Due to the election of Donald Trump, I believe the safety and integrity of America is at risk on many fronts. We have a president-elect who has repeatedly expressed positions and attitudes that, if acted upon, will take us back to an age before the civil rights movement and feminist movement of the 60's and 70's. Some seem to believe that those were the good old days but those days were not so good for many of us. Trump proposes such things as stop and frisk (racial profiling), interference with freedom of religion by suggesting squads be sent into mosques to investigate what may be happening, mass deportations, and changes in women's health issues. These are just a few examples of his thoughts on how to limit our rights. He wants to limit our right to free speech when he talks of changing the law to be able to restrict what journalists can report. He says he will require the military to engage in forms of torture that constitute war crimes.
In terms of economics, he talks of limiting relationships with our major trade partners one of which is Mexico. If we do not have substantial and workable trade agreements, how can new jobs be created? After all, without good trade agreements, who will buy the products produced by American workers. If few American products are being purchased overseas, how can new jobs be created??
As for his budget proposals - numerous economists have stated that his plans favor the wealthy and would actually increase our national debt by several trillion dollars. I am aware that other economists support his proposals. The problem is that I do not have the economic expertise to evaluate the opposing viewpoints but I have concerns because Trump's many business failures do not reflect a person that I feel I can trust with plans for our national economy. In addition he wants to eliminate Dodd-Frank which will unleash the Wall Street Banks. How does this make sense?
We must question how Trump's business enterprises and debt owed to foreign entities will influence his decision making as the president of the United States. Would he be susceptible to manipulation or even blackmail by foreign actors? He states that he is placing his business enterprises into a blind trust to be run by his children but this is not a blind trust. He will continue to know exactly what is going on in his businesses. Should we not be concerned that he would place the welfare of his business concerns and family above those of the nation when making presidential decisions?
He wants to interrupt our participation in NATO. This means we would abandon those countries who need our support and lose the support of countries that would come to our defense if needed.
Attention must be paid to the people with whom he is choosing to surround himself - what are their backgrounds and beliefs? Would they act to protect the nation or further endanger it? The cabinet he chooses will signal how he chooses lead this country. We should pay attention to his choices.
It is so important to learn from history so that we do not make the same mistakes that have led to disaster in the past. In the 1930's Europe was in a condition similar to what we are now experiencing in the United States. If you remember, that was when fascism reared its ugly head. That was when individuals with loud, aggressive rhetoric convinced people that their troubles were because of certain portions of the population such as Jews and gypsies. What ensued was horrific! Rights were stripped away and millions of people were brutalized and exterminated. In her book titled "Men in Dark Times" Hannah Arendt states that people dealt with the evil that existed by choosing "internal exile". In other words, they facilitated the evil by staying under the radar and not speaking up when they disagreed. We cannot be passive or complacent. We must pay attention to history and recognize our current vulnerabilities so that we do not have a similar fate.
In October of this year The Guardian
published an article about a more recent historical event, namely Silvio Berlusconi’s time as Prime Minister of Italy. Italians continue to struggle with the damage suffered during Berlusconi’s terms of office. It is important to note the extensive similarities between Berlusconi and Trump. With the current vulnerable state of our nation, the voice of a president who can incite people to violence, hatred and divisiveness could be disastrous and should be taken seriously.
There are so many questions and so few answers at this time. I am sure there are those who will read my words and vehemently disagree. But here is the point - right now we live in a nation which allows us the wonderful freedom to have open discussion and disagreement. We must communicate our concerns and opinions to our senators and representatives. We must make our voices heard in a lawful manner and strive to use the tools of our constitution and legal system to assure that we continue to have the rights and freedoms we have always enjoyed. To this end, I have sent a letter to each of the senators and representatives from my State. In this letter I have expressed some of my concerns and my expectations for them. I am making my letter available to you and if you feel it accurately reflects your thoughts, then please fill in the blanks on the letter and send it to the congressional members from your state.