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The transition from Obama to Trump

Jenelle Carlin, Editorial Editor

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President Obama is wrapping up his final few days in office as the country braces for Donald Trump’s inauguration this Friday, January 20. Over the past eight years, President Barack Obama has demonstrated what it means to be a truly great leader through his inclusive policies, patient virtue, and collected authority. Obama’s grace and goodwill will be dearly missed by many across this nation and around the world as his successor, Trump, takes office this Friday.

The results of the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ended with thousands in shock, leading many to protest and demand voting recounts (later initiated by Green Party candidate Jill Stein). The idea that such a hateful and condescending man could be elected to hold the highest government position in the world was sickening for so many, which is quite understandable considering his numerous episodes of poor behavior. Infamous for his infantile tantrum tweets, Trump went from a funny political joke to the 45th President of the United States, much to popular dismay.

Throughout his lifetime, and especially on the campaign trail, Trump has exhibited numerous red-flag behaviors that led many to feel as though he is unqualified for the position. For example, an audiotape in which he can be heard claiming that as a celebrity you can “do anything” to women (referring to non-consensual touching of female genitalia) sparked outrage, as many women were astounded he could still be a popular candidate to run for office after being, obviously, a sexual assaulter. He has also been known to insult, judge, and grotesquely comment about women based on their outward appearance.

Aside from his unacceptable behavior with women, Trump’s businesses have been noted, despite his many denials, to go bankrupt. Sources citing six total bankruptcies within the Trump Foundation undermine Trump’s many arguments about how “truly great” he is at business. Not surprising in the least. Despite proclaiming to be a “self-made man”, Trump acknowledges he started off with “a small loan of a million dollars” from his father.

His campaign was funny at first, and we all enjoyed the memes that went along with his outrageous behavior. But now he is our next president, and it is no longer a laughing matter. Donald Trump poses serious threats to a significant portion of our country’s populous; African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, women, and low-income families, just to name a few. But his words, and future actions, extend far beyond the people who make up this country. Even if one puts it aside (which really should not be done, not even for a second) the rude and out-of-line commentary Trump directs towards minorities in America, one comes across an equally as taxing issue: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump’s rhetoric has regularly repeated the same lines spouted by Russian propagandists – for example, that Russia didn’t hack into the Democratic National Committee emails and is not interfering in the American election, or that President Barack Obama started ISIS. These statements are entirely false, and soon-to-be President Trump is not likely to stop spouting false Russian propaganda. Trump has clearly adopted the disorienting propaganda technique wielded by Putin that was characterized as a “firehouse of falsehoods”. Trump has threatened to sue women who accuse him of sexual assault, to limit reporters’ access to him and his events, and to change libel laws to make it easier to punish news organizations that report facts about him that he doesn’t like. These are the policies of someone, like Putin, who wants to control his constituency rather than protect a democracy.

Following the election results, allegations were made that Russian hacking was used to give Trump the upper hand in an election he most assuredly should have, and would have, lost. FBI investigations are still continuing leading up to the inauguration, but Trump claims to have had “no affiliation with Putin”, citing that he has “never met the guy”. Regardless of what he claims, because we know him to be a pathological liar, Trump did have some form of contact with Russian officials, as it was found that Russian hackers had exploited the DNC’s private emails as a way of interfering with the election. For the first time a foreign adversary has had an overt hand in electing a U.S. president. Such action can only be attributed to Trump’s willingness to sacrifice our country’s resources and progress for the sake of his and Putin’s benefit.

The alliance between Trump and Putin that blossomed on the campaign trail is likely to become a full working partnership between the Russian government and the American President, threatening traditional U.S. alliances in Europe and around the world. And without Trump’s tax returns – unprecedented secrecy for any presidential candidate in the past 40 years – we still do not know the extent of Trump’s financial indebtedness to Russian oligarchs.  Given his worldwide business ventures and investments from Russians and foreign banks, his conflicts of interest are likely to be enormous.

