Today, America bids farewell Barack Obama. As of noon today, Obama became a private citizen. During his two terms in the White House, he proved himself as one of the most eloquent, pragmatic, intelligent, and compassionate leaders our nations has ever seen. At the stroke of noon as the Obama Era ended, the Trump Era commenced. In every way, the two leaders are complete opposites. Trump has faced and continues to face much criticism. Many citizens have legitimate fears about the future of the country under a Trump presidency. Trump supporters are quick to come to his defense and say that the criticisms of Trump mirror criticisms of Obama at the beginning of his term. They say that there is precedent for this and that we will soon see that the fears are unfounded. They are equating the two. However, the two are not the same. No, this has never happened before.
No sooner than it became evident that Obama had a legitimate shot at becoming the 44th President that the hatemongering started. Obama was plagued from the beginning of his presidency with false beliefs that he was a Muslim, a socialist, a communist, and a Kenyan. Soon, he became an evil specter who would soon confiscate our guns, our freedom, and impose Sharia Law. These rumors were, or course, reinforced by right wing talk radio hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, conspiracy theorists, such as Alex Jones, and cable news personalities, such as Sean Hannity. However, eight years later, none of this came to fruition as Obama wrapped up a squeaky clean, scandal-free presidency.
What makes Trump different? The difference is fact. There are legitimate and objectively provable reasons to have concern over a Trump presidency. It baffles me that the so-called “moral majority” of evangelical Christians could even consider electing a man who, on live radio, said it was ok to call his 17 year old daughter “a piece of ass.” It baffles me that middle class people and the working poor can truly believe that a man who has spent a lifetime refusing to rent properties to African Americans, stiffing small businesses and contractors who worked for him, and having a non-existent record of charitable donations would actually have their best interests at heart. It baffles me how the candidate in whom the Ku Klux Klan finds camaraderie can also be the candidate that speaks to so many Americans and who they believe can “Make America Great Again.”
Many supporters are quick to say that we should give him a chance. We really don’t have much of a choice now. Here is a small snippet of what we now know about how he plans to run his administration. He has selected as his Attorney General to be a man with an absolutely abhorrent civil rights record. His Secretary of State is a man who has repeatedly put his own business interests above the interests of the country for whom he will be the top diplomat and has a personal relationship with the leader of Russia. The potential Supreme Court justices he’s reviewing have records of equating members of the LGBT community with pedophiles. Perhaps the worst indicator of the turn the administration will take lies with his Vice President, Mike Pence. With a smug look on his face, Pence, wrapped in a cloak of fake religion and conviction embodies all of these characteristics rolled into one.
No, this hasn’t happened before. We’ve never had a leader take office about whom we know so little. We haven’t seen his taxes. And, yes, there is a lot that can be learned from a tax return. We’ve never had a leader assume the role as the most powerful person on the planet who would rather spend his time tweeting about Saturday Night Live than attend intelligence briefings. We’ve never given the nuclear codes to a man who has shown so little regard for his fellow human being as Donald J. Trump. There is no precedent for any of this.
Maybe Trump will “Make America Great Again” even though America has been “great” since its inception. Maybe Trump will be a great president. I certainly hope so, but I’m certainly not holding my breath. If past is prologue, we are in for a rough few years.