All posts edited by Madeline Ricchiuto.

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Trump America - 2 Years Later

Hello from Canada!

I'm back! And since it's been roughly 2 years since my last post I thought it was time to bring this blog back to life.

No, I'm not actually in Canada - I'm here in New Jersey still trudging along. Like everyone else, my life is consumed by work, relationships, and well... life. Donald J. Trump is President of the United States and here I am still living my life as normal - or at least what has now become normal.

Let me start by saying that the United States under Donald Trump is just as bad as so many people predicted. Surges in white supremacist, nazi, and KKK groups are happening all over the United States. Every day there's another report about how people of color are being berated in public, black people are being arrested for the crime of existing, LGBTQ rights are being stripped just a little bit more, and immigrant families are being torn apart. We've seen rises in hate crimes against minorities, a conservative new Justice was put on the Supreme Court, and now states are giving less and less support to women for abortion and reproductive healthcare.

There really is no sugarcoating our situation. We have a President who is known for lacking self-control and having a huge ego. Using his personal twitter account as a weapon against political (and non-political) enemies, Trump has reminded the world of everything that they dislike about America and has shown the American people how little he actually understands... anything.

You might be wondering, "if everything is so bad, why haven't you left like you wanted in your last article?" The simple answer is that I couldn't. For various reasons, there were many things keeping me in the U.S. after the 2016 election came to an end. Its truly hard to leave behind your country. I have a home here - friends, family, cherished memories, and a full life.

I'm not directly targeted by Trump or his administration. Being a white, cis, middle-class, straight-passing man, I have a lot of privilege and that can't be emphasized enough. Even with that privilege, I have felt the effects of the new Trump order - coming to terms with friends and family who voted for Trump or 3rd party candidates. As Trump's moods change so do my feelings of safety and security - especially with the ever present Russia probe threatening to expose our democracy for what it is: a sham. Month by month, tweet by tweet, Trump has exposed his authoritarian tendencies - making me wonder what will happen in the coming years and subsequent elections.

Maybe it seems far fetched, but I've had times where I genuinely wonder if Donald J. Trump will be willing to relinquish the Presidency. We've moved into the "post-truth" era in Trump's America: where major publications, with good reputations, are branded as *fake news* if they say something negative about the President or his policies. But, no one stops the President from spreading false information during his twitter rants. Those who stand up to the President in his administration are forced out or leave, revealing what Trump values most - unwavering idolization and support. He's even said it - he expects a twisted brand of loyalty and when he doesn't get it, "you're fired."

Of course not everything is horrible. Democrats have started taking away power from Republicans in local elections. The flip side to this though is that we have also seen more Republican tickets with men accused of sexual assault -- not that the two are necessarily related-- which shows that with Trump's success, even rapists, racists, and pedophiles can run for public office. Because, apparently, voters are still willing to trust them as long as they are white men. So even the good things are disheartening.

Living in Trump's America is exhausting for anyone who cares about progressive values (or even just basic decency) and I am definitely feeling it. At least we have the notorious RBG and the RBG documentary to remind us what truly will Make America Great Eventually (MAGE).

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