Pick just about any issue bubbling up in the political discourse right now and you’re faced with a situation whose outcome will have consequences far beyond the present. And the Trump administration and his enablers are smack dab in the middle of almost all of them.
On the immigration front, as children are dying in federal custody and reports surface that ICE detainees with disabilities or LGBTQ status are being subjected to solitary confinement, the Trump administration is considering deputizing the military as a civilian police force to go after immigrants.
In the climate change landscape, as our 12 year window to mitigate climate change closes and natural disasters increase in size and intensity, the Trump administration is pushing the largest expansion of fossil fuel extraction in the world.
When it comes to a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, state after state is passing increasingly restrictive abortion bans in an attempt to capitalize on the Trump administration’s packing of the courts with forced birth extremists.
Then there’s healthcare, where as insulin prices skyrocket and 79 million Americans struggle with medical bills or debt, the Trump administration continues to try and destroy our already flawed system without any sort of backup in place.
As for public health, in addition to increasing fossil fuel expansion (see above), the Trump administration is deregulating cancer-causing products like asbestos and Monsanto’s Roundup.
In the realm of international relations, as dictators thrive and democracies shrivel, the Trump administration continues to push our allies away and showers praise on some of the world’s most despised despots.
This is just a sample of the crises America (and in some cases, the world) is facing. But all of these issues are undercut by the fact that Donald Trump is consolidating power to himself and his sycophants by undercutting democratic norm after democratic norm — which makes taking action on any of these issues moving forward increasingly difficult.
The press, also known as the 4th Estate and watchdog group necessary in any functioning democracy? They’re the “enemy of the people.”
The other two branches of our government that are supposed to serve as the checks and balances on the executive? He’s stonewalling any sort of action he doesn’t approve of from legislators and continues to delegitimize the courts.
Whether you think Trump is doing these things because he genuinely believes in them, to limit his legal liability, to extend the amount of time he has to make money off the presidency, to shore up support among his base, or some combination — the results are the same.
A country where atrocities against immigrants —and inevitably other minority groups—are normalized.
A planet plagued by by natural disasters, sea level rise, and acidifying oceans.
A society in which women are seeing their rights eroded away.
A healthcare system that sees more and more people die from preventable diseases and lack of access to care.
An environment with toxins and dangers that should have been eradicated decades ago.
A world where dictators flourish and democracy dies.
I’m aware this sounds bleak. That’s because it is.
However, the future isn’t written yet. We still have a chance to prevent these outcomes, but it’s going to take tens of millions of us coming together and standing up to Trump and his enablers.
Our society and our world can survive with people on the left and right side of the political spectrum. In fact, our discourse is healthier with a multiplicity of viewpoints and voices. But the Republican party is not the party of limited government and conservative values anymore. It’s the cult of Trump. Just ask anyone within the Republican party who’s had the guts to stand up to Trump.
Ask the family of John McCain, the former Senator who voted against Trump on certain issues and was then mercilessly mocked by both Trump up until and after he passed away.
Ask Jeff Flake or Bob Corker, who’s criticism of Trump cratered their poll number so low they didn’t even seek reelection.
Ask Mark Sanford, whose even mild criticism of Trump led to his ousting from the party.
Ask GOP Representative Justin Amash who is being excommunicated from his party for daring to suggest the crimes described in the Mueller report reach the bar for impeachment.
Trump is only making progress because people are letting him. The emperor has no clothes, but too many people in power aren’t willing to point that out. The legislators who could be holding his worst impulses in check either a.) agree with certain, less onerous aspects of his agenda and want to get all they can while he’s in power b.) are worried about reelection or c.) genuinely do support even the more horrific things he’s doing.
And it’s killing us (both literally and figuratively).
So not only do we need to repudiate Trump at the ballot box in 2020, we need to smash his sycophants as well.
I guess what I’m saying is…
United States is at a moral crossroads and you need to pick a side — because there won’t be a second chance.
I have a lot of opinions. Follow me on Twitter: @nathantaft