It seemed like a dream, watching Donald Trump take to the stage and become the President of the United States. In most movies Trump would fit the role of a villainous character perfectly, and the rain that flooded down as he spoke was the perfect pathetic fallacy. But this isn’t a dream. Donald Trump is now arguably the most powerful man in the world, with the ability to wage wars, drop nuclear bombs, and influence international thought.
Throughout history, inaugural addresses have set the tone for the type of leadership the new President will provide. They send a message not only to the American people, but to the world about what type of country America will become. Messages of friendship and hope are often portrayed, with clear plans to inspire and change the world for the better.
The threats against [Trump], especially those online, challenge democracy and the will of the American people.
This was not the case with Trump. For the American people his speech was potentially inspiring. He made clear that he was a move away from the establishment, arguing politicians have protected themselves in the past at the cost of improving the lives of the average citizen. Thought-provoking as this may be, it is quite worrying that Trump is unable to see the clear improvements to civil rights, gender equality and healthcare that past Presidents and governments have put in place. Rights, equality and the availability of healthcare are crucial to a modern day country, and it is worrying that they may be lost in the United States. Indeed, The Washington Post has actually stated that Trump’s speech has no factual basis with regards to his claims about politicians. There is no evidence to suggest that presidents protected their own wealth at the cost of the nation.
When discussing immigration, the new President appeared to contradict himself. He claimed to be promoting a unified country no matter how long the citizens had lived in America, yet he highlighted an incredibly nationalist viewpoint. His constant references to jobs being lost in America to foreign countries are actually based on questionable evidence. The amount of manufacturing jobs in the United States increased by over a million under the Obama administration. Furthermore, Trump products themselves are manufactured in at least 12 different countries according to The Washington Post. Trump clearly suggested that he would turn America’s focus inwards, which threatens the global trade system, and seems to evoke values against those of the modern world. Whilst these may seem appealing to Americans themselves, from an international perspective it is the opposite. Nationalism has often posed dangers in history, with our interlinked economies now acting as a barrier towards conflict. Trump’s promotion of this ideal is worrying.
The worrying nature of many policies promoted by the new President has led many to question his safety. Whether you love or hate Trump, his safety is important. If anything were to happen to him, it would be very dangerous, as America could become divided.
However, a different type of threat has also grown against President Trump. The internet hacking group Anonymous issued a warning ahead of the inauguration. The group, who have taken on enemies such as ISIS in the past, claimed he would “regret” the next four years of his Presidency. Anonymous called to their followers via Twitter to use their hacking skills to expose any potentially compromising information they could find about Trump. Strangely, this was ignored by Trump before his inauguration, despite how he often uses Twitter to rebut such threats. The group had declared war on him last year.
As much as Trump has said and done things which are against modern values, it would be against the principles of democracy for any external body to get involved. He has been elected by the American people as their President, and therefore President he will be. I strongly disagree with many of his plans for the United States, and his promotion of ideas which threaten races and genders that are not his own. The threats against him, especially those online, challenge democracy and the will of the American people. Their political system may indeed have flaws, as he gained less overall votes than Hillary Clinton, but within the rules of the American constitution he ran and won a successful campaign. To look at it positively, his inauguration was a celebration of democracy. An unexpected candidate became President, despite the extensive opposition he faced. Therefore, I would suggest that we should now judge Trump based on the type of government he runs, rather than what happened in the campaign.
This is not to say there is nothing to worry about. Because there definitely is.
This is not to say there is nothing to worry about. Because there definitely is. Hypocrisy, racism, sexism, lies- the list is endless. But the next four years cannot be lived in anticipation of the next controversial act of the President. Whether or not Russia intervened in the campaigns, Donald Trump has become President through the democratic system. He has spouted endless ideas of what he plans on achieving, and has contradicted himself on numerous occasions. He also would have to gain the support of Congress if he actually plans on making such controversial changes, with their full support being unlikely.
Whilst we must therefore accept his Presidency as legitimate, it is important that the significance of the values that he threatened in his campaign are made clear. The various Women’s Marches that took place around the world following the inauguration displayed the extensive support for gender equality around the world. Peaceful protests send important messages to those in power, that the people will not stand down to their rights or equalities being removed. They can crucially rally support within Congress to oppose any radical plans Trump suggests, and are an effective means of making sure the Trump administration takes into account the voices of Americans. His campaign plans may be worrying, but that does not mean that they cannot be opposed within the system, or by the voices of the people standing strong. For a man who runs on unpredictability, it seems impossible to know what he could do, but hopefully it will be less damaging than many have hypothesised.