What makes us human, after all?
I was watching a movie about the hunt for Bonnie and Clyde when a line of dialogue leapt out at me. Observing a scene of carnage, a lawman says: "No human would do this." I thought of Donald Trump and so many of the things he has said and done. What would the lawman say about him?
Is Donald Trump human? What makes us human, after all? It’s not just consciousness; dogs are conscious sentient beings too. As time passes under this administration, I'm beginning to think it is empathy. Empathy as in the ability to put yourself in another's shoes, just for a moment, to feel as they feel. I'm not even talking about compassion, which is like empathy plus kindness. Clearly kindness is not among President Trump's perceivable traits.
Trump has proven his racism again and again. He has inflamed racism across the United States, using it to maintain his "base" of supporters, whose number hovers close to forty per cent no matter what the daily incompetence level is. Racism was Trump's entrée into presidential politics and it remains his most effective selling point. He didn't invent racism, obviously. He has encouraged it, and to use the depressing word that most typifies his reign, he has "normalized" it.
Antisemitic hate crimes have surged during Trump's presidency, as have white supremacist threats and terrorist actions. Trump's insistence on calling himself a nationalist is a boon to far right groups who rightly understand the motto Make America Great Again to mean Make America White. Just when we thought we were getting somewhere by electing a Black President, Trump’s America is showing its true colors and they are uglier than ever.
When I say America, let me be clear. Trump's America isn't the majority, they are just the most frightening and seemingly intractable portion of the electorate. Sixty per cent of Americans do not support Donald Trump. Sixty per cent of Americans are not crazy. And I try to take some comfort in this statistic but until Trump leaves office, no one is safe from his dangerous agenda.
I am not using the word dangerous lightly, however Trump's media outlet, Fox News, tries to turning attention back to Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton provides an almost mystical totem of evil for the far right, like a boogeyman that hovers over everything. When things get worse in the White House, Hillary-phobia takes a worse turn. At this point, according to right wing conspiracists, she is now a child-eating cannibal. “Lock her up!” they still chant at Trump rallies.
Meanwhile, Trump is firing and replacing officials who insist on following laws that could impede his agenda, namely keeping him from being prosecuted for corruption and abuse of power. This week, he has fired his head of Homeland Security and her chief deputy, and well as the head of the Secret Service, a man he calls Dumbo in mockery of his large ears. Several top DHS jobs are either vacant or filled on an acting basis, including positions responsible for disaster response, immigration enforcement, finance, policy, and science and technology.
People are increasingly worried about a genuine emergency, not the one Trump is creating at the Southern border by slowing the processing of refugees and migrants. A real emergency would be disastrous, in the absence of trained professionals in key positions. A real emergency for a leader who can't or won't read reports, who can't or won't separate lies from reality, is unthinkable. After rebuffing our allies and pandering to our adversaries, President Trump has put the world on notice that he doesn't know what the fuck he's doing. I WANT MY MMOMMY, and presumably so do the diligent journalists who continue to report on this White House despite being called an Enemy of the People by the man in charge.
There is no shortage of things to be upset about as Trump blusters on with his crooked Attorney General and hand-picked chief of the Internal Revenue Service, but the situation at the Southern border, just two hours’ drive from my home in California, is both alarming and heartbreaking. Children and babies separated from their mothers, lost in the system, perhaps indefinitely, are the casualties of Trump's racist fear-mongering. Cutting back on Immigration judges, putting children in chain-metal cages, forcing immigrants to sign papers they can't understand, and accusing brown-skinned men of being rapist thugs, President Trump is violating the law and violating universal codes of morality.
Is he human? You tell me.