Four days after the American Presidential Election of 2016, thousands of people gathered in New York City’s Union Square to protest Donald Trump, the president-elect. This was the fourth day of demonstrations around the country. After first massing at Union Square for several hours, the New York crowd then marched north to Trump Tower.
The demonstration was organized by BlackMatters, a nonprofit news outlet.
|Bernie-Bro, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Bernie Sanders ended his presidential run for the Democratic candidacy in the second week of July, 2016, when he endorsed Hillary Clinton.
So why do I begin this post with a shot of someone wearing an old “movement4bernie” button? First, because I saw this in the crowd at Union Square, instinctively shot it, and liked the photo; liking a photo is essential to each image that I select for my blog posts.
Second, because two weeks ago (mid-March, 2017), a FoxNews poll listed Bernie Sanders “the most popular politician in America.” Bernie’s favorability rating was was 61%, putting him fourteen points above that of Vice-President Mike Pence and eighteen points above that of President Donald Trump.
|Ashamed I, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Ashamed II, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Many Americans feel ashamed because Donald Trump, the man who had just won the election (and now is president), seems the personification of the Ugly American. This term was first used in reference to arrogant, demeaning and ethnocentric behavior of Americans traveling abroad. Then, in 1958, it became the title of a political novel, one result of which was President Kennedy’s establishment of the Peace Corps as an attempt to counter the embarrassing failures of our diplomatic corps.
As to Donald Trump, however, one could make a case for him as the Ugly-American-in-Chief. Vanity Fair ran an article in October, 2016 titled, “Donald Trump: The Ugly American.” Graydon Carter, its author, wrote the following about Trump:
He has offended (and I apologize if I’ve left some group out): African-Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, war heroes—war heroes!—families of war heroes, the disabled, women, and babies. Babies! Through word or action, Trump has promoted gun violence, bigotry, ignorance, intolerance, lying, and just about everything else that can be wrong with a society.
A month ago, a Marist Poll found that its respondents described President Trump’s conduct “embarrassing” by a margin of 58% to 33%.
A week earlier, a New Yorker article titled, “The Embarrassment of President Trump,” opened as follows: “In the past, the nation has had do-nothing Presidencies, and scandal-ridden Presidencies, and failed Presidencies, but until Donald J. Trump came along there hasn’t been a truly embarrassing Presidency.”
Even Bruce Springsteen, in a concert in Australia last month, said that he “was embarrassed to be an American” because of the Trump presidency.
|Trump as Nazi, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
This poster shows an image of Donald Trump behind a lectern dressed as a Nazi SS Officer. Underneath the lectern, in red letters, are the famous, cautionary words of the philosopher and author, George Santayana: Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Trump, of course, is not a Nazi. Moreover, those who make Nazi analogies or invoke Hitler risk undermining whatever is their intended argument and risk appearing ignorant (at least of history). See the cautionary remarks, for example, in Kurt Eichenwald’s Vanity Fair essay of 2014.
On the other hand, even if, last November, this sign might have been condemned as historically inappropriate, it may be justified by events of late. As suggested by Piers Brandon, or Knute Berger, or Marcus Johnson, the White House’s adherence to “alternative facts” parallels the propaganda campaigns of Nazi Germany.
Also, it has recently been shown that Trump’s top counterterrorism adviser, Sebastian Gorka, had sworn a lifetime oath to the right-wing Hungarian group with Nazi ties, Vitézi Rend.
|Then They Came for Me, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
The small, centered sign in the background quotes the famous last line from the confession of Martin Niemöller: “then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Niemöller was a Protestant pastor and critic of Hitler who survived German concentration camps and later gave lectures in which he exposed the cowardice of German intellectuals with versions of this confession:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
|Good People, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Another quotation with a similar message to Niemöller’s is this condemnation of political apathy from around 1770, attributed to Edmund Burke:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.
|Führer Trump, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Even with the existence of Godwin’s Law, a caution against making analogies between Nazi Germany/Hitler and contemporary events/people, several recent political essays have cited the many parallels between the rise of Hitler and Trump. Both men tended to marginalize groups of people, their beliefs and their lifestyles; and, as Maiken Umbach wrote in Newsweek, “both men represent their personal character as the antidote to all social and political problems.”
|Idiocracy Hitler Trump, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
When I saw this sign, I was unaware of the reference to Idiocracy, besides it being clever, new word. Now enlightened, however, I see the connection this sign is making to Donald Trump.
