Perception Management - January 21, 2017
Ways Your Life Could Be Affected by the Drumpf Administration
(And What You Can Do)
By Sharee Allen
It’s inauguration weekend, and as protests spring up all over the country and the world, here are some options for individualized responses to the issues that could affect us the most.
Let it be known that this is not a partisan issue or article. The Women’s Marches today were not about Democrats whining because they lost: actually, I met people from all different political backgrounds. This is about human rights, and the push to appreciate one another’s differences, opening up civil, intelligent discourse to strategize together and solve our nation’s issues. You’ll notice that my sources range from The Guardian to a UK-based newspaper, from CNN to Fox News from a YouTube compilation video to a psychologist’s website. (I do refer to the president by his original family name, changed by his grandparents, to emphasize that everyone is an immigrant at some point in their history.)
Immigration | Agriculture | Economy
We’re not even going to dignify the ludicrous “wall” idea with a write-up. But it is worth mentioning that Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was appointed in the case of the Trump University lawsuits, and therefore became a target of Drumpf’s odd accusations, was born in Indiana. As William Saletan put it, “This isn’t a complaint about illegal immigrants… It’s a straight-up appeal to prejudice. It’s about the color of your skin, the sound of your last name, and where your ancestors came from.”
It is also noteworthy that with all of the rhetoric surrounding the supposed goal to keep jobs in America, most of the companies targeted by Drumpf seem to fall under fire because of small amounts of labor in Mexico. Then there’s the issue of his own conflicts of interest: Drumpf not only has loans from numerous foreign-government-controlled banks, but he also leases office space to foreign-government-controlled companies, and provides special rates for renting rooms to foreign governments and diplomats in his hotels.
A subgroup who could experience a huge fallout from all of the threats are the legal immigrants from Latin American countries whose jobs are being replaced based on unfair targeting of anyone who is bilingual. Example: farmers in California are reacting to Drumpf’s campaign trail threats on immigrants and discussing the potential outcomes with employees. The state produces almost half of the country's fruits, nuts and veggies, valued at $47 billion a year, so this is a lot of farmers who are now frantically scrambling for solutions. Also, since Drumpf’s brash accusations about auto industry outsourcing result in stock nosedives, this leaves us wondering: what’s to stop him from selling stock in a company right before knee-jerk-tweeting about it being “overrated”?
What you can do:
Stay up on this list of Drumpf products made overseas. (There may be a more comprehensive list out there by now, perhaps one that mentions his six hotels abroad and nine international real estate properties, with the one in Scotland currently being expanded, even after he promised to halt all foreign business ventures.) Speak out when he asks other companies to keep their jobs in America, ask him to stay accountable.
Vote with your dollar: stay up to date on who owns and does business with the companies you buy products from. Don’t buy Gucci products, Nike gear, or anything else that pays rent to Drumpf.
Foreign Relations | Russia | Nukes
In keeping with the trend that Drumpf’s idea of diplomacy is to call out world leaders publicly on social media and leave nothing to the imagination, he recently declared to an MSNBC correspondent, “let it be an arms race” between the U.S. and Russia. The allegations about Russians possessing blackmail footage on him aside, he has contradicted and switched his stance on the Kremlin repeatedly, and is toying with plans to lift the trade sanctions with Putin. This could set off a chain-reaction that simultaneously absolves some of his $NoOneKnows Million debt and invite more cyber-attacks like the 2015 security collapse in Ukraine.
He’s also already managed to heighten tensions with Kim Jong Un, and if we’ve learned anything from the oddly-overemphasized Rogen/Goldberg movie The Interview, it’s that Kim Jong Un doesn’t turn the other cheek when he feels he’s being mocked. In these tweets, he not only calls out North Korea, but China as well, for their unfair trade with the US and refusal to help keep Kim Jong Un in check. And if you’re doubtful that his tweets have any real ability to predict behavior, here’s what the white house site says is one of our country’s main goals now: “rebuild the American military. Our Navy has shrunk... President [Drumpf] is committed to reversing this trend, because he knows that our military dominance must be unquestioned.”
What you can do:
Stock up on water for your bomb shelter, and
Fill out this survey for Global Zero, a nonpartisan organization aimed at ridding the world of all nuclear weapons and ending mass destruction.
