Day 2 Trump America

Day 1 was too depressing to write anything. Focusing on a singular thought other than, “how is this reality possible,” was simply not possible. I spoke with almost no one. The subway was very quiet. I joined a protest in Union square in the evening and found the solidarity a sentiment profound to a level that I never experienced before. Still, the conversations of the second day, November 10, seem too oblivious for me not to put to pen. The media was oscillating away from the topic of this terror, as if business as usual had resumed. The general sentiment of the New Yorkers with whom that I’ve conversed today is one of two perspectives: Native New Yorkers have a sense that Trump won’t do all the things he claims. This includes the perspective of most Americans and most mainstream media I’ve encountered. It’s the perspective that makes me feel overwhelming compelled to write down this moment. The second perspective is that of foreign New Yorkers–visitors, tourists, temporary citizens–who state that this problem is not confined only to the U.S. but that it’s part of a larger problem seen throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Succinctly the feeling is anger with the forms of governance available; feelings of anger result in violence of some kind. 

I found my own perspective worriedly pessimistic. While many Americans assured me that Trump would not do all or most of the things he claimed, I noticed the tone of their voice to be familiar; I had heard it when I was assured that he would not be a primary candidate; I heard it when I was assured that he could not be elected. I suggest otherwise. My gut feeling is not supported by data journalism but with a simple thought experiment. To the Trump opposer certain the next four years will be ‘okay’ I ask a simple question: Why wouldn’t someone assassinate him? The answer is simple: his Vice President and Republican coterie is even worse. But isn’t this Republican Congress the same mechanism that we liberals hope will regulate him? Isn’t this our last moral compass that we hope won’t go to the extreme? Donald Trump is a dangerous man and an even more dangerous politician. Not exclusively for his ideals, but for is capacity to incite violence. He is the riot waiting. For the Republicans he is the imagination of their hatred, an imagination they lacked for the last eight years. And don’t confuse my claim with the idea that he has somehow “tapped” into the American conscious or unconscious. It’s simply he’s a hateful man. His first foray into politics consisted of a full-spread advert to bring back the death penalty. This was the New York Time’s first venture into mercenary media for Trump antics. 

His capacity for violence is already validating his supporter’s anger. Across America, people are attacking minorities and Muslims. These acts which would be considered ‘hate crimes’ under Obama but are thought of as ‘patriotic’ under Trump’s reality. The last six weeks of Obama are unfortunately looking to be polite formalities rather than last minute alterations for a horrific rollercoaster ride. Trump supporters believe their anger is legitimated, that their hatred is a majority and that their power is unchecked as it aligns with their leader. Even in New York, people are telling minorities “go back to where came from” on the subway. 

We have entered a very bad era. As a person whose political consciousness awoke in the election for George W. Bush I can say that the speculation for our survival as a nation is not optimistic but unrealistic. Never have we had so many variables working against the mission of a free and prosperous society. While George W. Bush coaxed empty patriotism for a misled war for oil, Trump incites violence in situ. A Republican majority that aspires to undo internal civil society is something that can be reversed in coming elections, but combined with a demagogue with unchecked access to military power and greed is not something this global village can tolerate, should it transform into warfare. Moreover, as huts in the village become more fascist the worry is no longer a perseverance of democracy, but an actual continuance of humanity, as wars between countries can play out not as nations fighting but as ideologies, as we are seeing in the war on terror. We talking about nuclear armament in an age where you can get a flight from JFK to almost anywhere in the world, directly. An age when the aggression against people in another country who may have family living next door to us is true in most cities in the world. An age where any word spoken or movement can be surveilled accurately and easily. We are talking about warfare and civil war that will not take the form of traditional declarations and treatise, but perpetual violence and violent coverage.

On the bright side, a few mythologies about American democracy were undone this election. Big banks don’t own the results. Clinton had most of the support of big banks and failed. Latinos do turnout to vote. New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland are the only liberal bastions (many more cities are protesting). Minorities and Muslims are not taking over the country. No, we all voted against Trump and still lost. 

Another bright side is despite the EPA’s transitional leader, Myron Ebell of Competitive Enterprise Institute, a climate change denier, Trump may actually help the environment. I’m speculating on this based on the fact that he’ll get rid of the Affordable Healthcare Act, in which Income-based Repayment Plans for student loans (a bubble much bigger than the housing bubble) will be terminated and result in a huge cut in American’s buying power and consumption. I’ll write more on this later. And since there seems to be a faction of Americans who don’t believe that human industry and activity effects the world’s climate, let me put it in indisputable terms: how do you feel about lead poisoning? Do you think that eating lead chips is a good idea? How about for your children? Well, in the 1970s, the lead paint industry fought hard to claim that there isn’t a negative side effect of lead industries. Without regulation on industrial waste from the EPA, lead and any other byproduct get simply thrown into the environment. You don’t even have to think that climate change is real to see how fucked up it is to put this guy in charge. If you do follow the climate change science, you’ll know that Miami is already building infrastructure to deal with rising sea levels, but that won’t change Marco Rubio’s perspective.