It’s hard to know what to write after this awful, strange, demoralizing and frightening week. It would be easier if it were more than just one in a seemingly endless series of weeks like this. I’m exhausted. Don’t you feel it, too, this bitter, dragging exhaustion?
I’d love to be writing a column about Connecticut’s increasingly depressing budget situation, or maybe about how the Yard Goats are drawing well, or the fact that the state mercifully picked someone other than Amtrak to run the new Hartford Line commuter rail. But what happens in Washington is so omnipresent, now, and is set to impact so much of our lives that it’s impossible — even dangerous — to ignore.
And sure, it’s personal now. But wasn’t it always?
On Tuesday Republicans in the Senate voted to open debate on a bill to tinker with Obamacare — a bill that could just be a straight repeal, a sort-of repeal and replace, or something else entirely. None of the people in the chamber actually knew which it was going to be! That is so out of the ordinary, so wrong for any democracy, that it’s an insult to the Constitution, the founders, and the institution of the Senate.
Why’d they do something so utterly destructive and irresponsible? Because Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States, wanted a “win,” and had been going around publicly threatening senators who didn’t deliver.
It seems normal now, doesn’t it? But a year ago it would have been unthinkable. The president shouldn’t be a braggart, a liar, and a bully. He shouldn’t be on Twitter trying to goad his own attorney general into resigning.
And he shouldn’t be making policy pronouncements, especially cruel and vicious ones, on Twitter — without warning anyone in his administration. On Wednesday Trump reinstated the ban on transgender people serving in the military. “After consultation with my generals,” Trump tweeted, “… the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender [sic] individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
This is absurd! Trans people were allowed to serve openly starting last year, and there have been no reports of any kind of disruption. Trans medical care is relatively cheap compared to a lot of other routine surgeries, as well.
But what Trump is saying here, and he’s saying it either with malicious intent or completely thoughtlessly to his base, is that trans people are a burden no matter where we might be. We are unfit to serve our country, we are nothing more than a distraction, and we are to be shamed out of public life.
Tell me that’s not what it says. Go on.
Worse, it turned out later that he’d simply reacted impulsively to news that funding for his ridiculous, racist border wall was being threatened because some transphobic members of Congress didn’t want the Pentagon to fund transgender medical care. He wouldn’t let the lives of American soldiers get in the way of the shiny toy he’s chasing. He didn’t even bother to inform the Pentagon.
And please do note that in that sentence, he referred to American military leaders as “my generals.” This is yet another outrage. “This is a nation of laws, not rulers,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, in a statement. “While the president is the Commander in Chief of the military, military leaders do not serve him alone. They took an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution, not any one person.”
In short, Donald Trump is acting as if he were king.
Trump is not fit to be president, not even a little bit. He’s brought shame on us, thrown the legislative process into chaos, and poured gasoline on the fires of hate and bigotry everywhere in this country.
He must go. He must be impeached and removed, to protect our democracy and way of life. Republicans who fail to understand that this is their duty to the Republic are cowards.
The problem is what happens after that. The hate won’t go away, and Trump won’t disappear from view. I ventured into The_Donald, a cultish, Trump-dedicated subsection of the vast, popular website Reddit, and read through thousands of skin-crawlingly awful comments full of hate and bile about transgender people following the ban.
That’s our country. This kind of hate has always existed, but because of Trump and everything that led up to his election, it’s much more out in the open than it’s dared to be in my lifetime. It’s big, and getting bigger.
What do we do? How do we stop it? After Trump goes, which he must, how will we find some way through this fire to a better, more stable, and more free country?
I wish I knew.
In the meantime, President Trump and all those who are choking on their own hate, I am trans, I am here, I am a patriotic American, and I’m not going away.
Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.
DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.