January 20th, 2017, a Friday. I woke up, but I couldn’t move. Now as a person that has lived with mental illness for the past 5 years, this was nothing new. I took my medication and tried to start my day. This feeling of dread didn’t go away. But then I realized it was the day I had long attempted to avoid, the 45th president’s inauguration.
To make things fully transparent, I feel I owe it to those who read this to know a bit about my political standings; just so arguments and counter-arguments are without confusion on where I stand. Per the scale of the political compass, I fall within the “Libertarian Left” quadrant with exact coordinates at “Economic Left/Right: -8.0 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.26”. I am a very liberal minded individual that supports a humanist society above all. Categorically I fall in a spectrum of “Democratic Socialism”. To explain it to a layman as comedically as I can, if I were to meet the 45th president of the United States of America, he would consider me the Anti-Christ. My views are exactly why I could not face that Friday, because I feared not only for myself, but those around me, and this is why you should be afraid as well.
As a 17 year old currently attending high school, I tried my best to keep an open mind regarding what may or may not occur. But when in an inauguration speech, the first he gives officially as our president, he violates church-state separation on numerous occasions, refers to school systems barely hanging on a budget as “flush with cash”, and relies on a nationalistic fervor that hasn’t been present since the Postwar Boom Era; I develop doubts.
Church state separation, while not directly stated within the Constitution has been reiterated by multiple presidents including but not limited to: John F. Kennedy, William Howard Taft, and Thomas Jefferson. Now while this wasn’t written in the Constitution, it was stated throughout the Supreme Court case of Reynolds vs. United States. In the verdict of this case, the supreme justice stated that Jefferson’s idea of a wall of separation “may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.” Now this separation has not always been preserved by prior presidents, but this does not give our newest Commander in Chief the justification to violate a constitutional implication.
During his speech, our president can be quoted as saying that “...we as Americans have an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge, and the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.” I thankfully am in the position where I have a presence on an advisory committee in the Redlands Unified School District (LCAP) that monitors the funding of certain programs that affect all grade levels K-12. This along with being in a student in two different school districts growing up, I can affirm that this statement of being flush is false. Ask any teacher in public schooling if they have ever had to dip into their own pocket to buy supplies for the class out of necessity or food for the students that fall between the cracks of their school district’s distinction of who is and isn’t poor enough to not have to pay for basic sustenance. By appointing someone who believes that these same public teachers are overpaid, who has never attended public school, never taken a student loan, and supports the presence of firearms in schools due to the threat of “grizzlies”, President Donald Trump has not garnered much support with his plans to appoint Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.
President Trump is valid in saying that there are young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge. He is correct in saying that gang and drug related crimes have stolen too many lives and have robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. But what does he plan to do about this? The infamous “War on Drugs” has caused a trillion dollar expenditure that has resulted in the legalization of marijuana and various DEA Schedule I and II drugs being tested for medicinal value in treating PTSD. While gang-related violence has seen its lowest numbers in recent years due to successes within the ATF, these numbers do not accurately reflect where the largest amount of youth at risk are located: urban cities. School districts do receive additional funding from the state to create as well as fund programs to help these children labelled as “subgroups”. The numbers support this, by educating rather than imprisoning, we the people are lowering these numbers year after year. Yet this method is still supported by box-tops due to how “flush with cash” our education system supposedly is.
The Postwar Boom was the era from 1949-1959 in which American spirits and nationalism was at a high due to the rapid economic expansion following WWII. This era was considered the “Golden Era of Capitalism”. This was also a time where we the people were divided by class, color, gender, religion, and political ideologies. While a caucasian billionaire (financial status unconfirmed due to lack of tax information) would love to return to this time, anybody differing in the aforementioned class, color, gender, religion, and political ideologies who would find themselves struggling then, would not like that to return. This return to a single national identity that attempts to wipe away ethnic identities is what has resulted in problems such as Islamophobia, homophobia, and misogyny to name a few. If our country was built by the blood, sweat, and tears of these people who have gone unnoticed and unappreciated for so long, who are we to try to limit them to the rights and privileges that they have earned after investing so much for so long?
But to give hope to those who are worried after reading this, I have one last piece of information for you to keep in mind. In the United States of America, we do not elect kings and we do not elect dictators. The election is the job interview that the country holds for a public servant. We the people of the of the United States, in order to create a more perfect union, are the bosses. He is a public servant to the people, he is our employee. If he does not do what is best for us, it is the job of the people to alter or abolish not only his presidency, but those in power who support a potential for destruction of what we hold dear.
But then again, this is just my opinion.