Idiocracy is a 2006 satirical film about a futuristic dystopia in which advertising and anti-intellectualism reign to the detriment of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility and human rights. Nothing could be more prescient than this to America today under Trump!
To most observers, Donald Trump appears to lack all intellectual curiosity. William Astore even began his HuffPost article titled “Incurious Donald…” with these words: “Trump is incurious, ignorant, and ill-informed.”
As to social responsibility and human rights, the Trump White House appears to ignore and trample on them with every move. Another HuffPost article, for example, offers ways to fight for social justice under Trump, while Human Rights Watch provides links to all the ways in which Donald Trump is undermining human rights.
Idiocracy may, indeed, be as worthy a descriptor of the Trump presidency as any other.
|Never Backward, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
This statement by Abraham Lincoln is humorous and self-effacing, qualities that Donald Trump completely lacks. The implication of this sign, of course, is that Trump is walking America backwards. So he is.
He is “poised to destroy the foundations for the last 70 years of American-led peace and prosperity.”
He is taking America back to 1940, which, as a veteran oil and gas man notes, “is not progress.”
He is taking America and the world “backwards on its commitment to fight corruption [which] would be fatal to the global anti-corruption effort.” So writes the co-founder of Transparency International.
Taking the 25th
|Abolish, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
This sign quotes from the 25th Amendment, which offers a way for the Vice-President and the Cabinet to initiate a process to remove a President from office. Articles proposing this possibility have appeared in such serious publications as Foreign Policy and The Washington Post.
But the Republican Party has completely aligned itself with Donald Trump and shows no ability nor inclination to counter him. As Osita Nwanevu, a writer for Slate, states: “The 25th Amendment provision relies on a governing party willing to shoot itself in the foot for the good of the country. Having faith in the Republican Party’s capacity to do this is itself unambiguous, raving madness.”
|Putin’s Puppet, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Speakers’ Corner, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
The Speakers’ Corner, pictured directly above, offered demonstrators an opportunity to address the gathering crowd and voice their opinions. The man standing by the bicycle supplied the microphone and amplifier.
Both the above images, however, feature posters which refer to Donald Trump’s suspicious connections to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. In the words of Michael Crowley, the senior foreign affairs correspondent for Politico, “a spider web of connections—some public, some private, some clear, some murky—exists between Trump, his associates and Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Many pundits have mused that Trump may be “Putin’s puppet,” as noted by the poster in the top photograph. Hillary Clinton stated as much in the October presidential debate, and in January, the political writer and MSNBC producer, Steve Benen wrote a piece asking, “If Trump isn’t Putin’s puppet, why does he act like he is?”
There is no question that Russian intelligence agencies hacked American political entities, in particular the Democratic Party, in an effort to help Donald Trump’s candidacy. By Inauguration Day (January 20, 2017), a joint task force was examining Russia’s espionage activities; that investigative force included the C.I.A., the N.S.A., the F.B.I., and the Treasury Department.
A dossier compiled by the British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, “alleges serious misconduct and conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia’s government,” but its findings have not yet been corroborated.
Nevertheless, what is clear is that Putin’s and Russia’s involvement with the American election is war–“a war of subversion;” one that seeks “to erode our [America’s] values, our democracy.”
