Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Even as President Donald Trump continues his first-ever foreign trip to the Middle East and Europe, nations across the globe are awaiting his delayed decision on whether or not the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that is signed by 196 countries. His choice for inclusion or withdrawal will impact billions of people around the world -- especially those in the most economically vulnerable countries. Trump recently said he will wait until after the G7 Summit in Italy later this month to announce his decision.
Long before Donald Trump's 2015 presidential announcement speech, in which he castigated and disparaged Mexican and Middle Eastern immigrants, the United States already had the disgraceful distinction of maintaining the largest immigration detention system in the world. To make matters worse, a considerable number of the detention prisons are run on a for-profit basis by private prison companies.
For decades now, Congress has failed to find a way forward on immigration reform. All sides seem to agree that we have a problem, but to date, no headway has been made. Why? While our leaders continue to posture and bicker, millions of families have been torn apart by our government's detention prison and deportation system. With the ascendancy of a corporate businessman as president, things have only gotten worse.
President Donald Trump, in a move that has surprised many, has chosen to delay a crucial climate-based decision until after the G7 summit at the end of May. During his presidential campaign, Trump made repeated promises to either remove the US from, or renegotiate the US's position within the Paris Climate Accord. That he now appears unwilling to commit himself either way on this promise may indicate differences of opinion, and climate-based uncertainty within a previously anti-green administration.
In the midst of escalating hostility toward non-Christians, there are signs of Jews and Muslims forging alliances. Jewish advocates for religious inclusion made their presence felt at the airport protests against the Muslim ban, while the bipartisan Muslim Jewish Advisory Council is lobbying lawmakers to condemn hate crimes against religious minorities. Louder Than Words, an artist-activist collective focused on combating domestic violence and sexual assault, exemplifies this upsurge of Jewish-Muslim collaboration.
We all want our top investigative bodies to be headed by competent officials. We also all want to ensure that these officials can freely investigate other branches of the government -- including the presidential administration -- without fear of retribution. How can we tell whether Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey was meant to ensure competent leadership of the agency, as Trump claims, or to prevent Comey from digging deeper into Trump's potential connections with Russia, as many Democrats claim?
"Without a clear objective and mission, and therefore a clear exit strategy, it doesn't make sense to continue to pour manpower, military assets, and billions of dollars into Afghanistan," said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran and currently serving as a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, in a statement. In 2013, she visited Afghanistan, where she insisted stability in the country can only be achieved by the Afghan people themselves.
During his January 20, 2017, inaugural address, Donald Trump triumphantly proclaimed, "The people became the rulers of this nation again." A Trump presidency, he stated, would begin the process of "transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the American People." Rather than enhancing the power of the people, however, the essence of the Trump administration has become evident after its first 100 days: to weaken democratic norms and institutions that would resist the administration's ultimate goal of shifting public wealth and power into the hands of a state-supported oligarchy.
Donald Trump's (in)famous presidential campaign slogan was "Make America Great Again." However, based on his rhetoric and the policies that his administration has enacted so far, his agenda may be better understood as an attempt to make "whiteness great again." The way out of the crisis of the 1970s through the imposition of neoliberalism brought about a reduction in what race scholar David Roediger refers to as "the wages of whiteness."
May is mental health awareness month, full of associated hashtags and promotional campaigns. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has called on Americans to "become inspired, informed, and involved." The Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, who helped create the Mental Health First Aid Act, has stated publicly that May is "the perfect time to break the silence and discuss what we can do to move mental health in America forward." Others are encouraging folks to "talk to their doctors."