OPINION – The Trump campaign and incipient presidency has been surrounded by controversy. Donald Trump in the first presidential debate with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was accused of not paying federal taxes. Trump also early in 2016 exhibited great trepidation in renouncing an endorsement made by former Klu Klux Klan member David Duke. The business ethics of Donald Trump has come under very close scrutiny as well. The current POTUS would often cite his business acumen as being indicative of his leadership, analytical nature, and integrity.
Yet, his actual history would prove contradictory to claims made on the campaign trail. The failed Trump University has Trump under two class action lawsuits in California and a 40 million dollar lawsuit in New York. Donald Trump has filed numerous bankruptcies due to failed Casinos because of unscrupulous business practices. In lieu of such a checkered past (at least for a potential president) he managed to secure the Republican nomination going on to defeat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. The question is, “How Do We Respond to Trumpism” in the age of the millennial generation? The concerns about his presidency and various executive orders grow daily.
Donald Trump used populist and anti-establishment rhetoric to galvanize many who were disenfranchised with the current system to rally behind him. Donald Trump ran his campaign on a platform that seems to erode many progressive policies germane to women’s rights. As of January 23, 2017, according to cnn.com President Trump has signed an executive order issuing a global gag rule against individuals and organizations who receive federal funding discussing abortions.
Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been very candid about their anti-abortion rhetoric. A successful implementation of a policy that would forbid abortions would go against the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision made by the U.S Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade protected a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. As a Congressman in 2011 Mike Pence introduced a bill which would ban federal funding for Planned Parenthood. His anti-abortion stance coupled with President Trump’s unyielding misogynistic comments produced an angst which culminated in the “Woman’s March” in various cities after Trump’s inauguration.
Donald Trump was able to appeal to the bigotry, xenophobia, and misogynistic views that are prevalent in the extreme right. The concept of wealthy legislators and politicians manipulating the poor for votes and the consolidation of power is nothing new. Bacons Rebellion in 1676 was a rebellion which has enslaved Africans and European indentured servants attempted to overthrow the governor (Sir William Berkeley) of Virginia. This rebellion showed that a united lower class of white and black was possible to form a coup d’etat against the establishment. The angst and discontent of the European peasantry needed to be guided into the concept of “Whitness”. Over the past 341 years the concept of “whiteness” has been used to juxtapose against people of African descent. Thereby producing a perceived permanent underclass in America where white Americans could be deluded into the idea of race. Thus, allowing politicians and lawmakers to exploit their (white vote) for monetary and corporate gain without having to give much back in return. Donald Trump has continued this tradition of appealing to “whiteness” and the narrative of bigotry and discrimination.
The inane executive orders, cupidity, and appointing unqualified members to his cabinet i.e. Betsy Devos are just the beginnings of this administration. In order to combat the cacophony of misinformation put out by Trump millennials must exploit various forms of social media. In 2011 when the people of Egypt spoke out and protested the corrupt regime of Hosni Mubarak Facebook was a vital tool. Many protesters were able to let the world know what was going on in Egypt circumventing mainstream networks. This was a tool that wasn’t available in the 1919 Egyptian Revolution against the British. It’s absolutely imperative that we use the free flow of social media to exchange various articles about the asinine policies of Donald Trump.
As millennials we have a much stronger voice than many generations that came before us. The advent of blogs, social media, YouTube, and independent news allows unbiased information to counter propaganda and “alternative facts”. Our generation has to become more involved in the electoral process in our various local municipalities. Millennials are very much present in the presidential elections, but many aren’t as informed or concerned with the primaries. Millennials have the potential to be the catalyst for a paradigm shift in the American political system. We can abet in making sure officials are elected that represent the needs of every American and not just one constituency.
How will history remember us (millennials) and how we responded in the face of tyranny and conscious ignorance? Will we be the generation who sat on the periphery under a President whose policies were counterproductive to most Americans? Or will we be the generation that inculcates the tenets of liberty, respect, and an agape love to both Americans and non-Americans? The onus falls on us as millennials to use our voice in the form of protests, voting, and education to point out the nefarious nature of this administration.
by Hoyt Kwaku Timmons
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