid may be reduced.
In addition, Trump confirmed on “Sixty Minutes” today that his administration will round up at least two-million illegal immigrants, and possibly three in the initial phase of addressing the immigration issue. Trump says he will start with “criminals,” but presumably these individuals and their families will be deported, possibly including the American-born children of the parents despite the fact that these children are American citizens.
It seems likely that Muslim immigration will be non-existent. Data bases will be established for all immigrants, and Muslim-Americans already in-country will have to register regularly, as confirmed by Kellyanne Connolly, Trump’s campaign chief. We will probably have Muslims signing in with the government to do anything, such as sending their kids to school, applying for a drivers license, receiving social services, etc. Trump has specifically stated that the government will monitor mosques.
We’ll see a lot of federal soldiers with rifles on their shoulders on street corners all over the US. We will look like Israel – locked and loaded.
Once Trump appoints a new Supreme Court justice, presumably a conservative judge as he has stated, it is fair to assume that many recent rulings will be modified or reversed. The right to same-sex marriage could end. The right to have any kind of abortion within the Roe v Wade guidelines might be terminated. The military may re-institute discriminatory policies against homosexuals and transgender people, harking back to the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” days.
Other kinds of changes may befall the people and businesses of the so-called Blue States that did not vote for Trump. MSN is reporting that certain business that are synchronistic to a progressive lifestyle, or geography, such as Amazon—the huge retail giant based in Seattle—may find their stock value plummet. MSN claimed that Amazon’s stock fell 7 percent this past week.
Others, such as Michael Moore on the “Morning Joe” talk show, fear that the United States will begin to experience a Brain Drain, as smart, ambitious foreign-born entrepreneurs move away to protect themselves from repressive policies, such as possible deportation or unwanted restrictions on family members joining them here. In addition, potential geniuses who could advance this country might choose another country, such as Germany, to follow their entrepreneurial dreams.
The small-government ideology of the Republicans could significantly reduce federal block grants to the states. This would dramatically reduce monies coming into state coffers for education, transportation, especially Amtrak, and infrastructure, policing and security issues, and the environment, such as the recent Cascadian Rising earthquake response program headed by FEMA.
They would also reduce federally-subsidized state-run programs, such as food stamps and free-lunch programs in the schools, low-cost medications, and medical transportation, such as Paratransit services.
The absence of these federal block grants to the Blue States will transform these lands, and seemingly cripple their ability to be free of Trump. Currently, officials in California are composing a “Calexit” referendum to facilitate a secession from the United States. Although widely seen as a ploy to demonstrate resistance to Trump it is very popular, and Oregon officials are saying that they are considering a similar proposal there as well. Many are thinking along parallel lines in Washington State.
A Republican majority that is unrestrained by any Democratic opposition could decimate the federal government as we know it. As stated many times during the presidential debates, the Republicans want to dissolve the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Education.
If that occurs, the Paris accords will be torn up. This global agreement is the planet’s best chance to limit carbon emissions and blunt the worst impacts of climate change. Further, the EPA will likely be gutted, along with the many protections our wildlife and lands currently enjoy.
Our entire nation will be at greater risk from the vagaries of Mother Nature. Presently, the City of Miami Beach is spending $300 million to build dikes, pumping stations, and elevating the business district by three feet to protect this iconic tourist destination from rising sea levels—and all without a dime from the state government since the Floridian governor, Rick Scott, denies the reality of global climate change.
The current stand-off in North Dakota over water rights and a pipeline for fracked-based oil will probably be settled in favor of Big Oil. Other energy disputes will be resolved similarly, and the dangers of fracking and the transportation of its oil may not be addressed for a decade.
The federal Department of Education will be terminated, and complete power given to the states to control curriculum and standards. Say hello to Creationism. Say goodbye to science.
Internationally, our standing will be radically transformed. We will be out of NATO. The nuclear deal with Iran will be ripped up. Iran will have a nuke within a year or so. Then Hezbollah will have it. The possibility of a mushroom cloud somewhere nearby is real.
