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If all the climate-change denial coming from the Beltway these days tells us anything, it is that the politicians who espouse it are also likely to champion policies that further entrench social and economic inequalities, as well as undercut civil liberties. Let's look at a few examples.
Ever since the election of President Donald Trump, the world has been assessing every statement and tweet to weigh the potential policies that will come from this new administration. Climate scientists and renewable energy industry leaders are worried -- as are many others, especially about the impact human activities have on our climate. Trump's statements on climate change, renewables and China deserve scrutiny.
In a press release issued in December 2015, Donald Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." He defended his proposal in speeches and interviews, arguing that stopping Muslims from entering the US was necessary to protect the homeland from terrorism. In one of his first acts in office, President Trump signed an executive order barring the entry of all Syrian refugees indefinitely and halting all other refugee admissions for 120 days. The order also prohibits the admission of non-citizens from seven majority Muslim nations for 90 days.
The insidiousness of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is that it was governmentally sanctioned, with no one willing to take responsibility once it was fait accompli. While criminal charges have been filed, there have been no convictions. It represents a clear violation of environmental policy, including the 68-year history of governmental water protection by the Federal Water Pollution Act (1948) and Clean Water Act (1972), and can only be described as an act of terrorism.
In a 1921 article in Good Housekeeping by then Vice President-elect Calvin Coolidge, he described the "only acceptable immigrant" as "one who can justify our faith in man by a constant revelation of the divine purpose of the Creator." Those who were racially "divergent" who "do not mix or blend," the "idle," "the shiftless" and "the good-for-nothing" are not welcome. He asserted that "the retroactive immigrant is a danger," and that "he needs to be deported." This was at a time when new Americans were associated with extremist ideology and terrorism.
Much is being made of Donald Trump's recent statement that he respects Russian President Vladimir Putin. In an interview with Bill O'Reilly aired before the Super Bowl, Trump stated in response to O'Reilly's quip that Putin was a killer: "There are lots of killers. We've got a lot of killers. What, do you think your country's so innocent?" Besides the sin of equating US violence with another country's and, consequently, violating the unwritten law of "American exceptionalism," Trump seems merely to be guilty of telling the truth on this issue.
While the sanctuary campus movement gathers momentum, leadership at two Pennsylvania higher education institutions -- Bucknell University and Pennsylvania State University -- have chosen to hedge their bets by playing both sides of the issue. On the one hand, their presidents petitioned the incoming Trump administration to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, in order to appease student activists, progressive faculty and undocumented immigrants.
The Army Corps of Engineers is now saying they will ignore the requirement for the Environmental Impact Statement and give permission for DAPL to drill. The Indigenous Coalition of Standing Rock is calling on us to rally the world today in an international day of emergency actions to "disrupt business as usual and unleash a global intersectional resistance to fossil fuels and fascism." Immediately call your local legislator. Leave a million messages. Call the number for Army Corps of Engineers. Donate to the legal defense of Water Protectors.
It's heartening that liberal publications around the country are now an emboldened vanguard against Donald Trump's racism and misogyny. But the inequalities that allow hateful attitudes to thrive run deep in these same news outlets -- embedded in the lack of byline parity in the country's most prestigious newspapers, magazines and websites. It's also been a curious thing, since the election, to hear top-gun editors offer mea culpas about the fact that they'd ignored the concerns of the disenfranchised, white male voters who helped get Trump elected.
America Farm had Old Majors who dreamed of a land where the "animals" were free and equal. These Old Majors drove out their oppressive farmer, created a democracy and wrote "commandments," including that all animals are created equal. America Farm wasn't perfect, by any means, but it improved with time, and soon became the most prosperous and highly educated farm. The dream, however, had always teetered on an uneasy balance.