By Greg Allen
When I turned on my television last Friday and put on Fox News for the inauguration, I saw two men. One of whom I have a great deal of respect for due to eight years of serving our country with nothing but sheer class. The other a man whom I have very little respect for. A man who has come off as a power-hungry racist misogynist.
As I watched the two men, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, shake hands and converse prior to Trump being sworn in, I thought for a moment that maybe I’ll be wrong. Maybe Trump will serve our country admirably. For just a moment I thought, “what if he’ll be great?”
Then he opened his mouth, and my faith was crushed.
Let me put it this way: Trump’s speech was horrifying to me. Was it surprising? Not entirely because most of what he said was a reiteration of previous speeches. But I was appalled this time more than ever because this time it felt so real. He had actually just become the leader of our nation, the President of the United States. Yet nothing changed. Foolish of me to think that something would have.
Throughout his speech, I feel that Trump made a number of inconsiderate and uneducated comments. Here are a few that bothered me the most.
- “For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.”
Let me ask you this, Mr. Trump. How can a military be “depleted” when the Pentagon spends nearly 600 billion dollars a year on the American military? According to National Security reporter Eric Schmitt, that’s more than is spent on the next six largest world militaries combined. So tell me, Mr. Trump, how “depleted” is our military, really?
2) “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first.”
Pick. Up. A. Book. As President of the United States, Trump should be well aware that America First is the name of the anti-Semitic group that tried to convince the United States to appease the world’s most infamous leader Adolf Hitler. Look, I’m a 20-year-old college student studying journalism, and even my history is good enough to recognize the baggage that the phrase “America First” carries. Be better, Donald.
3) “Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same freedoms…”
Do we all enjoy the same freedoms whether we are black or brown or white? The answer is no, we don’t, and Trump is apparently too blind to see that. Please tell me how unarmed black men continue to be killed by police. Tell me, Donald, why do people of color have to endure longer prison sentences than white people? Why is our government made up of an overwhelming amount of white men? I’ll tell you why. Racism. Because black people do not enjoy the same freedoms as white people.
4) “We will make America wealthy again.”
Well on my count America has never been wealthier. America is, according to the World Atlas, the ninth wealthiest nation in the world. The problem is where that wealth is being distributed. And if Trump implements his tax plan and doesn’t tax the rich at higher rates, the poor will continue to suffer.
My biggest problem with the speech is not his actual words, but it is the fact that now he is in a position to make his words a reality. And, to everyone who said, “He won’t actually be able to do anything because of Congress and checks and balances,” you better realize that that’s not exactly true. I held on to the hope that he wouldn’t actually be able to do anything for quite some time. But now I realize that is not a reality. Trump has already reinstated the Mexico City Policy which ultimately defunds international groups like Planned Parenthood. He has already given the green light to resurrect the Keystone pipeline that will affect the lives of many who live in the Dakotas. He is also planning to lift the ban on black site prisons, promoting torture tactics. He does have the power to make changes, and less than a week into his presidency we have seen some of those changes come to light.
But I remain hopeful. I’m hopeful because of the millions of people across the world who marched in the women’s marches. I’m hopeful because there are so many people right here at Springfield College who want to share nothing but love and a sense of community. Do not let Trump take the love away. Fight for your rights. Stand for what you believe in. Educate and empower. You are strong, no matter who tries to steal your freedoms.