Sadly, the Trump administration adds unnecessary daily stressors to already frazzled lives.
GUN VIOLENCE–We have once again witnessed the horror of gun violence in the massacre of over two dozen people as they worshiped in their Texas church. Almost half were children. These stories of mass shootings unfold on a regular basis, and the response from our leaders is to send “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their loved ones. ENOUGH! In data collected from the CDC and FBI, the five year average (2011-15) of deaths from gun violence in this country is 93 per day. It’s time for action. We as a country have the ability to dramatically reduce these needless deaths, yet our “leaders” fail to lead to take meaningful action.
PROMISES OF TAX CUTS (for the wealthiest)–The Republican leadership in Congress promises that money will flow into the hands of working Americans as a result of their tax reform proposal. They fail to mention the minuscule amount that working people will receive and the massive tax cuts that will benefit the wealthiest. They fail to note the trillion dollar deficit that will result or how this tax “reform” will harm social programs that benefit the most vulnerable. It pays to be wealthy in America, and the Republican-led Congress wants it to pay a lot more.
COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA–The lies that have been told by this President and his cronies about collusion with Russia during the election are legion. Indictments are being issued, and it is likely that many more will be served as the investigation continues. Trump’s ego had to see him succeed in being elected, and it appears that there was no measure too low to take in ensuring that it would happen. The Russian interference in our election process is horrific in so many ways; the fact that high-ranking members of Trump’s campaign appear to have colluded is worse. It will be sadly interesting to see how far-reaching the indictments go.
SABOTAGING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT–Congress was unable to “repeal and replace” the ACA, so President You-Know-Who sabotaged the plan by declaring that the government will not pay the subsidies that are integral to the plan’s success in providing health coverage to those who need it most. The subsidies are a part of the law, which the president is breaking. This single action will result in millions of people who will be unable to afford health insurance.
So many of the debacles of this administration cause harm to the American people: We are being told that the news is “fake” whenever it is critical of the president’s actions. We see neighbors and friends threatened with deportation. We see an isolationist administration unwilling to cooperate with the rest of the world’s nations to accomplish common goals. We face the rollback of LGBT rights, the decimation of clean energy regulations, the dismantling of the EPA, a ban on Muslims entering the country, an increasing shift of wealth from the 99% to the 1%. Due to Trump’s bravado, ego, and lack of self-control, are witnessing an increasing possibility of nuclear war with North Korea, which could result in a world-wide conflagration.
Just this morning, Syria announced that it would join the Paris Climate Accord, leaving the United States as the only country on the “outside” of this right action.
None of this is normal. The fact that Congress has failed to assume its responsibilities in impeaching this dangerous president is not normal. Senators rail at his threat to the country, yet take no action. It is not “normal” that lies are told with such fervor that they are believed by millions. It is not “normal” that our president tweets vitriol at everyone who does not adore him. It is not “normal” that civil discourse has taken a distant backseat to anger, violence, and divisiveness. It is not “normal” that we witness the death of 93 Americans a day due to gun violence (everytown.org) and just shake our heads at this inevitability and offer prayers. It is not “normal” that members of Congress are so intent on rewarding the wealthiest among us with even more wealth, to the detriment of working people. It is not “normal” that collusion with a foreign government to secure the presidency of this country was seen as a viable option to take.
Great uncertainty–this grave departure from normalcy–such as we are currently experiencing as a nation, causes great stress. We are seeing the impact of this frazzling of our collective nerves in the way that we treat each other, in the increase in bullying in schools, in the distinct and growing divide between “us” and “them.”
Stress can also motivate us to act, which we are witnessing across the country in our increased participation in the political process. It is easy to lose momentum when faced with the current assaults to decency, but our strong motivation to confront each of these issues is having an impact. We must continue to call our representatives, write our editorials, march in protests. But we must also model civility when faced with these abuses of power. We must be the change that we wish to see in the world, as Gandhi said. I so appreciate everyone I know who is “being the change” through their political action, but–most importantly–through the positive example of being the good people they are and in using their right action to confront so much that is wrong in Washington.