The danger is that Trump may simply not understand that what Putin is doing is waging war. Such understanding, one suspects, may be beyond the ken of puppets.
|Marching North: the Band, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Marching North: 4 Posters, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Girl with Green Hair, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Marching North: Man with Camera, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Marching North: Green Mohawk, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Marching North: Man with Stroller, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Marching North: Couple, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Marching North: Two Men, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Marching North: Young Man, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Marching North: Love Shades, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Marching North: Red Coat, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
These eleven photos show a mix of races, a veteran, the young, the elderly, a man pushing a stroller: throughout America, these demonstrations brought out a wide cross-section of society. In reference to these crowds, one Los Angeles observer stated : “If you look around, there are a lot of families out here. That should say something to you. People are trying to teach their kids what’s acceptable.”
In the same vein, Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee referred to these demonstrators as “the white blood cells of democracy attacking unconstitutional actions and a fairly illegitimate president….and here it happens within a couple hours, organically.”
|A Woman’s Revolution, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Well before the election, Donald Trump “awakened a feminist revolution in America.” So wrote world affairs columnist, Frida Ghitis.
Certainly, the Women’s March that took place on the day after the Inauguration brought crowds three times the size of the inaugural crowd in Washington D.C. Women (and men) demonstrated around the world. There was even a protest in Antarctica.
Even as many observers wonder whether this revolt of women against Trump can last, Rachel Thomas, speaking for Emily’s List, reassures them: “there is a movement happening and it is not going away.”
See following photographs for more women on the march.
|Your Tiny Hands, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Hmmm. We seem to have a misspelling here.
|I Am Woman, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Women Unite, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
If anyone is unfamiliar with the reference of the cardboard poster on the left, the explanation will be given in a following section, further down.
|Workers Party, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Spartacist/SYC is a carryover from the Fourth International, which has operated in the United States in various forms over the past eighty years. Given its deep roots in Marxism and the Communist League, it champions a more egalitarian society through the promised creation of a workers’ government.
|Climate Change, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Climate Trumps Wall, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Donald Trump’s ridiculous promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico would be as ineffective as the Maginot Line. And then, this poster exposes its absurdity by connecting it to climate change–a much more pressing concern than cross-border emigration between Mexico and the United States.
Yet, there is an ironic connection between climate change and building a wall, because Donald Trump had wanted to build a sea wall in Scotland to protect his new golf course from rising seas.
Such irony. Deep-down, Trump is aware of the dangers of climate change. Only his nature is so perverse that he only can think of himself, even as he creates policies that threaten to destroy the entire world. And so, to the detriment of all, Donald Trump is the scorpion in the old folktale of the Scorpion and the Turtle.
|Only One Earth, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Whether climate change or nuclear holocaust, human life on planet earth is being threatened like never before, and the American Presidency enjoys an outsized role in controlling these threats. Yet, even someone with the best of business experience is ill-equipped to assume the presidency of a major world power.
Donald Trump’s business record suggests that he is particularly ill-equipped to be president. He has suffered many business failures and has even been called a “bad, bad businessman” recently in a major publication.
|Planet Before Profit, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Very quickly, Donald Trump began to profit from the presidency, and after several months in office, he is clearly not following up on his promises to separate his personal business from the business of the State, to which he was elected.
|Our Inheritance, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
As former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, “we have only one planet. There is no Plan B because there is no planet B.” Given this reality, Donald Trump’s unscientific position on climate change is disastrous and poses dangers to life on earth.
On April 22, 2017–Earth Day–citizens from around the world will be taking part in demonstrations being billed as a Science March. Select a nearby venue here.
American Melting Pot
|What Makes America Great, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
The center poster in the background reads: LGBTQ, Black, Latino, Muslim, Women….We Are What Makes America Great.
Demographic studies have shown that diversity is what makes America great, more dynamic, more vibrant. Diversity is “America’s 21st Century Strength,” to quote the title of one article; “it is after all what makes the US exceptional among the world’s leading nations.”
|What Democracy Looks Like, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Public demonstrations like this one are precisely “what democracy looks like,” as this woman’s small sign states. However, some of the elements of democracy–such as equal political, legal and voting rights–are being threatened in today’s America.
Also, actions of the Trump administration have further challenged American democracy. Among these are “that government officials do not use public office for private gains…and that elections are free from foreign influence.”
|Finally be Equal, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
This fringed, red poster reads, One Day We Will Finally Be Equal.
