May 22, 2019When I speak with people who are supporters of President Trump, I ask them why they support him. The answers do not vary much. They feel he is responsible for the economy doing well. They like his tough talk and "can do" attitude. They believe he will protect us from becoming a socialist country. They trust he will fill the courts with more conservative judges.
I actually agree that he has accomplished each one of those objectives, to a greater or lesser degree. However, I ask, at what cost and what are the true implications and unintended consequences?
Let's talk about the tough talk and "can do" attitude. I must admit, early on, I actually liked the unusually forthright way Trump communicated. But after four years of listening to it, I am appalled at how his "languaging" has divided our country, caused a war on tariffs with China, is causing our country to inch ever closer to war in Iran and has alienated our allies around the world. On the domestic front, he chides and derides everyone, saying hateful things about war heroes, people with disabilities and others who do not agree with his positions. His speech is not only divisive, but it is loaded with untruths, which, said enough times, people end up believing.
Trump's "can do" attitude can be likened to an army tank that bulldozes everything in its path without much concern over the "collateral damage." What people don't realize about the tariffs is that you and I pay for them. NOT CHINA! If steel and aluminum prices go up, guess what all the companies who sell goods and services using those commodities will do? Pass them onto YOU. And this includes the energy sector.
In terms of jobs, the employment numbers are rigged. A person holding three part-time jobs is counted as three different people with full-time jobs. People who have given up searching are not counted. The list goes on. At the same time, I do not wish to deny that strides have been made, but the wages are not at all keeping pace with inflation. I was making $10 per hour back in 1986. The federal minimum wage 33 years later is $7.25. And I was only an administrative assistant then!
The courts have definitely been stacked with conservative Republicans. I always thought that a judge, no matter at what level in the judicial system, needs to be as impartial as possible. But the new norm is that they seem to have much more leeway in using the judicial system as a mechanism to further their own political and ideological agendas. I say this about BOTH political parties. The "law" seems to have less and less value anymore while the ideological bias gains ever greater strength.
One of the biggest concerns of those Republicans with whom I have spoken is their fear that our republic is becoming socialist. Obviously, they have bought into the rhetoric of Trump, McConnell and others because anyone who takes the time to understand true socialism would know that our country could NEVER have that system of government 100 percent. The government would NEVER own and control all systems of productions and then make decisions about all allocations of resources and what products and services will be provided. Neither party would allow that to happen.
What I find humorous is that our system of governance already incorporates SOME aspects of socialism (coupled with capitalism) yet no one says that their Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security should be stopped. People need to stop thinking that all Democrats and Democratic-leaning news organizations are the only purveyor of "fake news." That is a genius technique for flat-out believing that actual truths are lies because Trump knows that most of his supporters won't dig for the truth. They just bite … hook, line and sinker, because they are emotionally invested in everything he says and does.
What we as Americans (not delineating political party) must see with unbiased eyes is that our president is turning our country into a dictatorship. Now, before I go on, everything I am going to say I would like you to imagine if Hillary or Obama engaged in any single one of the following activities. What would you say? If your opinion varies, then you are not willing or able to see the truth that our Constitution is being deconstructed. If any Democratic president engaged in any of the following, I would want him/her out of office. What is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong.
1. Telling Mnuchin to defy a legal subpoena (which, by the way, is illegal).
2. Telling Barr to defy a legal subpoena (which, by the way, is also illegal).
3. Not providing tax returns to tell us whether Trump is financially involved with governments that demonstrably meddled in our elections and/or has financial alliances with any of them.
4. Ignoring the emoluments clause (which is stated in Article 1 of our Constitution) which prohibits federal officeholders from receiving any gift, payment or other thing of value from a foreign state or its rulers, officers or representatives.
5. Demanding that McGahn, the former White House attorney, say that Trump was absolved of all collusion and obstruction.
6. Not giving Congress one single document that various congressional committees have rightfully and legally demanded, including the full, unredacted version of the Mueller Report.
7. Demanding the Homeland Security director break the law (which she didn't) and was fired for it.
8. Firing a host of top cabinet members and installing "interim directors" indefinitely so as to avoid having Congress have hearings to appoint or not.
9. Shutting down the government to force Congress to re-direct monies to his border wall.
10. Allowing nepotism to occur with family members making the most important decisions for this country without one ounce of experience or knowledge about foreign and domestic policy.
11. Using presidential powers to overrule ALL security advisors in order to give his children top-secret security clearance.
12. Sidling up to ruthless dictators and openly saying he's in love with Kim Jun Un. It was said to a certain degree in jest, but this "kid" brutally killed Otto Warmbier!
13. Trump visited his golf clubs 150 times in his first year as president and 77 times in his second year. We, the taxpayers, pay $10.6 million each and every time he travels to Mar-A-Lago.
Anyone, anywhere can come up with alternative perspectives (and excuses). I had to do that on debate teams all the time. The one who delivered the most compelling argument (even if it was wrong!) usually won. The same thing occurs in courts daily.
Our Constitution is being ripped to shreds and people just shrug and say, "I'm tired of hearing about all this." Well, when white supremacy rules again, when foreign powers determine our elections, when your social safety net is yanked, when immigrant children are being yanked from their mothers and abused in many different ways, when the Congress has no power to check our president and he can thumb his nose at the law, when our president lies to the point where it's difficult to discern truth, what does that say about you who allows such abhorrent behavior? I cannot say you are a patriot.
Dr. Ashira Young is a licensed social worker and practitioner of energy psychology. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in integrative medicine from the University of Natural Medicine. The author of two books, she lives near Milltown with her husband, former State Sen. Richard Young.