It is hard to believe that a year has passed since Donald Trump took the oath of office and as forced America to not only watch his reality show presidency on a daily basis, but to suffer the consequences as he places the country and its people in grave danger. When Trump said that immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations came from shithole countries, he summed up the disaster he has become.
The Trump White House is a shithole presidency, and it has taught us things we never knew, about us and about America, and other hard lessons we need to learn.
Many people expected a worst-case scenario under Trump and braced themselves for it. Now that America is in the thick of it, we can appreciate just how serious the circumstances are. If nothing else, Trump’s shithole presidency has alerted us to the power of the executive branch of government. That is a potentially wonderful thing when a president uses his or her powers for good. Otherwise, we’re in a world of shit. Trump has covered a lot of ground in the past 12 months, a testament to what can happen when the evil, the greedy and the incompetent run the government.
His cabinet members, often lacking basic knowledge of their agencies, were charged with destroying their respective departments. The State Department is being dismantled as we speak. The Justice Department is working to bring back the war on drugs and trample on our civil rights. The president is using his power to wage a war on people of color, immigrants, Muslims and others, and to dismantle the legacy of his predecessor, Barack Obama. It is so petty, yet it is so profound–the depths Trump will go to pursue public policy as a personal vendetta.
And the level of corruption in the current government staggers the imagination. President Trump has gone full banana republic mode, hiring his closest family members and friends like a stereotypical Third World dictator. What do Ivanka, Jared, or Omarosa know about advising a president or running a government? Most of all, Trump and his inner circle are a walking conflict of interest, personally profiting from being in the White House, and running an influence peddling, “pay to play” operation with his Washington, DC hotel and Mar-A-Lago resort.
Trump as revealed the depths of racism that remains in this country, and how much will percolate and bubble to the surface under the right conditions and the right—or wrong—president. This shithole president has taught us, in case we were unaware, that there are many white people in this country who are not going to allow people from the shithole nations take over their country. The rise of Trump has much to do with a white riot against the browning of America, the changing demographics that put the U.S. on course to becoming a minority-white nation in 25 years. It is enough that this president has enabled, excited and empowered the hate groups, the white supremacists, the Klan and neo-Nazis. It is quite another thing to hire said Nazis and give them an office in the West Wing. Trump has shown us white supremacy never went away, and hate groups are in the mainstream—of the GOP and America as a whole. For those who were waiting for that post-racial America when Obama came along, please wake up.
They always said that when fascism comes to America, it will be draped in the red, white and blue. Well, it’s here under Trump, giving us the opportunity to see how flimsy and tenuous our civil rights and civil liberties can be. Like any strongman or autocrat, the Trump regime has tried to silence and intimidate the press. His administration has banned certain news organizations from press briefings. He wants to sue publications that print material unfavorable to him, and has ordered the firing of Black journalists and Black athletes who avail themselves of their First Amendment rights and speak out against racial injustice and police violence. This man conflates personal loyalty with loyalty to country, and will turn the U.S. into a Jim Jones cult if given half the chance. When have we ever a president demand that grown ass adults compliment him and shower him with praise, and going around the table telling him what a great leader he is?
And most of all, this man controls the nuclear weapons.
Although this shithole president has revealed to us the worst in America, he has inspired, no forced us to do more. Because we must strive for much better than this. The resistance against Trump and his policies has blossomed, and the most recent election is evidence of this. For all of the harm he has done, he has unleashed a spirit to save this country from him. People are rising up because their lives and livelihood are on the line, and their future hangs in the balance. On a grassroots level, Americans are organizing and getting involved, creating a sense of community, forming organizations and running for office. They have taken matters into their own hands.
Trump’s shithole presidency has taught us, like Teddy Pendergrass said: “Wake up everybody no more sleepin’ in bed / No more backward thinkin’ time for thinkin’ ahead.” If nothing else, we have learned that democracy is not a spectator sport, and if you don’t use it, you lose it. If we don’t vote and don’t play an active role in the decisions that impact our reality, other folks will step in and make decisions in our name.
Never again can we allow the spirit of Trump to rise in America. It’s a toxic mess, and we have a lot of shit to clean up.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter @davidalove.