For an examination of inequality in America, the best and most comprehensive single source to begin with is this one from the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.
|Channeling Chief Joseph, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Chief Joseph was a Native American leader of the Nez Perce tribe in northeastern Oregon. He spoke the words seen on this poster on a visit to Washington, D.C., in 1879, where he pled the case for his and other tribes:
Treat all men alike. Give them the same laws. Give them all an even chance to live and grow…. I only ask of the Government to be treated as all other men are treated.
|Racist Sexist Anti-Gay, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
A Huffington Post article states that “In the weeks following his victory, President-elect Donald Trump has not backed away from the racism upon which he built both his campaign and his real estate business.” It then enumerates sixteen examples of Trump’s racist actions.
Articles by Claire Cohen and by Alanna Vagianos gather the many offensive, sexist comments that Donald Trump has made, while an article by David R. Morse focuses on the many anti-gay members of Trump’s cabinet.
These links will suffice for the many which have covered the same topics.
|Unity Love Respect, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Even though this man’s poster calls for “unity, love and respect,” I think that respect should be the main focus.
To quote from the titles of just four articles (out of many): Donald Trump lacks “respect for the presidency;” Trump “lacks respect [for the military and] fitness to serve as commander-in-chief;” Trump “lacks respect for basic norms;” and Trump “lacks respect for America’s values.”
Form your own opinion.
|No Islamophobia, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Donald Trump has referred to “the hateful ideology of radical Islam…[which mustn’t be] allowed to reside or spread within our own communities.”
These are harsh, inappropriate words coming from anyone. When voiced by the president of the United States, these words strike fear into Muslim-Americans. Stigmatized by the most important man in their country, Muslim citizens compromise their identity and feel forced to act or be someone whom they are not. In other words, for their own safety, Muslim-Americans must now live a lie.
This is a phenomenon that generations of African-Americans have also had to deal with, and which W. E. B. Du Bois referred to as “double consciousness” in 1903. Donald Trump’s embrace of Islamophobia may well be taking America back again–but back to a lesser, not greater, place.
|Immigrant Families, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Immigrants Welcome, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Between his border wall, his travel ban and an increased ICE border force, Donald Trump ignores and rejects the reality of immigration. The New American Economy (consisting of over 500 mayors and business leaders) reveals the enormous benefits of immigrants to the American economy. In 2014, immigrants paid $329 billion in taxes; undocumented immigrants pay over $20 billion in taxes and support programs they can’t even enjoy, like Medicare and Social Security.
In the words of Chicago writer, Parker Molloy, “Without immigrants, we’re sunk.”
U.S. Representative G. K. Butterfield (D, NC) says much the same thing regarding immigrants. He assures us that “the immigrant community is not a threat,” adding, “the North Carolina economy depends on immigrant labor. To remove that source of labor from the economy would be catastrophic.”
To examine the impact of immigration in your state, district, or city, open this link.
|Do Not Oppress Americans, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Oppression is a basic component of Donald Trump’s interaction with people. Some accuse him of running a campaign of oppression, others of using the language of oppression.
One group has even developed an “anti-oppression diet” to counter Trump’s devaluation of so many marginalized groups and to help each of us to cleanse ourselves of the distorted paradigms that he and his daily statements have inculcated in us.
Posters by Hope Gangloff
|Hope Gangloff Posters, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Hope Gangloff’s WTF, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Hope Gangloff’s Trump as Jabba, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
These posters, and the one immediately below, were painted for this event by the New York artist, Hope Gangloff.
Rudy Giuliani as a mummy-come-back-to-life is perfect for a “washed-up politician” who has been described as “a restless spirit, feeding on anger, searching for another body to use.”
In the poster I have titled Trump as Jabba, we see the orange, slug-like creature, Jabba the Hutt reclining on the White House lawn. In front of him, secured by chains, is Melania Trump. To the far right is a young White House intern, being groped by the slug-like Trump.
