Trump’s Attack on America

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Trump’s Attack on America

Forget liberal anger—Trump agenda hurts all Americans

Supporters of President-elect Donald Trump stand for the National Anthem during the "Make America Great Again Welcome Concert" at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday, January 19. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP)

As "President" Trump assumes the Oval Office amid historically rock-bottom public support, the clatter of partisan battling and liberal anger clutters a harsher reality.

This moment isn’t about how mad liberals and progressives are, and it’s not about which party is best for America (they both profoundly suck even if one less than the other). It’s about the very real pain and suffering about to be inflicted nation- and world-wide, on the kinds of “ordinary people” to whom Trump appealed with his nativist xenophobic faux populism. Real people's lives, not rhetoric or party agendas. Real people. Many of them—especially working-class and poor people and immigrants—suffered plenty under Obama, and many more are about to suffer far worse under Trump.

"This moment is not about liberals and lefties being angry—it’s about real, concrete harm, and Trump’s full-frontal assault on America and the world."

President Trump’s policies and appointees roll out daily attacks on everything from public education to immigrants’ and workers’ rights, to basic environmental sanity and our shared ecological and economic future. In response to liberal attacks, the standard Trump defense will be: “look at those whiney spoiled liberal elites crying about my strong tough love.”

Sad!

Except for this unalterable truth: Trump’s rhetoric and policies attack everyone in America, save for corporations and the rich. Seriously—everyone, even Trump supporters themselves. After all, they drink water, breathe air, work on job sites that are about to become far less safe, have children who require public schooling and an environmental future.

Think for a moment about what it means—to real people in real life—to reduce and privatize regulations and enforcement of safeguards for workers and the environment. It’s not about "cost savings" or "less bureaucracy"—it’s about our air, our water, our workplaces. Our wages. Our healthcare (from life-threatening emergencies to prevention). Our safety on the job. Our environment—the one we all need for our future survival, to say nothing of the planet itself.

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

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Trump supporters, other than the super-rich, will suffer like everyone else. "They" may despise liberalism (as do many on the Left), and espouse "less government" and "less taxes," but in the end (and very soon) they will pay through the nose like everyone else for the astronomic human and fiscal costs of Trump’s policies. Just think about the costs of emergency room visits and acute care and life-threatening illnesses that will result from the end of Obamacare—the very same untreated and preventable problems that existed with greater frequency before the ACA.

"[Trump supporters] may despise liberalism (as do many on the Left), and espouse 'less government' and 'less taxes,' but in the end (and very soon) they will pay through the nose like everyone else for the astronomic human and fiscal costs of Trump’s policies."

Trump supporters, other than the super-rich, will suffer along with liberals, progressives, moderates, lefties, independents and others, when Trump and the Paul Ryan-led Congress gut the social safety net (already withered and tattered by both parties). Trump supporters who are unemployed and poor will desperately need food, heating and electricity assistance, government anti-poverty programs that help people survive and, at least sometimes, rebuild their lives.

Trump supporters, other than the super-rich, will feel the direct real-life pain of Trump’s infrastructure proposals, larded up as they are with corporate welfare tax breaks instead of actual real jobs and actual real road and bridge repairs that are so desperately needed.

Trump supporters, other than the super-rich, will suffer the loss of democracy—even if they applaud it at first—stemming from Trump’s assault on press access and basic accountability. The many Trump supporters who proclaim the Constitution’s primacy will suffer upon finding their man ignores accountability and transparency, bullies press and protest and other First Amendment freedoms, and routinely scoffs at constitutionally-driven concerns about due process for both individuals and government bodies.

This moment is not about liberals and lefties being angry—it’s about real, concrete harm, and Trump’s full-frontal assault on America and the world. We can least afford such destructive regress in this time of desperate ecological upheaval (climate change and species eradication) and radical inequality, hunger, and poverty. And those least able to afford this fresh round of punishment—the poor and working-class and middle-class, many of whom voted for Trump—are about to suffer disproportionately under the policies of a President and Congress that are, in fact, disastrously elitist and non-populist.

Sad! Indeed. Everyone other than the rich and corporations will suffer. So let’s hit the streets, and the airwaves, and the op-ed and letters to the editor pages, and the comment threads, and the letters and calls to Washington—today, and every day, from here on out. The lives of real people, and the planet are at stake.

Christopher D. Cook

Christopher D. Cook

Christopher D. Cook is an award-winning journalist and author of Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis. Cook has written for Harper's, The Economist, Mother Jones, The Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere. See more of his work at www.christopherdcook.com.

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