Women’s Equality | Women’s Health | Health Coverage
First, although we’ve been attempting to avoid name-calling conversation-stoppers like ‘sexist,’ there are few other words to describe the history of his statements about women. Lest we forget the infamous video that leaked of Drumpf behind closed doors, bragging about getting away with sexual assault because he’s famous. Read a thorough and reflective male take on this, “[Locker room talk is] something he has been doing openly in speeches, interviews, on TV, on Twitter, in his books, and in person his entire life. And for the most part, society has given him a pass…”
Ask yourself why that video was downplayed even after so many Republicans spoke out against him, urging him to apologize to women and girls everywhere. (If you want a frame of reference, read the introspective essay by Barack Obama from last summer about how “We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs,” and compare the 44th and 45th presidents’ attitudes toward women.)
Some people actually say that Drumpf isn’t sexist because he has appointed a couple of female cabinet members (more on that list later). Really? That’s almost as bad as saying that slave-owners were cool as long as they treated the “house servants” like family. The man owned the Miss Universe pageant, for God’s sake, and only sold it after he managed to alienate Latinx viewers so that NBC dropped the contract. But I digress: enough about the female fight to feel “good enough,” and on to the health care concerns of this multi-faceted issue.
Within the realm of women’s health, Drumpf has flip-flopped numerous times on abortion. He has expressed interest in defunding Planned Parenthood, which could render more states’ options for birth control as barren as Texas (or the other seven states that have been defunded). Still, Anti-Abortion activists may be disappointed with this lukewarm stance, as he also admitted the clinics have helped “millions and millions of women with cervical cancer and breast cancer” undergo health screenings. As far as identifying him "Pro-Life" goes, we think it's a misnomer. If your method of dealing with potential terrorists is to "take their families," an idea that violates the Geneva Convention, then you're not truly Pro-Life, you're just Anti-Abortion or Anti-Choice.
Among his first acts as president was to sign an executive order to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. And though he has promised that no one’s insurance will dematerialize in front of their very eyes, there seems to be no consensus on whether he or Congress will take on the task of drawing up a replacement plan.
What you can do:
If you attended one of the Women’s Marches today, discuss it afterward with people who were not in attendance.
Become an escort at a PP Clinic, to reduce vulnerable women's fears while they access care and information, but are bombarded by protestors.
Join (or start a local chapter in) organizations like “I am That Girl” with the mission to build up and encourage women.
LGBTQ | Differently Abled | Low-income
It may seem like a copout to include these groups all together in one category, but stay with me: in Drumpf’s mind, we are all lumped together under the umbrella of different-so-no-opinion. (Also sheltered under here, huddling and soaking wet with us, are independent media outlets, which are targeted as often as mainstream media outlets but without the perks or power to go with it.)
LGBTQ: First, a huge milestone in the past three years (one that many think probably won’t be touched by the new administration) is marriage equality. And although marriage is by no means the only LGBTQ liberty we’re worried about, the LGBTQ rights page elimination from the White House website raises concern as far as the potential for future protective plans. These include increased helplines for queer teens who are feeling suicidal, adoption supports, safeguarding against harassment, and fair wage laws.
Differently Abled: As Meryl Streep said so elegantly in her Globes speech condemning the mocking of a diff-abled reporter: “Disrespect invites disrespect; violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” There are many lists being compiled of all of the outlandish insults Drumpf has fired out to various vulnerable groups and citizens, many of which have nothing to do with the issue at hand and come off sounding like sixth-grade smack talk. But in this case, it’s video footage that needs to be stomached. Some of these clips even cut off before they get to the worst part, but you get the idea.
Low-income/Low SES: The vicious cycle of the poor is covered in other sections, especially in relation to Flint and East Chicago. But may I just add that if you think Betsy DeVos, who has never attended, worked at, or sent her children to public school is a great choice, or that her “education advocacy” will benefit all American children, read this article on the concentration of poverty in U.S. schools.
The Media: Drumpf’s right about one thing: there is a lot of bias on both sides in the press. (Of course he doesn’t say it this way…) But that point becomes moot if you make enough outrageously offensive remarks. If they hadn’t been said, the media wouldn’t have the footage to publish. Also, if you reject interviewers during your press conference, calling them fake news every time they ask a question/publish a story you don’t like, you’ll quickly run out of news sources that you’ll accept. If Fox News’ Shepard Smith defending CNN is any indicator, even they are starting to band together.
What you can do:
Record a video message to DeVos for End Rape On Campus’s “Dear Betsy” page.
If you’re passionate about voting rights, equality, and/or fighting poverty, you can order a copy of Selma from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that keeps track of extremist hate groups. Know an educator or civic nonprofit? They can get the movie for free!