Melania, of course, substitutes for Princess Leia, and Gangloff’s painting is a fairly direct adaptation from the 1983 movie, Return of the Jedi (Star Wars–Episode VI–Return of the Jedi).
As for Donald Trump, he may not make the grade as a gangster and crime lord, as was Jabba, but he did have ties to the mob. Nor is Trump a disgusting creature, as was Jabba, but at least one person proclaimed him “disgusting” and had it written in the skies over the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and Jimmy Kimmel has shown us how much Trump, himself, loves to use that particular word to disparage other people as “disgusting.”
|Hope Gangloff’s Pussy Grabber, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Pussy Grabs Back
|Pussy Grabs Back I, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Pussy Grabs Back II, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Donald and the Big Pussy, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Mine Grabs Back, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Pussy Grabs Back III, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
The pussy grabber, by his own admission, is Donald Trump, captured on tape in 2005 in conversation with TV host, Billy Bush [edited video, 3:06]. While still on an Access Hollywood bus on the way to meet actress, Arianne Zucker, Trump bragged to Bush: “When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
In no time, “Pussy Grabs Back” became a rallying cry for women against sexual assault and a general normalizing of male sexual aggression. Academics and the feminist movement, starting in the 1970s, named this behavior “rape culture.”
In an article in The Guardian from last October, Arwa Mahdawi reveals how Donald Trump has “built his entire career on the foundation of what feminist academics call ‘rape culture’.”
Just this week, in what can be viewed as callous indifference, at best, President Trump signed an executive order revoking President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order. As announced in an article in the Independent, “Donald Trump signs order making it easier for men to sexually harrass women at work and get away with it.”
And then, just two days ago, Trump publicly supported Bill O’Reilly, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women: “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong,” our President stated.
Tragically, innate nature changes slowly–if ever.
|Misogynist, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Misogyny Drop Dead, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Donald Trump seems to take pleasure in insulting women. He has done so for decades and holds no punches–rarely are his comments veiled or delicate. The national political correspondent, Karen Tumulty, writes that “for decades, Donald Trump has made flippant misogyny as much a part of his trademark as his ostentatious lifestyle.”
Columnist Adele Stan has observed that, “from the beginning, the primary animating force of the Trump campaign has been the candidate’s misogyny.” More recently, she stated: “Misogyny isn’t an incidental part of Donald Trump. It’s who he is.”
This innate contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women, now has carried into Donald Trump’s actions as president. Three days after his inauguration, Trump reinstated the so-called “global gag rule.” One writer titled this act as follows: “Misogynist-in-chief: Trump takes swift action to restrict women’s rights globally.”
|Nasty Women I, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Nasty Women II, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
As Hillary Clinton was answering a question about Social Security in the third presidential debate, Donald Trump interrupted, calling her “a nasty woman.”
Within hours, “nasty women” took on positive connotations around the nation, and led to nasty woman t-shirts as well as a Nasty Women art exhibition in Queens.
|Hate, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Hate was the fuel for Donald Trump’s campaign, and it continued to dominate after his election. Over 1,000 acts of hate had been reported around the country in the first month since his election.
The scope and degree of hatred that has been generated and encouraged by the Trump team has serious implications for the nation as a whole:
for its health, as has been reported in Time magazine;
and for its social fabric, as was put forward last month in a U.S. News & World Report article.
|Bully, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Few would deny that Donald Trump is a bully.
He was a bully as a school kid.
He was a bully as a businessman.
He is doing all he can to be a bully now as president, as writer and editor Harlan Green reveals so convincingly, listing the typical behavior of bullies, and concluding:
|Lies, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Donald Trump has told lies for decades. His lies occupy a category of their own, separate from that of most other people or politicians. To quote journalist and writer Maria Konnikova, “Trump seems to lie for the pure joy of it. A whopping 70 percent of Trump’s statements that PolitiFact checked during the campaign were false.” She then adds that “those who have followed Trump’s career say his lying isn’t just a tactic, but an ingrained habit.”
To have an idea of some Trump lies, open this link to Mary Ann Georgantopoulos’ stunning compilation of eighteen significant lies, all from this year.
