As the sun rose on that ninth morning of November most of America woke with heavy heads and grieving hearts; bewildered and dazed. As the initial shock wore off, it gave way to dread, the kind of feeling one gets when you let a bull into a china shop. We have been through just over one hundred days of President Trump and those fears have materialized – the last three months have seen a President revel in his newfound power; signing unjust and oppressive executive orders backed by an administration flexing its muscle by rolling back vital federal protections, introducing bill after bill that reeks of bigotry and malevolence and trying to dismantle key regulatory agencies. Trump’s vision for America calls for the EPA’s budget being slashed by 31 percent and he plans to do away with clean air and water protections and programs that deal with climate change and costing the agency over three thousand jobs. Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator says he does not believe human action contributes to climate change and Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director, considers climate change programs “to be a waste of your money." And as we have just seen, nothing unites Republican Congressmen more than their passion to deny healthcare to Americans who need it most; excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions and giving States the ability to opt out of community rating which requires insurance companies to charge the same price to everyone who is the same age. These two rules alone will make healthcare essentially unaffordable for the sick, especially the poor among them. The older, sicker and poorer you get, the less worthy you are of healthcare, according to our Republican representatives. No one seems to be safe from the brutal assault of Trump and his Republican administration; the poor, women, children, immigrants, the LGBTQ community have all been on the receiving end of cruel and callous legislation. Emboldened by their President, states have begun championing Religious Freedom and Conscience Rights bills; including HB 3859, HB 1923 filed in the current Texas Legislative session. These bills masquerade as protections for religious freedom, all the while seeking to allow the government, individuals and businesses to discriminate against people, including but not limited to, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual and Queer Americans. SB 6 and HB 1362 disguised as a safety and privacy measure vilifies and alienates Transgender people by portraying the community as dangerous and predatory; it disallows Transgender Americans the use of public restrooms that align with the gender on their birth certificate, denying them their dignity, their right to freedom and equality. SB 4 looms menacingly over the immigrant community, indiscriminately targeting people of color with no exemption for children allowing for them to be questioned about immigration status. With programs like VOICE that encourage people to report crimes committed by undocumented persons in their neighborhood, and seeking to authorize local police act as ICE agents, the administration is angling to create mistrust and disharmony among communities. Trump and his congressional leaders have presented their plan for our country and it is not pretty. We have a President and an administration that is at war with the American people. In its elemental form, this war will consist of battles between good and evil. Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” The American people have demonstrated, with groups like Indivisible, the Sister Project and Women’s and Science Marches, that they will not stand by and do nothing. This is sure to be a long and monumental struggle and we must rely on our morality and shared humanity to guide us through; let us treat each other as we would have ourselves be treated, let us fight to protect laws that reflect what is best in us and eliminate those that are a threat to the cherished ideals of equality and fraternity. Together we will resist those forces that seek to instil fear, sow discord and division and promote intolerance by focusing on values we all hold dear - love, mutual respect, fairness and kindness.
-Authored By Nikki Watts