Family and friends have asked me why I have chosen to speak out so publicly this past year about my religious and political views. I’ve thought a lot about that question. Why do I feel compelled to speak out so forcefully?
In one week, our president-elect will be sworn into office. In my opinion, he has sown seeds of division in our country that have now ripened into full-fledged dissention. You can either agree with him or he will label you an enemy and start calling you names and tweeting about you. Sadly, I’ve decided that he’s not going to change once he becomes president.
It seems that Trump loves to play with us. He says things like we are going to build a wall and that Mexico will pay for it. People either cheer this idea wildly or think it is the stupidest thing he has ever said. Of course now that he may have to make good on his promise, he says that Americans should pay for the wall and he’ll get the money back eventually from the Mexicans…who said they will never pay for it! It is like a game for him. And we let him play us.
He does the same with Russia. He praises the leadership of Russian President Putin, the former head of the KGB, who murders his own people who disagree with him. Then he says that our president is weak. He used to get a rise out of his followers by promoting the “birther movement.” He was so convincing that the majority of his followers still believe that Obama was not born in Hawaii and that he is a secret Muslim. In fact, he used these lies to attract people to himself. Those who opposed Obama bought it hook, line and sinker.
Back to Trump and Putin. He seems to be stacking his cabinet with pro-Russian candidates, one of whom is a candidate for Secretary of State even though he was awarded Russia’s highest honor by Putin himself. Seriously, you cannot make up stuff like this. I really cannot believe why anyone thinks that Russia wants to be our friend. They are out to destroy our world view and to challenge us as the world’s leading super-power.
And Trump’s ethics violations…too numerous to mention. Eventually that is what I think will eventually topple him. He believes that he is above the law…that he can literally do anything he wants and no one will challenge him. Remember when he said that he could stand on 5th avenue and shoot someone and no one would care. Are these words of a president? Statements like that just boggle my mind but his followers don’t seem to care. In fact that say: “That is just Trump being Trump.”
Have we forgotten that no one in our country is above the law. No one!
He makes such outrageous statements. Remember when he said that he was the only one who could save us? Really. That man sure has an inflated ego that will eventually pop when he is forced to face reality. Its only a matter of time. But we will have to suffer his presence until finally he collapses under the weight of his own ego.
But why does all this bother me so? Its not just his talk that I find offensive. I’ve seen other braggarts in my life and even worked for a few. What gets to me is how his actions will affect the lives of vulnerable people that come into his line of fire.
Very soon, perhaps even in the next few weeks, he and his party will take away access to affordable health care for millions of people. It was supposed to be repeal and replace…but evidently they haven’t come up with a plan so they will just repeal and let people suffer the consequences. Personally I think we should take away the health care of members of our congress until they come up with a plan.
Trump and his cronies in Congress, who seem to be falling in line despite all the things they said about him during the election, will also start attacking Medicare and Social Security… all this in order to give tax benefits to the wealthy who already appear to be doing just fine.
In the midst of all this, mother earth will also suffer. Our environmental protections will be dismantled and our move to clean energy will be hampered. Clean air and water will become negotiable. And our national parks will be sold off to mining companies with little regard for the impact that decision will have on wildlife and natural resources.
The list of my concerns could go on and on, but these are some of the major ones.
But why am I speaking out now? Because it hurts. It really hurts. Things that I hold dear seem to be on the chopping block… and I feel unable to stop the process.
I have been an advocate for women’s rights my whole life, and now I see that Trump wants to take away a women’s right to make her own health care decisions. Some of his advisors and even his Vice President have said that perhaps women don’t belong in the military, especially not in combat. This is after we have elected distinguished military women combat heroes to congress!
I am also speaking out now in order to try to protect the gains we have made in civil rights over the years. Equal access to education and good jobs and housing has afforded many to have the opportunity to climb up the ladder from poverty to the middle class. Trump and congress not only want to move the ladder, they want to dismantle it. And there are people cheering them on!
I have seen the plight of immigrants today…those fleeing from political turmoil overseas…just as my grandparents did over a century ago. I have also witnessed the lives of migrant workers who have been recruited from Mexico and Central America to come to our country (often illegally) to harvest our crops, construct our houses, mow our lawns, and work at low paid jobs with the hope of providing a better life for their children and grandchildren. Now they are being demonized and threatened with deportation.
I fear that Trump and his cabinet and administration will move to set back the clock…to a time before women’s rights and civil rights and efforts to control pollution and protect our land.
It is for all these reasons I have chosen to speak out in public…on Facebook and on social media, and also in private conversations. I have lost a few friends because of this. I’m sorry for that but I just cannot be silent in the wake of everything that is happening in our country.
What undergirds my personal and political beliefs is the Baptismal Covenant that I entered into soon after my birth, and which I reaffirm every year at the Easter Vigil when I am asked this question: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” And I answer: “I will with God’s help.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 294)
And so I will speak out…so help me God.