Children’s Perceptions | This One Keeps Me Awake at Night
The dilemma here was perhaps best expressed by my friend Don, an educator in low-income area Denver schools:
“As a teacher who works in an inner-city, primarily minority school, the entire election I have heard my 11 year old Muslim and Hispanic students be worried about being deported. I have heard my black students worry if their voice matters to the people of this country. I have heard girls in my class worried about how a man who will now be our president talks about them. I have had to remain unbiased throughout because that is my job as an educator, but I have always hoped that America would step up on Election Day and show them that they needn't be worried. I am now at a loss as to how I should respond and react to my students. They matter.
To all of my Muslim students, I love and respect you and respect your freedom of religion. To all of my Hispanic and refugee students, may you go to sleep knowing that there are people in this country who will fight against any legislation that results in you losing basic human rights. To all of my black students, #blacklivesmatter. To all of my female students, you are smart, kind, and capable and you are so much more than what you look like.
Sorry to be political, but I need prayer as to how to go to work tomorrow, love on my students, and show them the grace and respect that America has shown that it does not have for them.”
The chilling effect of social media hate speech is rampant, and this will influence younger generations the most. As Drumpf sharpens his system of bullying: victims range from business owners whose interests conflict with his businesses to individuals who have simply pointed out his inconsistencies (see the video link in the last section). Time and time again, this system normalizes the impulsive attacks on character that parents and teachers everywhere work so hard to steer their children away from. It’s also acting to distract the world from his questionable legal entanglements and complete lack of experience in his new career field, but that’s another topic.
What you can do:
Unfollow/block /him on twitter, report his offensive tweets; this will be the equivalent of taking away his weapon*
With your children, try this Imago Dialogue – a couple’s therapy technique that has been adapted for parenting as well. Invite a conversation about what they’ve heard, and about appropriate ways to use social media. As a therapist, I must say that it’s REALLY important that you listen more than you talk.
Sustainability | Clean Water | Renewable Energy vs. More Oil Drilling
If you’re relieved by the temporary victory at Standing Rock, that’s okay, because we have to take the time to appreciate steps in the right direction. But there’s always more work to be done. A jarring realization that Robinson Meyer pointed out: “Donald Trump now has the unflattering distinction of being the only head of state in the entire world to reject the scientific consensus that mankind is driving climate change.”
Next, looking at environmental detriment on a more local or even personal level, don’t forget about Flint, which is described here in pictures, and by one resident who says it's “like being in war, but without violence.” Realize, too, that the lead poisoning crisis doesn’t end there. While people suffer, it’s been swept under the rug for years by – you guessed it – Vice President Pence in East Chicago, Indiana.
As the Clean Energy Plan was also among the important pages to disappear from whitehouse.gov immediately following Drumpf taking oath, we must ask ourselves how much Scott Pruitt will do what with his track record enabling the big oil industry to turn Oklahoma into its own daily earthquake epicenter. The state has gone from 1-2 earthquakes a year to 1-2 a day, many of them of high enough magnitude to damage or destroy homes.
What you can do:
Donate a water filter to Flint families, and get your community or school’s TDS reading while you're at it.
Sign the petition to ask for the tax returns to be released. This will hopefully set a precedent which could one day include all cabinet appointees and play a role in seeking transparency in the big oil/ big government entanglement.
Next time you need a break from it all, don’t just take a vacation: plan a service trip with Sierra Club to benefit our beloved Earth.
Vice President | Cabinet Picks | The Process
Having already discussed Mike Pence, Betsy DeVos, and Scott Pruitt, I just wanted to take the time to point out a couple more alarming appointees in the new administration, who maybe aren’t getting enough attention.
Linda McMahon (Secretary of Small Business) Her questionable history as queenpin of the WWE is outlined here which includes, but is probably not limited to, exploitation of wrestlers without providing them with health insurance, hiring a doctor to provide steroids and other drugs, and sexual assault cases involving two minors.
Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State) is the CEO of ExxonMobil, which allegedly possesses patented technology that could help Putin extract 45% more oil at a significant cost savings to Russia, helping Putin put money in Russian reserves to help reconstitute its military and finally afford to mass produce the new and improved systems that they’d invented before the Russian economy slowed.
Since most of the new cabinet members are CEOs of big businesses with little to no political experience and no one has a PhD, it’s probably good to investigate more thoroughly, so we’ll continue to highlight others in future articles, in digestible numbers like two at a time. It’s worth a mention that the appointing procedures was and continues to be rushed, before ethics checks have been completed, an unprecedented snub to the process every other president’s picks have undergone. At least (for now) the gutting of the independent ethics board was halted.
