And on the front lines will be people of color and transgender Americans on one side. The other will be composed of Donald Trump’s most ardent loyalists. The New Yorker was the first to suggest that the United States, in the wake of President Trump’s unusual victory and subsequent reign of terror over minorities would effectively split the nation in two. Thus far, every one of the predictions made has come to fruition with frightening accuracy. The Trump administration has set out to achieve one thing above all else; Split the country in two halves. Dividing cultures and communities prevents them from organizing against him while his fan base stays in tact, propelling him.
Since taking office, the President has waged an internal war on transgender people, threatening our safety and security in our very own homeland. He’s banned the very word “Transgender” and rolled back legislative protections made during Barack Obama’s tenure as Commander in Chief. He’s attempted to ban trans identifying men and women from serving in any official capacity in the military and has openly attended rallies promoting anti-LGBT propaganda.
He has shown just as much ire toward the black and latinx communities, having shown passive solidarity with White Nationalists and calling Alt-Right radicals who have become comfortable enough to display their racism “Good people.” In America, two national tragedies have gone virtually ignored during Trump’s presidency- Flint, Michigan, a predominantly black city situated between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, has suffered a crippling water crisis that has seen virtually no attention from Trump since his visit there during his campaign. His appearance in flint was intended to address the devastating effect of long term lead poisoning that is responsible for both sickness and premature death of hundreds, especially children and the elderly. Trump, however, had other intentions when visiting Flint, and that wasn’t to address the escalating crisis- it was to verbally attack his opposing candidate for the presidential seat. So caustic were his comments, not to mention irrelevant to the suffering citizens of Flint, that it resulted in the now famous interruption of his speech by the local Pastor whose church he was speaking in. He would later insult her. Since taking charge, the Trump administration has done nothing to help Flint, but will spend millions of dollars on a Military Parade in his honor while making drastic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. Take note: Since he was elected, Trump has revisited the state of Michigan, just not Flint… and while there, he never one mentioned the ongoing crisis.
So, it should not be surprising that when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, leveling most of it, Trump only made an appearance for a brief photo op- handing out paper towels to residents whose entire lives had been upended and livelihoods had been lost. Instead of making a commitment to the citizens of Puerto Rico to help them rebuild, Trump attacked the Mayor who criticized his lack of response to tragedy- which has killed an estimated 4,000 people, and even today, thousands remain homeless, most without electricity. He used his typical “Us against them” rhetoric when attempting to defend his inaction, blaming Democrats. In a tweet, he said:
The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.
Of course, Puerto Rico is predominantly non-white, thus very low on his priority list. He’s far to busy wrangling undocumented immigrants, separating children from families and placing them in filthy, abusive detention centers, all while pardoning Arizona Ex- Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man who was convicted for notoriously profiling and wrongfully incarcerating people with brown skin, placing them in inhuman “Tent camps” in what a judge deemed a violation of their constitutional and human rights. He was also accused of failing to investigate over 400 sexual abuse and rape claims made by women to his office while serving in his capacity. Arpaio is a Trump loyalist- and now he’s running for a Senate seat in the same state he once terrorized.
And, I’d be remiss not to mention his infamous promise to build a wall on the Mexico border, which he has stated is intended to keep out Mexicans he once labeled as “Murders, rapists and drug dealers.”
If any human being can be judged based on their actions alone, it goes without saying that Donald Trump is a racist of a magnitude we have not seen since half a century ago. The power he wields lays in the stronghold of hate-mongers whose bigotry he has pandered to with alarming diligence. They are not your typical devotees, instead seeing him as a sort of symbol of their revolution of rage. This is their revenge for having seen in their lifetime a black president serve just before him- and they have observed their leader unceremoniously undo every one of his predecessors orders.
There is no question that Trump’s base, lacking reason or rationale, hang off his every venomous word as he liberates their prejudices and unleashes what had once been considered a shameful, divisive world view consisting of only white, only straight, only cisgender, only christian America. They have emerged from the shadows and dark crevices of society to march in the streets of middle America just as they did once before, instituting social segregation and displaying a horrific pride in their distorted vision of the future. These are not a people who we will see slip away quietly into the night, should Trump ever be impeached… or even lose the 2020 presidential election. Trump has kept his flagellants angry at the world, yet blindingly subservient to him. They create the wall around him that has rendered him untouchable.
