When Donald J. Trump assumed the highest office offered in American politics two and a half years ago, he did so much to the shock and disappointment of many Americans. As a newly minted Republican, he had run against one of the most astute, skilled politicians to ever hold office, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She had served as First Lady to the 42nd president, was a former United States Senator, and a former Secretary of State under the 44th POTUS, Barack Obama.
Hillary Clinton was the presumptive heir to Obama’s revered throne, but Trump’s game was built on something shameful from yesteryear’s political atmosphere: fear, racism, and anger. Throughout the Trump campaign, and now presidency, the world has watched as he’s lessened and twisted the power of the office—transforming it with his platform of sexism, misogyny, bullying, racism, and xenophobia. He has used social media as a means of conveying his erratic opinions, many of which are without merit, facts, or basic grasp of the subject at hand.
President Trump has continually focused his ire on the Democratic Party as a whole, lashing out petulantly at nearly every prominent member, while the members of his own party encourage this behaviour by ignoring his dangerous rhetoric and reckless policies. As of late, the president has turned his focus to prominent political players who all happen to be people of colour. Several newbie Congresswomen, elected in 2018 and known for criticising the president, have caused Trump to become even more unhinged. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Presley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, known as The Squad, have all spoken out against President Trump’s administration, bringing attention to its disturbing policies and practices regarding immigration, thoughtless foreign policy measures, reckless dialogue about minorities, and its overwhelming disdain and contempt for women’s issues.
When the president attacked these women recently, he made clear that his foremost motive in disparaging their character was the fact that they are women of colour, as he told them emphatically to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” His misconstruing them as being un-American was based on their names, their backgrounds, and his inability to regard anyone of colour, especially women of colour, with any respect or understanding. President Trump has used this playbook many times, as his go-to is to criticise someone based on race, and in many cases, gender, when he is not enough of a political heavyweight to fight judiciously on policies.
"His misconstruing them as being un-American was based on their names, their backgrounds, and his inability to regard anyone of colour, especially women of colour, with any respect or understanding."
- Donna Taylor, Common Truth
When running against Hillary Clinton, for example, he utilised every dirty, underhanded tool in his toolbox in order to secure the votes of citizens he knew would not tolerate a reality in which a woman was leader of the country. The race and gender cards, used against these four congresswomen, are along the same vein, as the origin of their names and their backgrounds are not accepted by his base—a fact he discovered during the 2016 campaign, and has continued to exploit. Those who generally side with his Trump, such as Senator Rand Paul, decided to jump on the race-baiting bandwagon recently, by offering to send Congresswoman Omar back to Somalia, the country in which she was born, in an effort to make her appreciate the United States. This same proposition, however, hasn’t been made to any non-minority woman who opposes the Trump Administration.
Attacking members of an opposing political party is not new; underhanded tactics have always been used to support arguments. But in contemporary politics, following the election of the first black president over 10 years ago, many believed the country was finally on an uphill trajectory towards equality. Those entering today’s contentious arena, however, must be prepared to once again be repeatedly attacked on their beliefs, their gender, and their race. Partisan, dogmatic discourse exists, but there was an understanding that a level of civility would at least be maintained by the leader of the country. The existing environment promotes divisiveness, and intolerance, with unseemly acts being openly displayed and enthusiastically practiced and condoned by the President of the United States and his supporters. Politicians around the world encounter dangers daily, many of which are unspeakable in nature, but America was at least seen as attempting to be better. That view has now been altered substantially, while hopefully not forever, but at least for a time. The leader of America promotes an exclusionary white nationalist, white male agenda-only, and God bless anyone who falls outside of that narrow realm.
With over 15 years experience in communications, publishing, and policy, Donna’s past research, as well as her concentration on issues involving basic rights and inclusion for women, have caused her to work actively for the equality of women.