Since Trump took office, it feels like every week another high-ranking official gets sacked for menial offenses such as disagreeing with the president or not showing enough loyalty. After the first 100 days, I deleted the news apps on my phone seeking solace from the unstable reality. But silencing the craziness does not change what is occurring, it allows for it to continue and threatens the democratic values of our nation.
As the new slogan of the Washington Post reads “democracy dies in darkness,” thus my own silencing and the sense that many of us have become immune to rash changes poses a problem larger than we all realize.
While members of a president’s cabinet should be generally on the same page regarding policy issues and things of that nature, it feels the agreement and loyalty Trump seeks is unwavering and total admiration. Trump has brought his signature move from The Apprentice to the White House, dismissing four officials including most recently Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and forcing Deputy F.B.I. Director Andrew McCabe to resign just four days before he was set to retire. During his tenure thus far he has also forced resignations from over ten high-ranking officials including Sean Spicer, The Mooch, and Reince Priebus.
Most of these force-outs did not come as a huge surprise to the individual fired, nor many citizens of the nation due to Trump’s constant scrutiny and overt bullying of his colleagues before officially removing them from a position that challenges his authority. After Director McCabe was asked to leave, Trump tweeted “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hardworking men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy.”
While Trump justifies his actions in the name of democracy and the everyday, hard-working American, he acts in accordance to what serves him the best in each moment without thinking about or understanding consequences of his actions. Are Trump’s actions truly serving the values of democracy or has he increasingly barricaded himself in order to protect and ensure a presidential power trip that focuses on the personality cult he has carefully constructed?
Trump has built his brand as a businessman and now a politician on being a straight shooter who is unafraid to speak his mind no matter how vile his world views have become. As a candidate, he built a base on white fragility and the deconstructing of political correctness, two things he has worked to maintain while in office through executive orders and brash rhetoric.
The thing Trump has failed to recognize is that while he attempts to keep his campaign promises and continue his image, he is in fact doing things he heavily criticized Obama for doing and is not weighing all the effects of his decisions such as the way he is handling the “trade war.” Trump’s constant scrutiny of the press and his obsession with fake news as a central role in his personality cult works to undermine the rights of the free press and works in opposition to the protection of democracy by building uncertainty in the population and positioning himself as the sole bearer of truth.
As we progress through this term especially heading into the midterm elections in November, it is important to be educated and engaged citizens. Standing by the wayside is no longer an option, attempting to ignore hard realities has no place in American society anymore.