Reviewed by Jackie Finley
This isn’t a book review, but rather encouragement to read a booklet recently published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), America the Trumped: 10 Ways the Administration Attacked Civil Rights in Year One. It is a short read, just 27 pages, but an excellent summary of how the current administration is trying its best to send the United States back in time to when being poor, non-white, non-Christian, gay, Muslim, or an immigrant meant second class status, limited access to full benefits of American society, and at times, blatantly disenfranchised or abused.
As the booklet explains, Trump “promoted an Alt-Right agenda” (p.4) in a least ten ways, each described in a short chapter: Promoting White Nationalism; Slashing Civil Rights Enforcement; Revving Up the Deportation Machine; Banning Muslims; Attacking Voting Rights; Shredding LGBT Protections; Encouraging Police Abuses; Reviving Debtors’ Prisons; Undermining Public Education; and Eroding the Rights of Students with Disabilities. As I reviewed the booklet, similarities with Nazi-era Germany came easily to mind. The chapter title, Reviving Debtors’ Prisons, seemed right out of Dickensian England.
Every reader will find several issues that personally resonate with him or her. While all of Trump’s antics offend me, I was especially upset with the chapters that dealt with his attacks on public education. As the product of public education and the daughter of a hard-working public school teacher, I believe that once quality educational opportunities are limited only to those who can afford expensive private schools, we are a potentially doomed society.
America the Trumped points out in no uncertain terms that Trump is self-focused and money-fixated, and determined to hang on to his “base” at all costs. He has little regard for those Americans who are poor or have limited opportunity to experience the “American dream.” As Trump states, “I don’t like poverty. Usually, there’s a reason for poverty. Do you want someone who gets to be president and that’s literally the highest paying job he’s ever had?” (p. 23; quoted from The New York Times, Nov. 28, 1999).
To me, that is a ridiculous – and offensive — question. A far more important question is: Do we really want a president with that misguided mindset running this country?
For more information on America the Trumped, go to splcenter.org.