Another day, another irresponsible tweet from #45. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, has shown time and time again just how much of a joke our country’s “independence” and “freedom” truly are. Not only has he made a fool of himself on a near-daily basis through his actions and tweets; he has made it clear that our country cares much more about having a loud, faux-charismatic celebrity lead our country than someone who actually cares about the welfare of our nation.
For those who have the blissful privilege of being unaware of our country’s Twitter tyrant, here is a brief history of the President and his social media-fueled tirades:
- Donald Trump, real estate mogul and reality TV celebrity known for his show “The Apprentice,” has a long history of, putting it lightly, expressing his colorful opinions of various people and groups on the social media platform Twitter.
- With millions of followers, Trump tweets his frustrations with others nearly every day, and has done so for years, with one of his most notable attacks resulting in the “Birther” movement that called for President Barack Obama to share his birth certificate to prove that he was truly born in the United States and not Kenya.
- In recent years, Trump has virtually attacked former presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as well as other politicians, countless celebrities, liberal-leaning news outlets such as CNN and Huffington Post, radical groups such as Black Lives Matter, and pretty much anyone who disagrees with or challenges him.
- Trump has also turned to Twitter to make his policy decisions very clear, including the controversial travel ban against 6 Muslim-majority countries, which his White House team has tried to deny as being a travel ban despite his tweets using that exact term.
#45 has set an unfortunate precedent that if you make any criticism of him or his administration, you are putting a target on your back to be attacked by him, the President, on Twitter, as well as his group of followers that support his every move, no matter how contradictory or inflammatory they are. Rather than practice any semblance of diplomacy or emotional maturity, Trump has let his impulsive and aggressive behavior push our country’s sense of “democracy” further into obscurity. As much as he claims to want to protect our country from the threats of terrorism, our own President has created his own faction of terrorism and fear mongering in the White House, with our “independence” and “freedom” being called into question more and more as the tweets go on.
Of course, those of us who have never been on the perceived “great” side of American history that Trump wants our nation to return to know that this sort of behavior is nothing new. We witnessed the hatred of Muslims and the queer community endorsed by President George W. Bush; we witnessed the anti-black and anti-people of color rhetoric of President Bill Clinton’s crime laws; so on and so forth. The biggest difference between Trump and his predecessors is not the presence of controversial stances or the use of rhetoric that attacks certain groups, it is the fact that Trump is not afraid to use his platform of millions of followers to virtually attack the groups or people he disagrees with, with his followers doing the dirty work of threatening and physically attacking those people, while he sits back and claims he never incited any violence, and while his cabinet attempts to clean up his mess and make up excuses for him.
What we need to understand is that the root of Trump’s tyranny is based in his supreme levels of privilege, and how that privilege allows him to never be held accountable for his actions.
As an old rich cis white man who has seen very few true hardships in his life, he is the ultimate subject of the “affluenza” defense: “he has never had to learn that there are consequences for his actions, so how could he understand that what he’s saying is more than just words? He’s just new to politics, so he’s learning how this whole ‘Presidency’ thing works.” Trump and his allies have given excuse after excuse for how he and his actions shouldn’t be criticized, that he is just practicing his right of “freedom of speech.” The irony here is that Americans are expected to never say anything negative about the President, an expectation that infringes on the very constitutional right that he and his allies feel they are protected by.
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But what #45 has said in these tweets goes far beyond the “freedom of speech,” insomuch that it directly affects the lives of the people he is meant to protect in the most negative of ways.
“Freedom of speech” means that no laws can be created and no actions can be taken by the government to silence the voice of the people of the United States. “Freedom of speech” does not mean that you are allowed to attack people you don’t like or feel are dangerous without any consequences whatsoever, leading to the destruction of people’s lives as the President continues to protect himself and those who refuse to question him. That is not “freedom” or “independence;” that is fascism, and that should scare a lot more people than it does.
So what is the solution, then? Impeaching Trump would definitely be an important step to removing his voice of authority as it relates to how our country is run. Unfortunately, even if Trump is impeached, that does not remove access to Twitter, his biggest platform for spewing hatred and lies, and his most successful locus of rallying his supporters to do his “passive” bidding. If anything, the more backlash Trump receives, the louder and more dangerous he and his supporters get, feeling that their “new-found” security as the most powerful and most deserving of respect in the United States is being threatened, meaning they have to fight back.
The truth of the matter is, this security of power is as old as the very constitution so many conservatives try to use for their violence, based in white supremacy and a false sense of entitlement to rule over those who are already (and actually) marginalized.
I won’t claim to know the best solution for Trump’s Twitter-fueled tyranny, but what I will say is that we, the people who fight for social justice and want our world to be filled with radical self-love, need to keep true to ourselves and work to dismantle the very systems that allowed Trump to sit in the Oval Office in the first place.
Keep rallying, keep marching, keep calling out the administration on their continued series of lies and violence, keep working to better ourselves and our communities while trying to educate those who remain complacent or apathetic.
Beyond finding ways to elect people to local, state, and federal roles who will help us at the legal level, we have to stand strong against the fascism in our own communities and not buckle under the weight of the continued oppression and body terrorism this administration is forcing upon us.
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Trump might not be able to be stopped, so long as he has a place to go online and spout falsehoods and hatred and so long as people will listen to him in the name of bigotry and white supremacy. Our country’s notion of “independence” will continue to be a joke as long as his attacks are legitimized by his supporters and allies. If we want true “independence” and “freedom,” we will have to work from the ground up, in our various communities, fighting to gain the respect and acceptance that we have never been afforded by our government.[Feature Image: Dark skin individual stands outdoors in front of a building leaning on the wall and looking down at their phone. Pexels.com]
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