Even though Trump may well lie out of habit, he also does so with a political intention to mislead the public, to test his subordinates’ loyalty, and to reveal his power (over mainstream media and political opponents). So argues the philosopher, economist and writer, Tyler Cowen in a revealing Bloomberg View article of this January.
But, there is even a more devious intention to Trump’s lying. In a Newsweek article from last month entitled, “How Trump Lies About His Many Lies,” Robert Reich gives a wonderful analysis of how those “lies,” when repeated, eventually become “disputed facts,” then “controversies,” and then a means to sow total confusion in the public.
Trump’s lies are not merely dishonest. Trump’s lies are insidious.
Not My President
|Not My President I, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Not My President II, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Science, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Not My President III, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Not My President IV, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
Over the years, different groups have rejected different candidates who have been elected president. This is not the first time a group has made the pronouncement, “Not My President.”
However, this may be the most extended and public rejection ever. It is still happening. These photographs, of course, date from November 12, 2016. On February 20, 2017–President’s Day–thousands of people, coast-to-coast, marched in Not My President’s Day rallies. Artists, musicians, performers staged special events, and there were even anti-Trump performances that day in Europe.
What makes the antipathy to Donald Trump so different is that it is not so much about politics and competing political positions. It is about upbringing. It is about values…“a repudiation of his values,” as the blogger Dan Arel wrote.
Alluding to the fact that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 2.9 million, the award-winning writer and feminist, Lindy West had this response to Trump’s Inauguration:
In referring to “art,” “empathy,” a “free press,” Lindy West also focuses on values. I am reminded of “10 Letters to Live By,” a list of values courtesy of Stanford neurosurgeon James R. Doty: Compassion; Dignity; Equanimity; Forgiveness; Gratitude; Humility; Integrity; Justice; Kindness; Love. Most of us were brought up to honor these values, and until the election of Donald Trump, so were all the men who had been elected president of the United States of America.
Donald Trump’s values are the antithesis of these, and if this is not reason enough to say not my president, the third photograph above should suffice. Our president MUST believe in SCIENCE. Donald Trump doesn’t, and so he is endangering the entire world.
With his recent executive order and proposed budget cuts, “Trump has launched a blitzkrieg in the wars on science and Earth’s climate.” So reads the title of an article in The Guardian of March 28, 2017. A major article in the Washington Post also warns that Trump’s budget cuts “will put the safety and well-being of millions of families and companies at risk” and “will ultimately make America, and the world, less prosperous and less safe.”
|Drop Electoral College I, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|Drop Electoral College II, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
The Electoral College was created as a compromise mechanism to create an indirect mode of election for President and Vice President. It may have made sense two centuries ago, among the original thirteen states.
Today, however, the fact that it “violates the principle of ‘one person, one vote,'” and more than doubles the electing power of the residents of some states over that of other states undermines the idea of a democratic America.
Political Scientist, Robert Speel argues cogently against retaining the Electoral College. In his conclusion, he writes: “There is no legitimate reason why a rural vote should count more than an urban vote in a 21st-century national election.”
And so, for the fourth time in two-hundred years, a Democratic presidential candidate lost the election due to the Electoral College system while having won the popular vote.
Voting & Voters
|On Voting I, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|On Voting II, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
|On Voting III, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
I suspect that the sign in the top photograph which reads, Voting Is Not Enough, alludes to the types of problems indicated in the following two photographs: the accurate counting of votes and the suppression of certain groups of voters in several states. However, the irony is that those words, “Voting Is Not Enough,” is the name of a program of the conservative Leadership Institute to train activists for the purpose of getting out Republican votes in battleground states.
Democrats must do the same. In particular, they need to find ways right now to “mobilize voters who usually ignore the midterms.” However, Natalie Reed, writing for The Nation, warns that Trump and his majority Republican Congress, “by doubling down on their voter-suppression tactics…could put the House of Representatives beyond the reach of even an overwhelming Democratic majority.”
