As usual, Trump is unpopular, with 67% of people in a Gallup poll thinking that foreign leaders don’t respect him. Not a huge shock considering the welcome extended to foreigners residing in the country Trump is currently running into the ground.
The New York Times reported on the 11th of February that “Donald J. Trump’s arrival in the White House has spread anxiety, frustration, fear and resistance among many of the two million non-political civil servants who say they work for the public, not a particular president.”
Which begs the question, when the boss is bad, what do staff do?
Some, like Sally Yates, have refused to carry out orders they say are illegal. Others like heads of the state department Patrick Kennedy, Joyce Anne Barr, Michele Bond and Gentry Smith quit rather than work for Trump, though there were rumours that they were fired.
All American diplomats overseas were. There is a change of diplomats when there’s a change of government, but usually extensions are granted. This is for convenience in some cases such as those with young children or until the position can be filled due to sensitive situations diplomats deal with. Not under Trump. Inauguration day is a fire sale and all diplomats must go.
EPA scientists were trying not to get fired while trying to ‘slow-walk President Trump’s environmental orders.’ Others in the Digital Service became scared that they would be required to do work that was against their moral codes. One reported to the New York Times that when they heard Steve Bannon’s staff position “…she realized their combined technological prowess would be harnessed for a new purpose.” Queue the music from Jaws. No really. Gabrielle Martin, a trial lawyer and 30-year veteran at the Denver office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is actually referencing the film when describing the dread she and her colleagues feel. “People are just wary — is the shark going to come up out of the water?”
Yes. Yes it is.
A letter of dissent was signed by 1000 staff members was sent protesting the Muslim ban, which was clearly ignored.
Welcome to the America of raids, ‘deportation forces’ ICE checkpoint fears and deportations of dangerous criminals such as a mother with American children, a man working his job at target, and detaining hundreds of people in what can only be called racial profiling checks. This is around the time when some bright spark will suggest it’s easier for immigrants who look a bit too immigranty to appear legal to the authorities, to start wearing some identifying badge to let ICE know that they are the good immigrants, with papers.
The same bright spark might also pipe up that if immigrants who might be profiled for being a bit too racial carry papers around with them to prove that they are the right kind of immigrant, then it will just save time and authorities can get on with deporting the mother’s and retail workers that are the ‘bad’ immigrants.
What with being afraid to go to work, school, ride buses or go into public places, there are few immigrants left who aren’t the terrified kind that are in the market for an attic space to hide in for the next four years.
Scott Surovell, Virginia state senator heard that the uptake in enforcement is frightening schoolchildren, who may stay home because “They don’t know if their parents are going to be taken away.”
LGBQT people are also eyeing up attics after Jeff Sessions was made Attorney General. Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda legal says of him “The chief lawyer of the United States is now someone who has devoted his whole life to obstructing civil rights…”
Exercising those rights on the 11th of February was The Black Cat protest in the same location and on the 50 year anniversary of the protest outside the gay Black Cat Tavern which ended in police brutality 2 years before the Stonewall riots. This year an officer shook the hand of the organiser of the original protest, Alexei Romanoff, and thanked him, and two openly gay officers spoke to the crowd. Progress has been made in the last 50 years, progress the LGBTQ community does not want to see disappear in the next four years.
Robin Tyler, going through the courts to have her pre-proposition 8 marriage recognised told the crowd “We’ve survived mental institutions, we’ve survived penal institutions, we’ve survived behavior modification. We’ve survived our children being taken from us. We’ve survived our parents throwing us out of our houses. We’ve survived losing everybody to AIDS. We’ve survived everything. And we sure as hell will be able to survive Donald fucking Trump.”
With the rapid negative changes affecting America and the rest of the world it’s worth remembering what we have survived. Let’s hope we are all as resilient as Robin.
References (because the truth and where it comes from is important).
Graham, D., (2017, January 26). Trump’s hollowed-out state department. Retreived from www.theatlantic.com 9.58pm 12.2.2017
Hirschfeld, D., (2017, 5 January). In break with precedent Obama envoys are denied extensions past inauguration day. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com 10.24pm 12.2.2017.
Reynolds, D., (2017, 11 February). DOJ files brief undermining protections of transgender students. Retrieved from www.advocate.com 11.01pm 12.2.2017
Ross, J., Davis, C., and Achenback, J., (2017, 12 February). Immigrant community on high alert fearing Trump’s ‘deportation force’. Retrieved from www.stuff.co.nz 9.14pm 12.02.17
Shear, M., and Lichtblau, E., (2017, 11 February).’ A sense of dread’ for civil servants shaken by Trump transition. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com 9.49pm 12.2.2017.
Shepard, S., (2017, 11 February). 5 numbers that mattered this week. Retrieved from www.politico.com 9.34pm 12.2.2107. \
Tico Times Staff, (2017, 18 January). US ambassador Haney to continue in his post. Retrieved from www.ticotimes.net 10.30pm 12.2.2017
Andra Jenkin co-wrote Double-Edged Sword- The Simonne Butler Story, and contributed to New Zealand Anthology of Women’s Comics ‘Three Words.’