What you can do:
Educate yourself on what each office is in charge of. This way, you’ll be able to call your representatives and know exactly which ones you’re expecting to fix a problem. One way to do this is by organizing local party meetings. This is the fantastic advice of Jon Schwarz, “While it has almost passed out of Americans’ living memory, parties used to have regular, local meetings where everyone got together, yammered about politics for a while, and then drank beer. Elections were the culmination of what parties did, not the starting point.”
Also, in attempt to stay up on how the alt-right talks to itself, sign up for Breitbart newsletter. You could read it next to the NY Times for a head trip. I’d add a third, more independent arts mag like Adbusters to the mix for sanity and perspective.
Racial profiling | Religious freedom | Systematic Discrimination
In his December TIME article, Iranian-American professor Negar Katirai wrote about the problematic rhetoric behind the Muslim registry idea. ”We are abandoning American values and heading right down a path that feeds into the hands of terrorists…” he said, and that path includes ignorance of the vast array of Madhhabs, or schools of Islamic thought. What if all Christians were blamed and lumped together with Christian extremists, like The Army of God, Christian Identity groups, and lone shooters (such as the gunman of the 2010 US Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting)? Although I’m still at a loss when it comes to the alt-right’s obsession with keeping all of the gun laws as they are, I have to avoid going down that rabbit hole for the sake of this article. Comparable to the blanket ban of Muslims entering the country is another extremely biased plan that Drumpf admires: Stop and Frisk, which was implemented in New York, then ruled unconstitutional for its unfair targeting of young black and Latino men. Not only that, but it also didn’t work.
After questioning what Mike Pence was doing at a revolutionary musical, on Broadway no less, it took us a bit to realize that the whole Hamilton situation was strategically staged at the same time as the Trump University lawsuit settlement. No wonder the extremely polite concerns expressed by cast member Brandon Victor Dixon were blown out of proportion on twitter, Drumpf’s main mouth-diarrhea outlet. To paraphrase what Ben Carson said in an interview on election night, it’s not actually the left vs. right, it’s the elite vs. the non-elite. Which brings me to this message for Drumpf:
After your laundry list of prejudicial statements about black and brown Americans, hanging out with Kanye and Tiger Woods doesn’t transform you into an equal rights advocate. That is a title you will have to earn throughout your presidency, and if the idea of so much work for very little return on your investment is unappealing to your billionaire business brain, consider our faith and respect equivalent to a trillion golden towers, and propose some actual concrete plans to help ease tensions.
What you can do:
Choose your words wisely. A couple of months ago in Cincinnati, another potentially historic case of police murdering of an unarmed black man went to trial and jurors were unable to reach a verdict. This of course is not an isolated incident, but it did hit close to home for me. I am choosing to refer to this event as the Sam Dubose case instead of using the name of the perpetrator, as the power lies within our language, which people we choose to publicize, and what we choose to emphasize. This includes social media.
If you're non-Muslim, call your senators to say #registermefirst in preparation for a potential Muslim registry.
Create groups in your local community like The Amos Project: they don’t have to be religiously affiliated if you're not, just aimed at helping heal race relations.
Deep breath. That was a lot. So we end with a little musical or literary validation:
Songs/Films/Books For When You’re Feeling Some Type of Way
HyperNormalisation, a film by BBC journalist Adam Curtis, including its amazing low-res montage of pre-911 American action movies obsessed with blowing up national monuments/our biggest cities. It details the history of US ties to certain Middle Eastern countries, the rise of internet culture as outlined by novelist William Gibson, and the complicated relationship between big banks, politics, and the availability of information.
Jim Jarmusch's Paterson, about a young creative couple in urban New Jersey, beautiful played by Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani. It raises lots of questions about humility vs. grandiosity, partnership vs. obsession, proletarianism vs. fame.
Buy music from this list (featuring Arcade Fire, Carrie Brownstein, Angel Olsen, etc.) most of which goes to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU.
This poem, New Nos. Actually just any poetry: grab an anthology, find a sunny window seat and lose yourself in it.
Slate, LA Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, WhiteHouse, Telegraph UK, Medium, Glamour, Business Insider, youTube, Integral Psychology, The Atlantic, Vox, The Guardian, Irish Times, Fusion, The Intercept, FOX (via The Week), The Wrap, TIME, NYCLU, USAToday, Detroit Free Press, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Politico