Despite his intentions with regard to Putin, Trump is surrounding himself, like a stockade fence, with a cabinet full of millionaires and billionaires who are selfish-minded and who will shield, encourage, and profit from every move he makes.  Soon we will see the important transparency that has always surrounded the presidency pulled away by a huge group of high power executives. This is our new national problem…OUR “President”, of all things. This is not a joke! This is one of the most serious problems we have faced thus far in terms of our nation’s governance.

For the next four years, a man whose ego is fatter than his wallet will run our country; whose response to criticism is to lash out by way of inaccurate statements and childish tweets aimed at belittling those he feels threatened by. Heaven forbid someone bursts his bubble— a taste of reality might do him some good before he takes the highest-ranking position in the world. Four years with Trump (yes, only four), and the “right” will still claim that this was not Trump’s fault; “programs initiated by Obama,” they will say. No matter how much evidence you provide, they remain steadfast in their, quite frankly incorrect, beliefs. Some will still not believe that this is Trump’s fault, because they’re so emboldened by the idea of “winning” this fraudulent Russian-controlled election.

The worst, unfortunately, is yet to come. Trump can’t wait to get into that “war room” and take somebody (or as he claims, ISIS) out; get his ‘Bin Laden’, so to speak. It probably won’t help or matter to you and your nation, he just needs and craves this power, and he will use it in any way he can. He has the potential of risking the lives of our nation’s best to rescue and guard his foreign relations. He will put our troops into armed conflicts that we have no business being involved in. He will see these things as obligatory through the “mandate” he thinks he has won. As President, Trump has said he would end the Iran nuclear agreement, which will have the effect of immediately allowing Iran to resume its nuclear program, adding greater instability to the already unstable Middle East. Trump has also called on Japan and South Korea, while on the campaign trail, to get their own nuclear weapons, which could lead to greater global proliferation of nuclear weapons. He is legacy-driven. He wanted to be in the headlines, and now he wants to be in the history books. He will be, but not for anything grand. This is horrifying. This is our problem as a nation. This is not a joke.

After a few years, there are so many directions this could take. It is impossible to conceive the way it will go. It will be a political, social, and economic devastation we may never recover from (at least not anytime soon). If recovery is possible, it will take generations to recover and rebuild. This is the largest multifaceted crisis this nation has faced since the Civil War. I can assure you, it is nothing to take lightly.

As the next president, his decisions will influence all kinds of foreign nations through agreements like NATO and the UN, which he has denigrated on multiple occasions. He has prepared for an immediate end to the Affordable Care Act, thus stranding 25 million U.S. citizens without their health insurance. He has also suggested, repeatedly, a mass deportation for, potentially, millions of undocumented workers and other immigrants. Amidst the many other truths he has condemned as “lies”, global warming may just be the scariest. Believing it to be “Chinese nonsense”, Trump has claimed that no action will be taken towards reducing global warming, and other environmental threats. Possibly even an American withdrawal from the latest global agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.

He sees his election and upcoming presidency as a path to greater riches, and (of course) re-establishing Russian connections. He is the greatest travesty ever to befall the American presidency, and he will most assuredly wreak havoc among our and foreign nations.

The worst aspect of this entire situation, though, is perhaps that he comes after one of the greatest presidents in all of American history, if not the greatest. Despite major criticisms throughout his eight years in office, Obama handled both this country and his presidency with a style and grace that is not too often seen in major diplomats. He is such a powerful speaker who made his initiatives in the interest of the people, not himself, and has thus proven himself as an incredible leader. He took office during one the roughest depressions and recessions since the 20th century, and flipped it upside down. As of now, the unemployment rate is at a record low, and the percentage of uninsured Americans is the lowest it has ever been thanks to his Affordable Care Act. Despite efforts by Donald Trump’s team to degrade Obama and his incredible efforts and initiatives over the past eight years, his commitment and stellar performance as president has not been lost to the American people. In his farewell address last Tuesday, the crowd was heard chanting “One more year!” His presence in office will be dearly missed. As for Trump, four years cannot go by fast enough.

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