The Hypocrisy of the Trump Administration

Donald Trump is many things to many people. He’s a businessman or a bully; a father or a bigot; a president or a joke. But Trump is one thing above all others, and it’s hard to deny it–a hypocrite. Or a liar, whichever you prefer.

See, Donald has run a long con, and the American people (well, forty-six percent of them, anyway) were duped.  And while getting someone to admit they are wrong is a nigh-impossible task, here are a few reminders of policies that Trump ran on that don’t seem to matter now.

Presidential Disclosure

For years Trump raged on and on about President Obama’s birth certificates, backing the racist birther movement almost from the start. Here are a few tweets of his in case you’ve chosen to forget.

This was despite the fact that President Obama had, in fact, released his birth certificate not once, but twice–first via a short form in 2008 and again with the full, original certificate in 2011.

Fast forward to 2016, however, and the very moment Trump is asked to release a document that is vital to his campaign, he shuts right the hell up.  Trump, to this day, has not released his tax records, documents which could very possibly tie him to his varied and sundry conflicts of interest overseas. Even worse, he says that he’s not going to for the obviously-not-made-up reason that “people don’t care”. Mr. Trump, let me say this clearly–I care.  And I’m not alone.  If you’re so trustworthy, just release your tax records.

The Separation of Privacy

Many people will argue that one of the biggest downfalls of Hillary Clinton’s campaign was Trump’s insistence that she broke the law by keeping secure information on a private server. (Many others of us would tell you that it is her disconnect from the common American and the fact that she is representative of a status quo that we don’t support.) Time and time again he raised it as fact that Clinton had broken the law, despite the FBI clearing her name twice.

And now that the Donald sits in the Oval Office, it comes back around. Shortly after taking office, several of Trump’s most senior staff–including Bannon–were found to have private RNC accounts.  Now, this isn’t inherently illegal–as demonstrated by the FBI not finding fault in Clinton–but it causes us to raise our eyebrows in concern.  There is meant to be a clear separation between private and government e-mail accounts, as outlined in the “Disclosure Requirement for Official Business Conducted Using Electronic Messaging Accounts”.  And yet, immediately after being called to the carpet, e-mails belonging to Bannon, Kushner, and Conway were deleted.

One would think that, after slinging mud at Clinton for months over her use of a private server, Trump would have learned his lesson.  Instead, he comes off as a child, pushing Clinton’s face further into the mud.

Helping the Middle Class

One of Trump’s major running points was that he would help rebuild America’s middle class. He promised that he would do so by bringing jobs back into America, by cutting taxes on the middle class, and by focusing the economy on American jobs.

Sadly, this was little more than lip service from the Trumpster.

On literally his first day in office, Trump’s administration reversed a cut on mortgage insurance rates, which adds up to approximately $500 per year that America’s middle class is now looking at paying.

In addition to this, the proposed wall between Mexico and America that Trump has promised will cost between $15 billion and $20 billion USD.  Putting aside the fact that the majority of Americans oppose the wall, Trump has proclaimed time and time again that Mexico would pay for the wall.  After a failed conversation with Mexico’s President Nieto, it became clear that Mexico was, by no means, intending to pay for the wall.  And what was Donald’s brilliant solution? A 20% import tax on Mexican products. And guess who that import tax would most likely effect?

Give yourself a round of applause if you guessed “middle-class Americans”.

Finally–and probably most impactful on what is becoming rather like a war on the middle class–is Trump’s planned repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act.  The Act was a measure put into place in 2010 as a response to the financial collapse of 2008.  It regulated banks and made it more difficult for them to harm consumers.  Trump argues that it is an unfair law, as it disallows his friends from getting loans.  Don’t just take my word for it; here’s what Trump himself said: “We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because frankly I have so many people, friends of mine, that have nice businesses and they can’t borrow money.”

Bear in mind that most of Trump’s friends are A) multi-millionaires, and B) currently involved in American politics, either through backing of candidates, through lobbying, or by actually serving in office.  Which brings me to my next point…

Draining the Swamp

Aside from calls to “lock her up” or “build the wall”, Trump’s most famous call to action was to “drain the swamp”.  He argued (and rightly so, in this case) that Washington was filled to the brim with career politicians who were in it for the money, or those corrupted after working in a broken system.  Trump vowed that he would empty the mire and bring about a much-needed change in the heart of American politics.

Instead, he’s proven time and again that he’s looking out only for himself and those who have supported him–in most cases, these are fellow billionaires.

Take today’s big political news, for instance–Betsy DeVos was confirmed in her role as the Secretary of Education of the United States.  It is her job, now, to oversee the Department of Education in all that it handles, including setting policy for public schools, private schools, and post-secondary schools, as well as handling the trillions of dollars in student loans and grants.

And what experience does Ms. DeVos have to be the SecEd? Absolutely none.  So what does she have going for her? I’ll allow the following graphic to explain for me:

That’s right–she has money. Money is how she became involved with politics in the first place, and given her beliefs about the current education system, money is her goal moving forward.

And Betsy DeVos is just one example out of dozens of potentials.  Rex Tillerson is a fellow billionaire who is now the Secretary of State. Wilbur Ross, the Commerce nominee, is yet another billionaire.  Jeff Sessions, Steve Mnuchin, Tome Price, and Ben Carson are each worth multiple millions of dollars.

Does having money mean that these nominees are inherently bad choices for the positions? Not at all.  What I’m trying to point out is Trump’s hypocrisy at the insistence of draining a swamp which is only continuing to fill.

And yes, in DeVos’ case, having money makes her a bad choice.  Just saying.

Making America Great Again

Perhaps Trump’s greatest lie–his biggest con by far–is his campaign slogan: “Maker America Great Again”.

