A lot has happened in the short amount of time since the election and it seems that things we once knew as truths may be in jeopardy. From Donald Glover thanking black people and shouting out Migos during his Golden Globes acceptance speech to Donald Trump criticizing a civil rights icon, the post-election period has been a rollercoaster of racial tension.
Fences, Hidden Figures, and Moonlight have garnered national attention for their beauty, sophistication and all around black excellence. But it hasn’t all been great and with the inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday, it probably won’t get any better too soon. In preparation for the inauguration, here’s a short list of notable events that should be payed attention to.
Donald Trump Cabinet Confirmation Hearings
Senate hearings for Trump’s cabinet selections began last week with his appointment of James Mattis for Defense Secretary, Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, Mike Pompeo for CIA Director, John Kelly for Department of Homeland Security, and Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Starting Tuesday, the Senate held confirmation hearings for Betsy DeVos, nominated for Education Secretary, and Ryan Zinke for Interior Secretary. Wednesday saw Nikki Haley as U.N. Ambassador, Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary, Scott Pruitt as Environment Protection Agency leader, and Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary. And finally, Thursday saw hearings for Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary and Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy.
Some of the Senate hearings thus far have been heated, including Jeff Sessions’, Trump’s Attorney General pick. This is in part because as Attorney General, he is meant to protect and defend all American people and his past-including racial comments that cost him a judge seat- does not inspire confidence that he will do just that. The future of Civil Rights progress is greatly questioned, if not completely hopeless, under his leadership. Ben Carson was also one of the senate hearings that garnered attention and those of Pruitt and Price are sure to be interesting as well. This is because while it is very clear to many people that these picks are not the best for the country, the Senate will still confirm them. A common question has been how the appointees will protect their specified administration from fraud and deceit of the President-elect and no one has yet given a sure answer. Similarly, the choices for these heads are comical in and of themselves. Scott Pruitt, the choice for Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, is a climate change skeptic and has ties to the fossil fuel industry making him a very obvious pick for Trump but a fearful one for the environment. By far, the most questionable hearing has been of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary where it was shown she had no idea of what her job would entail, public education in the United States , financial aid, or even a general concern for the students of this country. Democrats in the Senate ripped into her and exposed her ignorances inciting a hashtag where people could also include their opinions.
Donald Attacks John Lewis
On Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, Donald Trump insulted civil rights hero John Lewis after the representative made comments where he said Trump was not a “legitimate president” and that this upcoming inauguration was one of the few he would not attend since he became a Congressman. Trump responded on Twitter, attacking Congressman Lewis’ district, saying it was “in horrible shape” and “crime infested”. These types of comments from Trump are not new and they reflect on Trump’s little understanding of black politics. He routinely relates black people to crime and poverty, reinforcing dangerous and insulting stereotypes. For all the civil rights progress the United States has made, the fact that few people push back Trump on this shows how much further we have to go to rid our country of these racist assumptions.
Representative Lewis’s choice to not attend the inauguration has inspired other democratic lawmakers to do the same. At this time, there are around 50 lawmakers who will boycott the inauguration in protest. Petitions have been going around in support of this choice.
Beginning of the end of Obamacare
After years of locked and divided government, where few laws were able to be passed because of petty childishness, the Senate has been busy. Perhaps it is because they will soon have a presence in the White House that won’t oppose them. Nonetheless, it’s disconcerting. The Senate has taken its first steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, with absolutely no proposed alternative as of yet. The Senate did this in the middle of the night on January 11th in a way that Democrats cannot filibuster the repeal. There are many petitions going around to halt this attack on people’s livelihoods. It seems like the only thing that will convince Congress will be a large health epidemic or protest which does not seem unwarranted given the fact that around 30 million people are expected to lose their health care.
With the inauguration on Friday, this type of tumultuousness has become exceedingly common. However, there is hope. Many bold voices have been speaking up against a lot of the injustice that has become too normalized during the past few months, and it is guaranteed that the Trump administration will be under a lot of scrutiny. Numerous groups will be marching to stand in solidarity for many different causes that seem to be threatened under the Trump administration, the Women’s March being one of the largest and most popular. The future seems to be getting brighter with young people speaking out , inciting change for a better world. My hope is that this type of injustice will not continue in the next generation and that this injustice inspires them to be the leaders we need.