The vote itself, however, can be manipulated. The middle photograph with the poster calling for Paper Ballots Nationwide, implies this. J. Alex Halderman, director of the Center for Computer Security & Society at the University of Michigan, warns us that “America’s voting machines have serious cybersecurity problems,” and that, even today, “paper ballots are the best available technology for casting votes.”
The first part of that same poster (in the middle photograph) refers to Election Fraud. The only election fraud in America is that perpetrated by Donald Trump, who is perpetuating his lie that 3-5 million people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton and that “thousands” of people were bussed into New Hampshire from Massachusetts to vote “illegally.” Ari Berman worries that, playing off these falsehoods, the Trump administration is likely to massively intensify GOP voter-suppression efforts, especially with Jeff Sessions leading the Justice Department.
Voting suppression is real in America, and it’s all taking place in Republican-controlled states which re-write election laws in order to disenfranchise minority voters. The editorial board of the New York Times warns that “under a Trump administration, anti-voter efforts could become national in scope:”
|Overthrow, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 201|
|Make Racists Afraid Again, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
It has been argued thatracism, not economic anxiety, is the true base of the rise of the far right which supported Donald Trump; that Trump emboldened and encouraged the racism (and Islamophobia, and xenophobia) of his base; and that Trump “is the first Republican in modern times to win the party’s presidential nomination on anti-minority sentiments.”
There is some truth to this, and certainly the recent racially-insulting nonsense someone like Steve King (R, IA) has been voicing suggests that he (and others) now feel newly emboldened “because he knows the man sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office feels exactly the same way he does.”
However, many Americans who voted for Donald Trump are neither racist or Islamophobic. They are working-class Americans who felt abandoned by the Democratic Party. As Bernie Sanders argues, the Democratic Party needs to better represent that working class–not make them (or anybody) “afraid again.”
Let’s leave fear to its master manipulator, Donald Trump.
In this vein, Nichols Kristof just wrote as follows regarding these Trump voters, “we simply can’t write off 46 percent of the electorate.” He concluded by saying: “Stand up to Trump….but remember that social progress means winning over voters in flyover country, and that it’s difficult to recruit voters whom you’re simultaneously castigating as despicable, bigoted imbeciles.”
|Reorganize, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
This poster is a close paraphrase of Katrina vanden Heuvel’s article of two days earlier in The Nation magazine. In it, she called for “putting forth a compelling vision of fundamental change.”
On the same day, Anne Petermann voiced similar sentiments in the Daily Kos, observing that “the one possible positive outcome of this spectacular disaster [Trump’s election] is that there is no such thing as complacency any more.” Organize, mobilize, transform, in order “to achieve a sane future on this planet.”
|Make America Revolutionary Again, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
To be truly revolutionary, Americans need to embrace what has been called “big organizing,” as defined by Becky Bond and Zack Exley in Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything. “We shouldn’t be surprised if an Occupy Wall Street-style, mass-organized movement arises in response to Trump’s presidency,” they state. It is suggested that Rules for Revolutionaries might become our generation’s political manifesto.
Meanwhile, consult this compilation & guide to the many Anti-Trump resistance movements to find one that most appeals to you.
As these demonstrations show–and there have been many since this one and the previous one that I have documented—America is, indeed, becoming revolutionary again.
Trump & America
|The Face of My America, Anti-Trump Rally, Union Square, Manhattan, New York City, November 12, 2016|
The latest Quinnipiac Poll of April 4, 2017 makes a good case in support of this final poster. It shows that American voters give Donald Trump a 35%-57% job approval rating…and that:
61% say he is not honest;
55% say he does not have good leadership skills;
57% say that he does not care about average Americans;
61% say that he does not share their values.
I would agree that Donald Trump is not the face of my America.
Much appreciate this artistic and historic documentation of these deeply distressing times. You have done so much research with helpful links to back up all statements.
A labor of love for sure.
Ben Asen says
I’m thinking may the Pres have a major stroke while eating his favorite 2 foods…..Big Macs and M&Ms. I kid you not.