I didn’t hold out the slightest bit of hope or optimism for the direction of the country since the reality TV host tossed his hat into the ring to become the nation’s 45th president of the United States.
He painted a picture of a political establishment that enriched itself on the backs of decent, hard-working Americans, rhetoric that I know to be hollow when stacked up to actual facts and unassailable evidence. Hint: It’s corporate interests and senior executives who have done very nicely at the expense of everyone else. Politicians are merely at their beck and call.
So how is the 45th going about rebalancing power in favor of the little guy? If his first full work day in office is any indication — not at all. His nominations are making their way through Senate confirmation hearings, and several of the ones in key positions are anything but outsiders. They’re the same old buzzards who have been seething on the sidelines as the country has tried to move forward and actually be a “kinder, gentler nation,” that was painted in pretty prose to prop up an earlier president. The 45th is using his influence to tighten the screws on ordinary people, not relieve their burdens. Once he is done, the establishment — both corporate and governmental — will be just fine. Peep the few executive actions he has taken so far.
- He suspended a pending rate cut to mortgage insurance premiums that President Barack Obama enacted just a few weeks earlier. The mortgage insurance is part of a program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The FHA, part of the same government arm, extends loans to first-time borrowers, or those with poor to middling credit. After the housing crash, the Great Recession and the economic recovery, the Obama administration judged that the FHA’s finances were on solid ground, and they went ahead with cutting premiums for mortgage insurance. Sounds reasonable, right? And if falls in line with what Republicans are always claiming to represent: Giving taxes back to the people. Well, ya boy just decided against that.
- The 45th’s press secretary has suggested that development on the Dakota Access Pipeline might go ahead. You might know that the DAPL is hotly contested because the proposed development site runs through disputed territory that was promised to the Standing Rock Sioux Native Americans. Even a proposed alternate route runs perilously close to the tribe’s main drinking water supply, and opponents fear contamination if the project proceeds. If you believe the United States America wouldn’t, couldn’t possibly knowingly poison the main supply of drinking water for thousands of people, remember what happened in Flint, Mich.
- In the name of “small government,” another favorite Republican mantra he has ordered a hiring freeze across all federal agencies, except in national security, public safety and the military. These things usually lead to greater backlogs, not efficiencies. The IRS is already straining under its burden — which I guess works out for them, since there are fewer tax collectors and auditors looking when people of his ilk look to skip out on paying their taxes like everyone else.
- He reinstated a ban on U.S. funding to foreign groups that discuss, promote or provide abortion services to women. This reeks of a backlash against the Women’s March on Washington. The march a statement in support of women’s rights to attain safe abortion services, and an action to preserve access to other forms of family planning, equal pay, etc. The Washington, D.C., turnout easily eclipsed the middling attendance for the 45th’s inauguration just one day earlier. It also enjoyed an outpouring of support in American cities across the country, and in international cities around the globe — from London to Malawi.
- He signed an order urging his administration to fight the Affordable Care Act as much as possible. This doesn’t have as much executive teeth as much as it reaffirms the Republican party’s desire to dismantle the legislation. How dare the Obama administration give Americans a helping hand in affording health insurance, so they don’t have to mortgage their houses if they get hit with a potentially devastating diagnosis! On this point, and the DAPL, I think this country has shown the depths of moral sickness to which it will sink to preserve the wealth of a select few.
This is only the beginning of tough times for Americans. In electing the 45th, we’ve revealed ourselves to be a pernicious, vicious, beyond miserly people who will stoop to inflicting harm on others if it means that a select few enjoy an unfettered, comfortable life. What a horror, and what a waste of so much human potential. But that “establishment?” The so-called swamp that he said he would drain? Oh, I have a feeling they’ll come out of it just as well-heeled and boggish as ever.