I can't just sit by and do nothing. As worried as I am about the fate of this country under a President Trump, I have to do something. Actually, I have to do a number of somethings. The question is, what?
This post is a start. It's the beginning of what I plan as a continuing feature: Trump Human Rights Erosion And Termination Watch. THREAT Watch.
All kinds of terrible things are going to happen with Trump in the White House, a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Taxes and business regulations will favor the rich even more than they do now. Entitlement programs for the poor will be cut dramatically. Comprehensive women's health care which includes abortion will be nonexistent in many parts of the country. Obamacare, Medicare and Social Security will be savaged. The list goes on. We absolutely must fight to limit the damage in all those areas using every legislative, political and people-powered means at our disposal.
But as bad as those changes will be, my worst fears for the country have to do with the loss of human rights and the suppression of dissent. Trump and his allies don't have to pass new laws to persecute minority groups and target enemies. All it takes to create a police state and a climate of fear is an increased use of force against citizens and credible threats directed at the media. A Trump administration can do that on its own. It can make people afraid to congregate, afraid to act, afraid to say and write what they think—even afraid in some cases to come out of their homes.
If we're paying attention, it's not hard to notice when new laws are passed and new court decisions are rendered, but suppression and repression can creep up on us so gradually, we hardly know they're coming until they're here. It's far too easy for us to turn into frogs in a pot of water being brought to a boil. ("Is it getting hot in here?" "No, it's your imagination. Well, yeah, maybe it's getting a little warmer, but nothing we can't handle.") Repression can be targeted against one group while the rest of us look the other way. ("First they came for the immigrants, but I didn't speak up because I wasn't an immigrant. . . .") The media can be badgered into normalizing the administration and its actions by perpetuating false equivalencies and downplaying the dangers of its most dangerous words and deeds.
If we're not watchful, if we're not vigilant, if we're not responsive, our most basic rights can be ripped away from us. If that happens, this will be a different country. We may never have been the beacon of light to the world we sometimes claim to be, but with a Trump administration, we are in danger of having whatever light we shed on ourselves and others dim, flicker and be extinguished.
In my THREAT Watch posts, I'll try to pull together the words, signs and actions, large and small, that are moving us toward an erosion and termination of our basic rights, starting from the day after the election. What Trump and his followers said during the campaign only matters if it materializes in words and deeds once he was declared president elect.
I might be pleasantly surprised and find that I have no THREATs to worry about. Maybe Trump will endeavor to be a president for all the people, someone who genuinely wants to unite the country. But somehow, I doubt I'll run out of things to write about.