It is with an increasing sense of dread and alarm that I approach January 20th.
January 20th is the date on which Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States.
It is not a secret that I was a Bernie Sanders supporter who went on to support Secretary Clinton in the general election. If our electoral system went by popular vote, she would be assuming the presidency and I would have at least some hope of helpful and reasonable legislation making it through Congress.
As it stands with DT, though, I believe that our country – and the world – are in danger.
That sounds very dramatic, but it is, unfortunately, true.
Early in the primaries, before it was clear that DT would be nominated, I had thought that, if he were to be elected, it would get the Congressional Republicans to finally cooperate with the Democrats and Independents to pass reasonable, bipartisan legislation, as it was obvious that DT’s ideas were often unconstitutional, impractical, unethical, or some combination thereof. DT was also campaigning against both the Democratic and Republican establishment.
For reasons that I cannot fathom, once DT won, the Congressional Republicans suddenly think they have a mandate to do all kinds of things, such as privatize Medicare, that the majority of the public oppose (and DT used to oppose, although it is often hard to tell where he stands).
DT keeps telling us how smart he is and how he hires great people, but the nominees for staff and Cabinet positions are downright – I know I keep using this word – scary. Several Cabinet nominees are on record as opposing the existence of the departments they are slated to head. Several have espoused outlandish conspiracy theories, which is even more pathetic when DT and his team are downplaying the very real role that Russia played in influencing the presidential election. The vetting that the Trump transition team did on background and conflicts of interest was sparse and the Senate Republican leadership is trying to rush through hearings and votes, even though the Ethics Office hasn’t been able to evaluate the candidates, some of whom haven’t even sent in their full information.
It is particularly galling because Mitch McConnell, when he was Senate Minority leader, made a huge deal about having extensive background information on President Obama’s appointees. He sent a letter detailing his requirements to then Senate Majority Leader Reid. Recently, the new Senate Minority Leader and my Senator Chuck Schumer sent that same letter to Mitch McConnell, crossing out his name and signing it himself. It isn’t likely to do much good. Unfortunately, there looks as though there will be massive conflicts of interest with Cabinet secretaries, as well as totally unresolved conflicts with DT himself.
Because the US is so powerful on the world stage, our developing troubles here can affect other countries, too. There are the obvious problems of diplomacy, war, alliances, and trade. I am especially concerned with science and climate issues. Researchers and tech specialists have been rushing to back up data outside the country, in case DT’s departments try to limit or erase content. There is the threat that Congressional Republicans may reduce the pay for some posts, for example, those researching climate change, to $1 in the budget, effectively eliminating those jobs in a way that the Democrats could not block. The prospect just makes me sick. I am also worried that DT may try to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement, which would be terrible, although many private businesses will continue to participate even if the government tries to renege on its promises.
In many areas, there is a danger that DT and the Republicans are making end runs around the laws that were set up to establish separation of powers and checks and balances. The Congressional Democrats are gearing up to fight, as well as some of the governors and attorneys general. Particularly important will be New York and California.
Everything is unsure, but many ordinary citizens are also gearing up to fight. My inbox is filled with action items on various appointees and policies, including the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act without replacement legislation in place.
It is all terrifying.
And a work in progress.
Update January 11: Not long after I posted this, additional allegations of Russian intelligence against Donald Trump surfaced, raising fears of possible future blackmail. This just adds to the unease over his impending inauguration. DT is scheduled to hold his first news conference in six months today. Should be…interesting.
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Prompts are provided but any post counts. I usually choose not to use prompts, but today’s from Matthew is “danger” – which fed into how I was feeling after watching the news. Find out more about it all here: https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/10/jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-10th17/