I have claimed many times since November 8, 2016, that the election of Donald Trump to the presidency would have little impact on straight white middle-class Americans like me. Add “retired” and “male” to that description, and I seemed even more insulated.
Until yesterday…and what has to have been the most awful, most depressing, and most fallacious inaugural speech ever presented to the citizens of a democratic country. In a rambling message that kept looking backwards—as if the spirits of the four presidents seated behind him were chasing him with pitchforks—Donald Trump painted a picture of a non-existent America, then announced himself the messiah who would restore its lost glory.
The end of carnage, he promised…but the violent crime rate, which rose slightly in 2015, is lower than at any time since 1984.
For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry…but the largest American companies have made a killing through globalization. The profits have not been passed down to the workers. He has no plans to do so.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world…but most jobs have been lost to automation. They’re not coming back: they don’t exist.
…the very sad depletion of our military…but we spend $600 billion a year on our military, more than the next six largest militaries combined.
From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first…but as Teresa May is learning in England, a robust economy cannot exist solely within the borders of any country.
We will make America wealthy again…but America has never been wealthier. It is the disproportionate accumulation of wealth in the rich that has hurt the average citizen. Many of these 1%ers will now settle into government leadership. They won’t change things
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America…but allegiance to an unjust government has historically proven disastrous, and equating honest protest with a lack of patriotism is now, and always has been (as Samuel Johnson said) the last refuge of the scoundrel.
In the end none of us is safe from the beliefs espoused in that address, not the marginalized, the objectified, or the forgotten. The importance of today’s Women’s March cannot be overemphasized, nor can it be thought of as a one-time occurrence. This battle against the false image of America will not be won on a Saturday in January, but on a daily basis. And the so-called safe people—who it seems are no longer safe—don’t get a pass.