As most of you may suspect, I’m no conservative. As most of you may surmise, I did not vote for the current president. BUT I pride myself on being an open-minded person. So, after Donald Trump won the presidential election of 2016, I hoped he would disprove our worst fears.
To be more specific, I hoped he would come out and emphatically declare, “I am not a racist!”
I hoped that increased access to the intelligence community and other professionals in public service would help Trump to see the nuances of this world. And that in turn would influence his policies. (i.e. The magical wall that’s going to solve the problem of unsanctioned immigration. For which, Mexico is going to foot the bill.)
And after all, there was some reason to hope. Trump’s first presidential decision was choosing a running mate. And whatever Mike Pence’s challenges are, I think we all can agree Trump could have done worse.
Well, we’re about 30 days in and I hate to say it but…I’m disappointed. Actually, I’m more than disappointed. I’m enraged. I’m disgusted. And I’m scared for this country as a whole. I’m scared for all of us who saw everything we hate about humanity (or the lack thereof) in this man. I’m petrified that we will be proved right. Let me say that again, I’M A LIBERAL AND I DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT ABOUT THIS MAN. I’m sincerely looking for evidence that we have him wrong, or that he’s changed in some fundamental way.
So, let’s dive in. Shall we? Here are the highlights of Donald Trump’s first 30 days in office:
- January 20 — Presidential Inauguration with a crowd of no more than 600,000. One third of the crowd of the last inauguration. While, 4.8 million people worldwide protested Trump’s rise to power.
- January 26 — Trump is told by white house counsel that Michael Flynn (NSA) lied to Pence about violating the Logan Act.
- January 27 — Trump signs an executive order banning certain classes of immigrants from a handful of nations. It put a stop to the immigration of ALL refugees for 120 days. Banned Syrian refugees INDEFINITELY. Placed a 90-day suspension on visas for anyone from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen (with the exception of UN personnel and diplomats).
- February 3 — Travel ban is suspended nationwide.
- February 8 — In an interview with the Washington Post, Michael Flynn (NSA) denies he violated the Logan Act.
- February 9 — Washington Post exposes Flynn’s lie.
- February 13 — Kelley Ann Conway states that Trump has “full confidence” in Flynn.
- February 13 (shortly before midnight) — Flynn resigns from Trump’s cabinet.
- February 17 — Amid attacks on the media, Trump also claims to be “the least racist person” during press conference. Here’s the full transcript.
- February 20 — Trump visits the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, where he said anti-Semitism and racism was “terrible” and “has to stop.”
So, here’s what I got just from the last 30 days.
One — Donald Trump is a liar. And nothing is off limits. I think he knew that Flynn was lying to the Justice Department, Washington Post, and by extension the American people and he allowed it. Then to cover up that lie, he either incited (or allowed) more lies by Spicer, Conway, and Pence. Now, I suppose you can argue that we all lie. Hell, I lie—well, I try to but more often than not the truth is written on my face. Still, only one of us is the president of the United States. And what does it mean when the president lies to the people he supposedly serves? More importantly, what kind of president lies to cover up an underling’s susceptibility to blackmail? It’s not like Trump found out about Flynn’s lie and fired him (or asked him to resign) on the spot. Then went on record saying the reason was something other than what it was—a morally questionable but possibly forgivable sequence of actions. No. This man didn’t do a damn thing about the threat Flynn posed. And he claims to care about national security?
Two — If it sounds like a duck, it’s a duck, baby! Now comes the part of the post where I interject some of my own life experience. For those of you who haven’t noticed, I’m black. I’m too old to be a millennial but not old enough to remember segregation or the Regan-era. BUT, I have experienced a fair share of racism and bigotry. I’ve been called a nigger, a nigger-bitch. I’ve been run off the road by screaming rednecks. And in college, I accidentally befriended a racist. How do I know he was a racist? You may ask.
Well, imagine you’ve gone out to dinner with 15 of your closest friends and acquaintances. Let’s say you’re at some popular pancake restaurant chain and your party takes up three or four tables pushed end to end. You sit at one end and the soon-to-be exposed racist sits at the other end. You’re eating your pancakes and enjoying them, talking, and laughing with your friends. Then out of the blue you hear…
How many niggers does it take to screw in a light bulb?”
I could write an entire post about all the things I don’t understand regarding that…I hesitate to call it a joke. But I won’t, at least not right now. The point is, later on when I confronted him and asked that he refrain from making racist statements in my presence, he said…
I’m like the least racist person I know!”
So, when Donald Trump takes the podium during a press conference to say he’s the least anti-semitic, least racist person we’ve ever seen…I swear to God, I have an out-of-body experience. I freely admit Trump has a steep hill to climb here but the man has had 70+ years on this earth. If he hasn’t figured it out by now… If he’s merely annoyed that anyone would question his heart in these matters… That only confirms the initial assertion that he isn’t sincerely invested in equality.
Is it possible he’s a racist, but doesn’t know he’s a racist? And when did racism become something that we measure by degrees? Where one can be more or less racist than the person standing next to them? From where I’m standing it’s a yes or no sort of question. But then maybe that’s because I’m on the other side of it.
Returning to the larger question of Trump’s first 30 days, is it possible to reverse the coming tide in a fraction of the time that it took to create that tide? I don’t think so. But, that’s not to say Trump’s failure to disprove his critics was inevitable. It does, however, mean that in order to do so he would have to go against type. He would have to recant campaign statements, cabinet appointments, business policies, and a history (even family history) of racism. And he must do so of his own accord, with all the seriousness and thoughtfulness that these issues require. He must get to the heart of the matter and find the truth. I’m talking a full on catharsis that makes him rethink his interactions and policies. Anything less will always come off as opportunistic and inauthentic. Because if you don’t know that two intersecting ideas are related, then how well do you understand either? Similarly, you can’t correct people’s perception of you, if you don’t know the origins of said perception.
(Photo Credit: Getty/Andrew Harrer/Wikicommons)