Foothill Technology High School

Opinion: Review of 2017 politics

Historic tax cuts. Economic growth. A conservative majority on the Supreme Court. A tougher approach to North Korea. Deregulation. Wall Street roaring.

If you’re a conservative, what’s not to like about Donald Trump’s first year as president?

It’s a substantial policy record, right? The first year of MAGA (Make America Great Again) was a success, was it not?

Wrong.

It is culture, not politics, that shapes a society’s success or failure. The fatal mistake of conservatives who support Trump is to ignore the lies, the narcissism, the bigotry, the name-calling, the crassness, the ignorance, the witless pettiness, the spite—they pretend it doesn’t exist, or that it just doesn’t matter.

This creates somewhat of an unofficial Grand Old Party (GOP) manifesto that says “Character Doesn’t Matter” in politics. But it does matter. Virtue matters. Decency matters. Integrity matters.

On Christmas Eve last year, Bill Mitchell, the host of a show called YourVoice, tweeted out: “It’s amusing how the Left loves the broad sweeping declaration with no basis in reality. For instance, they’ll say, ‘Trump is destroying America!’ But when you ask them ‘how?,’ they have no answer.”

With today closing the book of 2017, it’s the perfect time to go over the answer to this question that Mitchell brings up. How is Trump destroying America? Here’s a list highlighting the core reasons.

He’s destroying the presidency’s moral authority.

Leadership is a choice Donald Trump has made. At the helm of America, he has a choice whether to follow universal timeless principles, or his own principles by looking at America as a business that he owns rather than a people that he leads.

Laws that oppress people, or discriminate against people, have no moral authority. From insisting that there were good people in a crowd of Neo-Nazis to endorsing alleged child molester (and sore loser) Roy Moore, Trump has set a dirty moral course for our nation.

Giving any inkling of credibility to the alt-right is absolutely repugnant. Not to mention, people in positions of power may feel empowered to take advantage of women and sexually assault them because of Trump’s crass rhetoric and past objectification of women.

He has equipped a conservative political culture that celebrates the things we should fear.

Trump has emboldened a disregard for truthfulness, a proclivity for conspiracy theories, a swell of white-identity politics and a GOP voter perspective that “Character Doesn’t Matter.” But culture is above politics, and the trajectory that these empowered “Trump ideologies” have set for our nation is a downhill slope.

Trump and his supporters perpetuate racially-influenced myths that have gridlocked our government.

He pontificates about the illegality of things like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), then does unconstitutional things like his Muslim ban. In his presidential campaign, he promised a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” which he has continually tried to stealthily impose.

Over the years he’s developed very narrow-minded ideas in his head of different races and cultures: he correlates Mexicans with rapists, Muslims with terrorists, Haitians with AIDS, and Nigerians with “huts.”

He doesn’t understand the value of human lives, looking at everything from a business perspective and with a selfish moral conscience.

He’s getting things done, but with characteristic and behavioral blemishes.

Trump has maintained America’s physical body, but with it her heart has become scathed. While the economy flourishes, Trump has morally defaced our country on the sidelines.

Instead of a president who is diplomatic and represents our nation politically and culturally, we have a president who fantasizes on Twitter about physically assaulting CNN.

He panders to his supporters about fixing “problems” that were never problems.

Trump plucks problems out of nowhere and then celebrates “fixing” that problem after changing nothing. His “war on Christmas,” for example, was pandering to the religious right, claiming that Christmas was under attack when in fact it wasn’t. He understands how his supporters think and swindles them with stories of his “success” in “making America great again.”

His demonization of the press delegitimizes the freedoms of speech and press in America.

Trump claims that the media is “rigged” against him and that they’ve laid out a grand scheme to demine him by painting him as “dangerous and bigoted.” They’ve done this by quoting him accurately.

By dismissing everything that doesn’t paint him in a positive light, Trump prevents legitimate political commentary from taking place because anything or anyone can be shoved off as “fake news.” Because of it, America can no longer be a model for press freedom to the rest of the world.

In essence, even if Trump has delivered on a portion of his agenda, it has come at a great cost to the U.S. Our government, now becoming a plutocracy, promotes inequality rather than equality. The current administration is about short-term gains, bloated with profiteering at the expense of the future. As a person, Donald Trump is execrable. This destroys America whether it seems so politically or not.

So, Bill Mitchell, that’s how Donald Trump is destroying America. Happy New Year.

-Sam Bova

Featured Image Credit: US Capitol

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