Hold your loved ones a little closer today. If you have children tell them they’re loved more than you usually do. Stay off social media if you can help it, and enjoy the company of someone you truly care about.
Those are the only bits of advice I can give you today that will make an immediate difference in your life. Because, in the wake of a mass shooting at a school in Florida, which took the lives of 17 individuals, change that will prevent such an attack in the future will not be immediate.
Republicans in Congress and the current president won’t take any action on this latest mass murder, which only took minutes to carry out. We shouldn’t be surprised — the debate on “bump stocks” following the Las Vegas mass killings didn’t result in change, either — but we should certainly be outraged.
These children did not deserve to die. Yet lawmakers in Washington and across the United States are willing to let more remain in harm’s way, all because they’re beholden to a gun lobby that pays them huge dividends to defend their market, and punishes them dearly in primary elections if they step out of line.
True leadership wouldn’t allow the NRA or any other gun lobbyist organization to stand in the way of what’s needed. There may be an inherent right to owning a weapon for protection — but that right is not absolute. And surely, a law which makes it easier to buy an AR-15 rifle than it is to buy a small handgun is a law that needs reconsideration and revision.
Will such a change come? It’s not likely with this set of lawmakers currently in office. And that’s why a change in leadership is sorely needed, now more than ever, to protect the lives of our loved ones.
Donald Trump has been consistently inconsistent, especially when it comes to how he judges others versus how he responds to others judging him. That could end up doing great harm to our democracy.
The American people, once again, witnessed the absolute grossness of the president’s character over the weekend via his Twitter account. Although he made many disparaging remarks on Saturday, one tweet especially sticks out: his insistence that members of his administration, who are alleged to have engaged in acts of grotesque abuse against their significant others, were given unfair treatment.
“People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Trump wrote on Saturday morning. “There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
Trump’s tweet was a continuation of a statement he made on Friday regarding the departure of Rob Porter, who left a position as White House staff secretary last week amid allegations from two ex-wives and another ex-girlfriend that he physically and emotionally abused them.
Trump wished his former underling well. “He did a very good job when he was in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career,” Trump said, adding, “He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent.”
It is disgraceful and tactless for Trump to suggest women making accusations against his officials are stating “mere allegations,” which suggests the president believes they're making the whole thing up. These women have offered documented evidence proving their accusations are legitimate. Citing “due process,” however, Trump completely ignores these women’s claims, dismissing them without consideration, in both his verbal statements and online.
Yes, we are a nation of laws, and yes, due process must be respected. But due process is a standard for a courtroom, not a presidential cabinet, and in light of overwhelming evidence contradicting his statements, it’s apparent that Porter was not a good person to have around.
Yet Trump seems to almost prefer to surround himself with people of very questionable morals and values, and chooses to ignore allegations of wrongdoing when they present themselves in some very obvious ways. This specific defense almost certainly has everything to do with allegations of abuse that follow him personally: Trump sees a bit of himself in Porter (and others like him), and rushes to his defense because it's essentially a defense of Trump.
His remarks are also highly hypocritical, as many users on Twitter have rightly pointed out. Trump wants due process for those closest to him — but for others who may oppose his political beliefs, or those whom he holds contempt for, it’s a commodity that he frequently chooses to ignore. In other words, due process is a value that matters to Trump, but only when it can be used to his own advantage.
There’s a storied list of examples to choose from that exemplify this — Trump’s insistence that the Central Park Five be given the death penalty (even after they were found to be innocent of all charges); his conspiratorial belief that Barack Obama was born outside of the United States, and thus not eligible for the presidency; and even his vociferous skepticism of the FBI, exemplify how Trump is more than happy to sling accusations against others, even without having a lick of legitimate evidence backing up his assertions. And if that's not enough to convince you, just hearken back to the 2016 campaign, when he celebrated chants of “lock her up!” against his political opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump rarely, if ever, corrects his accusations when he’s been proven wrong, either. Although he’s since said his remarks against Obama were a mistake, he never actually apologized to the former president for making them, and in private some have said he still maintains the errant claim is true.
In another example, this past week an investigation by federal officials into the death of a border agent found no evidence of an undocumented immigrant being responsible — a claim that Trump made at the time of the agent’s death, but for which he has not yet corrected himself on being wrong about.
In suggesting that his administration officials deserve due process while exhibiting his preference of denying (or wishing to deny) others the same courtesy, Trump demonstrates a desire for something truly nefarious: an inconsistent American democracy. Sexual, physical, and emotional abusers have no a place in the Oval Office — and to defend those deplorable actions, while attacking others using baseless pieces of “evidence,” is abhorrent behavior for any president to engage in.
It’s also a dangerous precedent to try and establish. Consistency is a bedrock principle of a democratic free state. Suggesting that the rule of law should work one way for some and a different way for others may lead to the erosion of a free and just society — a potential transition that would disturb most Americans, but apparently not Donald Trump.
The best way we can honor our soldiers is not by having a gigantic, costly parade for them through Washington D.C. The best way to honor them is to not allow Donald Trump to use the military as a prop to further his nationalistic goals.
Let’s consider for a moment Trump’s tirade against NFL players who he said dishonored the military by kneeling in silent protest, which it should be emphasized were done to highlight racial injustices in America. Does anyone with a reasonable mind truly think Trump was sincere in his chastising Twitter rants?
It’s hard to believe so, especially after watching video of him during an actual singing of the national anthem at the college football championship game. Trump flubbed the anthem, singing at some parts and stopping at others. It’s widely assumed, following that horrid performance, that he doesn’t actually know the words to the Star Spangled banner.
It’s more likely that Trump was insincere about his motivations for attacking black NFL players, using his base’s natural instincts to respect the flag in order to score political points. And that’s largely how I view his plans for an elaborate parade supposedly honoring U.S. troops.
It becomes more difficult to argue against the idea that the president is using nationalism to further his agenda when you consider that his initial budget, which he proposed last year, cut significant funding to programs meant to help veterans.
Here’s an idea: instead of spending potentially tens of millions of dollars in order to have an elaborate parade, spend that money on the troops themselves. Make sure that when they come home, they don’t just see they’re respected, but they feel as much, too.
Let’s not kid ourselves: Trump’s scheme to create a parade for the troops is really a means to a different end, one in which the president hopes to capitalize on nationalistic sentiments. That’s dangerous territory to wade in, and we should not take these plans lightly as they’re sure to move forward in the months to come.