Friday 27 January 2017

After a week

I don't even know where to start with this. It's been a week, and if there was any doubt that this would be anything but a dismantling of established rules, of values, of human decency, they have all been blown away. If anything, the only amazing thing about all of this is how quickly things can be utterly destroyed. But as always, it is also true that only being concerned now is a sign of privilege (and the police reaction to the marches across cities was subdued specifically because of the participation of many white men and women).

In seven days, the Trump administration has lied about the number of attendees at the inauguration, gagged the social media accounts of government agencies reporting facts (some of the censored facts hint at where the administration will go in regards to climate science), started to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (which literally keeps many Americans alive), and signed executive orders to stop refugees from Syria and several other countries (many of which have been affected by US military campaigns). He is attempting to continue the halted construction on the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines which run through native territories and threaten water safety. He reinstated a gag rule that forbids American non-profit organisations to include information about abortion when they provide essential health care abroad, which has been shown to lead to more, and unsafe, abortions.
Millions of people have protested against a President who is mired in personal conflicts of interest, and seems driven by a hurt ego to retaliate against anything and anyone he disagrees with. Experts are trying to figure out what the new world order will look like if the US reorients itself alongside Russia and against the European Union. Trump is still talking about building the wall, even though some of the suggestions about how to pay for it could tumble the economy into complete chaos (and if he does build the wall - and reinstates tariffs - , what does that mean for NAFTA?).

In short: this administration does not care about facts, or science, for that matter. It considers the media an enemy. It pursues policies that are specifically threatening people who are already sick and struggling, and it is already, after just one week, dismantling policies that protect women's reproductive health. This administration has no regard for the established international order, for international organisations, for any conventional conception of economic and trade policy. For now, Democrats have done little to nothing to establish any kind of meaningful opposition - but are reported to have decided on a scorched-earth strategy.

In all of this, it is important to remember how easy it is to look back on history and see the breaks, and how very hard it is to see them appearing as they are happening (even though the rapid speed of all of this - one week! - makes it hard to even consider using the term "graduate"). Nothing about this is within normal parameters, nothing about this calls for a quiet period of assessing the situation and giving this authoritarian nightmare a shot to dismantle every single step ever taken away from the racist, misogynist, sexist, trans- and homophobic world of the last century. 

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