In response to the recent election of Donald Trump to become the 45th President of the United States, the Editor in Chief of The Santa Clara has decided to share her thoughts about the past, present and future of our country.
THE SANTA CLARA
November 10, 2016
Nov. 8, 2016 was a dark day in American history.
Donald Trump is deeply unqualified and underprepared for a public service position and will foster a national environment that is dangerous for minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, undocumented immigrants, disabled people, women and many other of this country’s already-marginalized groups.
Our Electoral College has failed us. Our founding fathers established the system as a check on the people in order to prevent under-qualified individuals unfit for the presidency from being elected. Ironically, the candidate with decades of experience in public service and high-level government affairs won the popular vote, but failed to gather a sufficient number of delegates to win the electoral college vote—the candidate without a single political or public service position on his resume won instead.
Trump has demonstrated a gross misunderstanding of issues pertaining to women’s reproductive health—he has pledged to cut funding to Planned Parenthood and has run on a pro-life platform. Instances of backalley abortions have increased dramatically in states that have attacked facilities and physicians that provide abortions. This could be a reality for the entire nation if he wages a federal war on abortion access, regardless of whether or not Roe vs. Wade remains standing.
It is no secret that Donald Trump holds incredibly racist, xenophobic, uninformed sentiments about many of this country’s racial groups. In his speech first announcing his bid for presidency, Trump declared that Mexicans were “rapists” who bring crime and drugs into the country.
He has called to deport all undocumented immigrants and create a barrier between the United States and Mexico, jeopardizing all efforts in the past few years to give a path to citizenship for many of these individuals. He has also called for a ban on Muslims entering this country, leaving Muslims in fear of wearing hijabs in public and being persecuted for their religious beliefs in a country with a constitution that claims to tolerate all forms of religion.
Trump’s promises echo America’s shameful, racist past of banning certain minority groups from entering our borders on the basis of xenophobia alone. President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, banning the immigration of all Chinese laborers into the country.
He has pledged to drastically cut taxes for both individuals and corporations, which will dramatically decrease funding for public schools, public works projects and other areas that are already struggling from a lack of sufficient federal funds. Financial analysts estimate that his tax cuts will expand the federal deficit by several trillion dollars over the next decade, placing more of a burden on the American public.
Trump is a vocal climate change denier, despite the overwhelming evidence from the global scientific community showing that humans are pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an alarming rate, causing increased temperatures around the globe.
As our polar ice caps melt and species crucial to our ecosystems continue to go extinct every single day due to changing global conditions, he has pledged to withdraw funding for United Nations climate change programs.
He has also committed himself to repealing Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the energy sector by 32 percent over the course of the next 13 years.
Although Trump lacks public service experience, his Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, has tremendous experience in enacting legislation attacking the rights of LGBTQ+ communities, female reproductive health rights, among other important, progressive issues during his tenure as the governor of Indiana.
He signed a law mandating the burial and cremation of aborted fetuses in March. He slashed the state’s Planned Parenthood Funding. He wishes to do away with “Roe vs. Wade,” the landmark constitutional amendment allowing women access to abortions.
He has advocated for the use of public money to fund gay conversion therapy.
In 2015, he signed a bill allowing Indiana business owners to deny service to gay and lesbian customers on the basis of religious beliefs.
Pence is also out of touch and in denial. As a member of Congress, Pence gave a speech on the floor advocating for the teaching of creationism in public schools.
As governor of Indiana, he overturned a state energy efficiency program that was projected to create thousands of jobs. Indiana ranked second for industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the country that same year.
Trump’s partnership with Pence will give him the tools to help ramrod his policies through Congress, both Houses of which will be GOP dominated when he takes office.
Trump has already changed this nation before even taking office—the FBI reports that hate crimes against Muslims rose by 78 percent in 2015, the highest since the post-9/11 era, and experts attribute this alarming trend to the rhetoric popularized and promoted by Donald Trump.
This election sends a message to our children that you will be rewarded, not punished, for being a bully that spews hateful rhetoric.
A Trump presidency will have disastrous consequences for our foreign policy, with the potential to catastrophically damage relations with Mexico and South American countries, among other states. He will have authority over our country’s nuclear weapons arsenal and has the power to make Executive Orders.
He is also slated to appoint a replacement for Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court, and has the potential to change the face of the court as we know it. The Supreme Court is loaded with aging justices. Justice Stephen Breyer is 78, Justice Anthony Kennedy is 80 and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 83.
If he appoints justices sympathetic to his platforms, the nation is in serious jeopardy of experiencing major rollbacks on policies that foster social progress.
Donald Trump swayed millions of voters with his platform that the government is broken and corrupt, claiming that as an outsider he would finally fix the political system.
We do indeed need widespread, systematic change in the way our government operates and functions on Capitol Hill.
Party pressures force members of Congress to spend a substantial amount of their time and energy on fundraising rather than debating legislation.
Congress is deadlocked, and seems to be spending more time naming informal holidays and days of observance like “Falls Prevention Awareness Day,” rather than work on meaningful government policy with teeth.
But Donald Trump is not the answer we have been looking for.
Now is not the time to sit back and retreat into the shadows out of fear.
Even if you do not belong to one of the groups that Donald Trump has targetted in his hateful rhetoric, by no means should you breathe a sigh of relief and go about your daily life.
This election affects everyone. It affects people on your campus, in your workplace, in your community and it is crucial to recognize that.
The fundamental problem lies in the lack of compassion for and awareness of other groups in this country.
Rather than band together to help solve nation’s problems, people look inward and regard others with fear and suspicion, which is an environment that Donald Trump needs to enact his hateful platform as president. If you lack understanding about certain issues that affect minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups, reach out to members of those communities and educate yourself.
Learn about how you can create a safe space and community for individuals who feel unsafe in America today.
If you are passionate about the LGBTQ+ community, volunteer with the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center on the Alameda, and provide a safe space for people to speak openly about their sexuality without judgement.
If you want to support youths struggling to find a place to live, spend some time with the Bill Wilson Center to help combat youth homelessness.
Start attending club meetings on campus for a group or issue you are passionate about. Join a movement. Stage a protest. Treat others with kindness. Don’t make assumptions about people before getting to know them.
Educate your family and friends about the struggles that marginalized groups continue to face every single day around this country.
Speak up when you hear someone expressing a discriminatory viewpoint or when you see someone treating another person unfairly.
As former president Bill Clinton once said, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”
Sophie Mattson is a senior and the Editor in Chief of The Santa Clara.
Articles in the Opinion section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University.