I wrote this essay, prompted by Donald Trump’s photo-op visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, for The Guardian. Here’s part of the essay:
It doesn’t take a genius to see that, literally from the moment he began his campaign for president, Trump has nakedly pursued a politics of division, vilifying one vulnerable group after another, and then setting them up mercilessly against his primed and angry voters. The initial villains in this immorality play were Mexicans and Muslims. When announcing his run in June 2015, Trump claimed that Mexico “sends” its “rapists” and “criminals” to the United States, and by December 2015, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country. By January 2017, he was in the White House, and Mexicans and Muslims – myself included – began an anxious period of dread and worry.
The anxiety hasn’t ended. It’s only expanded to others. Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) separates asylum-seeking children, often from Central America, from their parents and places the children in horrendous conditions of detention. Nor does it stop there. A shocking number of US citizens have also been wrongly placed in immigration detention. Transgender Americans have seen the Trump administration seek to roll back their civil rights, even after the supreme court barred sex discrimination against LGBT individuals at work. In 2017, he repealed the “Fair Play and Safe Workplaces” order, which had offered key protections for women while at work. I could go on.
So, who exactly is safer under Trump? African Americans? Hardly. Despite what the president claims, Black Americans are still killed by the police at a much higher rate than white Americans, with some studies reporting a rate as much as 3.5 times higher. Daca recipients? They live in profound fear of a second Trump term, when he’ll be able to rewrite his anti-Daca order well enough to satisfy the courts, just as he did with the Muslim ban. Muslim Americans? Many have been cruelly separated from their loved ones due to Trump’s Muslim ban. What about working Americans? About 12 million have lost their health insurance due to this administration’s failures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Where is their safety?
Perhaps the only non-Trump and non-billionaire group whose safety seems assured under Trump is the far right. “Rest in peace, Jay,” the president tweeted, expressing his condolences for a member of a far-right group who was killed in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday night. It’s as if, under Trump, the far right has all the security of a protected class.
You can read the full essay here.