By Emily Bolecek
It’s early into the first week of a Donald Trump administration and several alarming things have already taken place, the most alarming being Trump’s trend towards authoritarianism. While Trump’s populist message spewing fear and phobia during the election was effective, that this rhetoric has continued into his presidency starting with a dark inauguration day speech is unacceptable. American presidents have traditionally been leaders that the people look to for steady guidance to calm our fears and be a role model for our children. Past presidents have offered optimism, advocated for unity, and declared the importance of American diversity in defining our nation. You will not find that kind of leader in Donald Trump. You will find a man willing to swing low and defy democratic values in favor of autocratic, fascist tendencies. Let’s recap the week so far.
1. WhiteHouse.gov gets rid of key sites including civil rights, climate change, healthcare, and LGTB rights. (source)
2. Prevented US agencies from tweeting after they tweeted a photo comparison of crowds at Obama 2009 vs. Trump 2017 inauguration. (source)
3. Signed an executive order to roll back ACA. How does this relate to authoritarianism? Many people who rely on the ACA are entrepreneurs, freelancers, writers, artists, or creatives. People pursuing a less traditional career path have been afforded the option to do so without having a day job in order to get healthcare. When we roll back healthcare, we roll back cultural creativity and innovation. (source) (source 2)
4. Trump team plans to cut funding entirely to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This will cut the federal 3.8 trillion dollar budget by a mere 0.02 percent, making it more of a symbolic act of devastating the arts and the many grants they provide rather than making a significant impact on the national budget. (source)
5. Sean Spicer, press secretary, blatantly lies about inauguration crowd sizes despite there being photographic and video evidence to contradict him. He attacks the media for accurately reporting the inauguration. Trump team coins word “alternative facts” bringing this nation into a confusing new era where the President is a liar and does not value truth or facts. (source)
6. Trump gives self-aggrandizing, narcissistic speech to CIA while standing in front of the memorial wall of heroes. Additionally, he brought his own clappers to cheer and laugh, while the senior leaders of the CIA stood stoic and did not applaud. (source) (source 2)
7. Trump is working to destroy net neutrality, which will benefit key corporations at the expensive of many small organizations and consumers and destroy a level playing field of consuming information. (source)
8. Congress is trying to pull out of the UN with H.R.193 – American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017. This aligns with Trump’s use of “America First” language in inauguration speech, a controversial phrase that is associated with opponents of entering WWII. (source)
This is beyond scary. It’s the first week of this administration and we are headed into dangerous territory. Trump trends authoritarian. He is hostile with the media. He attacks anyone who pokes fun or portrays him unflatteringly, such as SNL. He continues to deny facts that do not agree with him, like intelligence reports about Russian interference in our election. When he feels threatened, offended, or attacked, his first reaction is to impede rights, shut down organizations, limit access, or delegitimize the offending party. He does not engage in resolving problems through compromise, does not accept criticism, and refuses to understand contradictory points of views. He seeks revenge on his enemies and rewards those who are loyal to him. While some of his actions may seem simply petty, they are now the actions of the President of the United States of America, which means the consequences are vast and far reaching. He could start a war with a tweet. We have a world leader who is rigidly inflexible, unwilling to admit fault, and has shown little curiosity. These traits are not just unfortunate, but extremely dangerous. We must fight his authoritarian tendencies every step of the way, in every way we can. Stay informed and stay vigilant.