It is by his acts of discrediting the press, the FBI, the department of Justice, and lampooning any one of his critics that Trump will see himself emerge as the catalyst of a second civil war in America. Should he lose or be impeached, he will convince his followers that he is a victim- as he has already done by declaring any investigation into his corruption a “Witch Hunt.” He will say that voting was rigged in favor of his opponent, or that internal bias led to his impeachment. He has postured himself as a modern day Jesus Christ, being crucified by naysayers and purveyors of fake news as he tries to lead his people to the promise land- where only wealthy, white, straight people thrive. Those who oppose him are all evildoers. They will defend him at any cost, even their own sacrifice of conscience. This cult-like mentality serves only to swell their outrage at the rest of us, who he has told to blame for their suffering while he keeps his foot planted firmly on the backs of our necks for their viewing pleasure. Some of these “good folks” are ripping off the burka’s of Muslim women or screaming at Spanish speaking citizens in public spaces to “Get out of our country.” Often, they’re calling the police on black people- a community already experiencing disproportionate abuse by authorities- for doing simple things like having a family barbecue.
We had grown comfortable with the self-created lore that racism and bigotry existed mostly in backward villages, from people isolated from the world, sat on their rickety porches with shotguns in their hands. Trump has lifted the veil on that fallacy and lured it into the open. We see now that it comes from every direction, from high power New York City attorneys on 5th Avenue to mid-western shop owners who, as I write this, are putting up “No Gays Allowed” signs in their store windows after the supreme court ruled in favor of a bakery’s refusal to bake a cake for a gay couple citing Religious Freedom.
Ah, religion. That which Trump had appealed to the most, despite being his mockery of women and the disabled, or his penchant for “pussy grabbing” and paying off porn stars in exchange for silence after extramarital affairs; It is the religious majority that view him as their anointed one and he knows it. Claiming to make their one, very specific religion- Christianity- his priority, he opened up an office in The Department of Health and Human Services called the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which will not only allow, but also protect from consequence those who discriminate against transgender or gay Americans. This includes medical caregivers who can deny treatment to a ailing patient if they cite moral or religious objection. States like Oklahoma and Kansas have now passed laws that allow religious adoption agencies the right to refuse to place homeless children into gay families. Trump and his new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, have funneled money away from those most in need, public schools, to primarily white, private, religious schools. Some church leaders are even preaching that Trump himself is leading them to the second coming of Christ and the Rapture by fulfilling biblical prophecy. Of course, Trump immediately redacted the Johnson Amendment which had limited political donations to politicians from churches and religious organizations ensuring separation of Church and State. This is him, paving his path to re-election. His believers will not accept a loss, a change of leadership or a shift in the tide. The monster of unbridled social terrorism has been unleashed, thus restoring civility and progress to the Nation will be like putting toothpaste back in the tube. These proud “deplorables” who wear the word like a badge of honor have let the world know who they are and they will never go back into the shadows from which they came.
No matter how he leaves office, Trump has undeniably created a chasm so cataclysmic to society that it will take decades to repair. Trumpsters will not let that happen without a fight. The unfettered hostility that he has provoked toward minorities both socially and politically will effect generations to come. And we’re only in the second year of his first term.
It wouldn’t be unlikely for an all out battle to erupt in the streets should Trump be impeached or lose the next election. The stability of our social infrastructure is already vastly fragile and such a blow to the egos of the men and women who have unapologetically put their intolerances on parade will induce a complete meltdown. These individuals will not allow their leader be taken away from them, or have his power to provide their prejudices immense visibility be replaced by someone with a moral compass… or an interest in serving all the American people equally. They cannot lose their privilege or superiority over the rest of us for fear they will suddenly find, having outed themselves as modern day Nazis, they will be treated with the same aggressive rejection they’ve subjected the rest of us to. Without their divine leader to validate their hate, they will shift into fight mode. There will be riots in the streets; Law and justice will be abandoned- some of Trumps most staunch supporters are police officers and judges. His base will retaliate with violent fury. They don’t view Trump as just an elected official- He is their great White Hope who emboldens their bigotry. He has absolved them of their fear of recompense and shame. They won’t just put their hoods back on and go home. They can’t. We’ve seen their faces. We know them now.
The country will split in two. One half loyalists to the Trump Legacy, the other committed to fairness and equality who reject his division and dictatorship tendencies. Some will be fight for Trump Nation, other against it. It’s not a battle that will be fought at the polls, but in an unfurling societal crisis.
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