The wars in the Middle East could become an absolute quagmire. On one hand, Trump deplores the Iraq action launched by President George W. Bush and eased into a quasi-conclusion by President Barack Obama, but Trump has resolutely stated he will “kill” ISIS. In addition, he has indicated support for a robust US presence in the Syrian Civil War, but the wherefores and the why are not spelled out so we could quickly find ourselves in an untenable, chaotic military situation. In addition, Trump has no stated plan for Afghanistan, nor has he identified his plan for the horrific civil war in Yemen that has Saudi Arabia bombing thousands of civilians.
Ironically, the “resistance” movement is as fractured as the country as a whole. Some are angry and marching. Some of those people are turning violent. Others are encouraging the protesters to channel their frustrations into volunteering efforts. Many want to follow Senator Elizabeth Warren’s suggestion of helping Planned Parenthood stay afloat.
Michael Moore says that a nation-wide protest is being planned as a counter-demonstration to Trump’s inauguration at the latter part of January, such as on January 16th, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. That would seem like a perfect day to champion his ideals, especially in the face of such enormous threats.
Many friends and family – even readers to the Mountain News-WA – want me to shut up. They are unnerved by my stated feelings and the above projections. One of my fellow writers, a frequent contributor to the Mountain News-WA, has confessed to me that she agrees with many of the speculations I have presented but the prospects of these realities are so upsetting that she can barely function. “I have the taste of vomit in my mouth,” she told me.
She wants me to find peace. A friend and political colleague from the Ramtha School also encourages me to seek peace, and gently rebukes me for not listening to anything other than the voices of resistance. But I feel we are best served by being prepared for what might be coming our way. Perhaps the information provided on these pages might soften a blow or two.
In addition, I want the folks who voted for Trump to know what they have enabled. They may not want any of these outcomes, but they voted for the guy who is going to put them into play. On some level I feel they need to take responsibility for that. If I don’t tell them, who will, and if I don’t tell them now, when would be a better time?
As for peace, here is my perspective. It is what I wrote to my above colleague when she begged me to lighten up. It is also what I am sharing with those I care about.
“Peace is an unusual state of mind. Sometimes it comes from the absence of worry or need. But that kind of peace is fickle – often fleeting and brief.
“Deeper peace comes from clarity. Peace of the longer lasting kind comes from resolution. True peace comes from commitment to a worthy cause. So, the kind of real peace we seek these days is not the absence of tension about the Trump administration or fear of what the Republicans will do. Rather, I believe our greatest peace will come from holding a vision that sees our way through the difficulties.
“When I started writing for the Pierce County Dispatch on the slime I found in local politics, my anxiety level went through the roof. Even Matt Hamilton, the chairman of the local Republican Party, when he saw me walk through the door to his monthly meeting said, ‘Wow, you’re still alive?’ But I felt fine and smiled, ‘Yup. Still here.’
“I got to that state of mind in several ways. One was an active meditation where I walk up and down my driveway late at night and speak softly about what I want. Those days I wanted to be free of the fear. So, I walked it. Over time, I realized that I could write from a peaceful place—an inner place that I choose to live in—and secure in knowing that if others wanted to kill me, imprison me, or do whatever nasty stuff the government can do to journalists, then they might do it, but I wasn’t going to anticipate it, fear it, or give it any energy. I didn’t ignore it, I simply didn’t feed it. I said, ‘If other want to take me out, then that is their choice. It is not mine. I don’t have a death wish. I just want to live free.’ I felt totally restored.
“The second aspect is resolving the question: what happens if they do take me out. If they kill me, torture me, or throw me in a FEMA camp, then what? To me, life goes on, just in another form. I think I am much less afraid of dying than most people. That is one of the benefits of believing in re-incarnation. You Just Can’t Kill Me! I will always live—somewhere, somehow. I am eternal.”
And so are you.