This is wrong on so many levels. Let me start with the simplest.

When did we suddenly stop being great? Seriously.  Can someone answer this?

I’m not saying we’ve been the greatest country in the world, but we were pretty fantastic in many cases.  We’re the land of the free, and the home of the brave.  And yes, we need to make a lot of changes, especially in regards to race, religion, and sexuality, but the fact that we can have an open discussion about the inequality is something that makes us great in the first place.

Do you know what else makes us great?

America has come to be a place of open tolerance, of acceptance of people simply for who they were.  If you don’t believe me, look at the sheer number of Super Bowl commercials that claimed “We accept you. Period.” And yes, this is pandering to the open mindset of modern America, but it works because of our open mindset.

And yet, the president of the United States is openly bullying immigrants coming to a country founded by immigrants.  That makes a lot of sense.

What makes it truly despicable is how downright unconstitutional Trump’s bullying is. It singles out seven Muslim-majority countries, and places higher allowances on Christian individuals. Fortunately, the ban has been blocked by a federal judge, and will be taken to court, where hopefully it will be smashed against the Constitution that it is doing nothing to uphold.

In Conclusion

I realise that what I’ve written may look like several pages’ worth of anti-Trump ranting, but it always comes back to one point: we the people have been lied to by the president.  Many of us have been conned, while some of us have been screaming “Liar!” all along.  Regardless of where you stood before, it’s time to open your eyes to the hypocrisy and lies that have come to define the forty-fifth president. Moving forward, I challenge you to find the truth behind the lies, to uncover fact and disbelieve fiction. Maybe then we can truly be great again–but not before.

This Is What Fear Looks Like

Today I came home from a long but productive day of work and waited for my wife to get home, as we had dinner plans.  I work about five minutes from my home, whereas it takes Ashley nearly an hour to drive home.  Needless to say, even after taking our two pups outside and changing out of my work clothes, I had some time to kill.  So I did what so many others do and decided to get caught up on the news. As I said, today was quite busy, so I was a solid twelve hours out of the loop.

Oh how I wish I could take the decision to read the news back. It was just one piece of terrifying Trump news after another.

I’m not going to lie or hide the truth. By the end of the first of three articles I pulled up, I had tears in my eyes.  They were tears of anger, tears of sadness, and most of all, tears of fear. Over the last few weeks, I have had several friends and coworkers ask me why I seemed so anxious, so irritable or disorganised.

Trump is the reason.  He is the sum of all of my fears, come to life and sitting in the President’s chair.

Some of you choose to call me a “keyboard warrior”, saying that I’ve lived a privileged life–here you’re not wrong–and that I don’t understand the fear–here you’re quite wrong. I may not be the target of Trump’s administration, but my family is.  My friends are.  My colleague and peers and coworkers are.  Hell, the earth upon which I live is a target. I fear for these people and everyone in that angry orange’s path. It’s called empathy. If you can’t understand that, you may want to reexamine your own cause.

Since Trump has taken office, he has done nothing but ramp up his antagonistic warpath.  The truly ironic bit is how many of the things that he has done are things he promised he would or wouldn’t do during his campaign.  He has lied, time and time again, and a huge portion of the American people have bought into his lies.

Even worse, his presidency is beginning to read like a “How To” book on starting a fascist regime.  He started our small, with simple lies about helping the middle class–lies that helped him get into office.  Less than twenty-four hours after taking the oath, however, he passed a law that raises property mortgage insurance rate for millions of middle-class Americans and institutes a job freeze in the federal government.

Now in power, Trump has begun to step up his game.  We’re not even a week into the term and Trump has been handing out executive order after executive order and not a word has been raised against it from within his party, despite hounding the Obama administration for eight years due to its “executive overreach”. Worse yet is how all of his orders are designed to instill fear in certain groups of people.

We’ve seen Trump sign into law plans to move forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline, despite tremendous outcry against these actions, and violating what is fairly clear property law.  We’ve seen him sign a law funding a wall between Mexico and the United States–almost 2,000 miles of concrete separating two ally countries.  At between six to eight million dollars per mile, this wall will cost the American taxpayer between $12B and $16B.  And don’t for one minute believe that Mexico is going to pay for the wall, despite all of Trump’s assurances that they will.  He has no plan to make them do so.

Trump’s administration is working to overturn healthcare for more than twenty million Americans with no plan to replace it. They have silenced the EPA and are now in the process of defunding public media and the arts.  Journalists are being arrested for simply covering riots against the Trump regime. He is putting into effect a law that will prevent immigrants fleeing wars in the Middle East, effectively banning Muslim entry into America.  He is reinstituting torture, which is a war crime under international law.

So far I’ve managed to avoid direct name-calling in my writings, but sometimes the shoe fits: Donald Trump is a monster.  And I don’t mean that metaphorically.  I’m not saying he’s some terrible human, because that’s an affront to humans everywhere.  He is a true, real, scaly monster in an orange human suit.

And he terrifies me, moreso after taking office than during his campaign.  Hopefully, he scares you as well.  His actions, again and again, have been those of a fascist. And historically speaking, fascist leaders do not lead to peace or prosperity for their countries.  They lead to war, economic depression, and civil oppression.

There are two things that offer me solace in my fear.

The first is an understanding of the motivation behind Trump’s actions, which is fairly simple: it’s fear.  He is afraid of what is different, and he is afraid of the voices that are raised against him. The difference is that his fear motivates him to hate, whereas I focus mine into activism.

The second is that there are people out there resisting. Fighting.  Not giving in to their fear.  Showing the rest of the world that we as a people are not entirely lost.

To the NPS Rogues and the Badasslands staff, to the 2.9 million Marchers, to Seattle and every other Welcome City, thank you. Fight the good fight. I’m with you.