On Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Some Brooklynites are ecstatic and looking forward to his inauguration and celebrity ratings; most are disgusted, furious, pensive, afraid, confused or depressed.
Brooklyn and the rest of the world have several concerns about a Trump presidency. Will fascism systematically replace freedom in the U.S.? Does Trump have questionable ties with Russia? Will he trumpet his financial conflicts of interest? How many skeletons are hidden in his closet and in his cabinet? What happened, at the very least, to teaching tolerance – telling the truth? When will he trump the race card? Will he further divide the country by building walls or improve relationships by building bridges?
“There’s something about the office of the presidency that attracts narcissists and megalomaniacs,” writes Civil Liberties Expert, Tom Head. A narcissist thinks the world revolves around him and a megalomaniac suffers delusions of his own importance. Do these definitions accurately describe the president-elect?
Take some of Donald Trump’s self-absorbed tweets for instance:
If crazy @megynkelly didn’t cover me so much on her terrible show, her ratings would totally tank. She is so average in so many ways!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 19, 2016
If Obama resigns from office NOW, thereby doing a great service to the country—I will give him free lifetime golf at any one of my courses!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2014
Dwyane Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2016
Since the election, his Twitter activity has not slowed down or become more presidential. Not to mention along with stepping into the role of president, Trump will be given the login to @POTUS, the verified presidential Twitter account that he can use as he pleases — for the next four years.
Interestingly though, Trump hasn’t been the only “politician” to raise serious concerns about the future of this country.
According to Head’s article, “The 8 Worst Presidents Ever“, there were eight presidents — thus far — who’ve negatively impacted the U.S. He writes, “these men were the worst of the worst with regards to civil liberties issues.”
Let’s take a look at the 3 most recent worst presidents and analyze how WE, THE PEOPLE fought to keep America great:
George W. Bush 43rd President (2001-2009)
The “W” in his name doesn’t stand for worst of the worst. Head says, he doesn’t believe Bush was the worst; he does believe Bush comes close to it. Bush in 2000, like Trump in 2016, DID NOT receive the popular vote. According to Politicsthatwork, “President George W. Bush has the worst economic record of any president since Herbert Hoover.” By the way, Hoover was president from 1929 to 1933 during the Great Depression.
Under Bush, unemployment soared, homeownership dwindled, domestic surveillance penetrated and America’s international reputation plummeted. He bungled the emergency response during Hurricane Katrina and ignored terrorism warnings prior to the September 11th World Trade attack.
What did Brooklynites do? They came out in numbers in 2008 and elected a young, handsome, super-smart, senator from Illinois with swagger. In 8 years, President Barack Obama ended the recession, reformed health care, jump started the auto industry, put people back to work, and cleaned up the messes from the Bushes.
Richard M. Nixon 37th President (1969-1974)
Nixon’s nickname was “Tricky Dicky.” That alone ought to give some insight into his presidency. According to Captain Christopher Pyle of the U.S. Army Intelligence Command in The Washington Monthly, President Nixon had deployed more than 1,500 Army intelligence personnel to illegally spy on left-wing movements. Nixon told journalist David Frost during an interview, “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Oh really?
Facing imminent impeachment from the Watergate Hotel break-in, cover-up, and White House involvement, Nixon resigned in disgrace from the highest office in the land on August 9, 1974.
What did Brooklynites do? During those turbulent and uncertain times they pulled together. People of color, women, and the LGBT community actively fought for peace, justice and equality.
Woodrow Wilson 28th President (1913-1921)
Wilson’s father was a Presbyterian preacher and Confederate supporter. Duly educated in the ways of the Southern Dixiecrat, (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson, PH.D, kept his nose held high in the air. He was superior, learned, and knew the answers to everything, or so he thought. In keeping with his “good ol’ boy” upbringing, he racially segregated Washington DC, the federal government, and the army.
Between 1900 and 1915, about 15 million people journeyed to the United States of America – the land of milk and honey. In response to the increasing numbers of diverse groups of immigrants seeking a better home, Wilson writes in his book, A History of the American People, “…there came multitudes of men of the lowest class from the south of Italy and men of the meaner sort out of Hungry and Poland.”
According to Don Wolfensberger’s Introductory Essay: Woodrow Wilson, Congress, and Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in America, Wilson wrote about the Chinese and Japanese, “we can not make a homogenous population out of people who do not blend with the Caucasian race.” During Wilson’s administration unprecedented restrictions blocked immigration.
What did Brooklynites and the American people do? They put the pressure on. It took some time, but the Hart–Celler Act of 1965 changed the discriminatory immigration policies that began in 1921.
Here’s the thing, Donald J. Trump will be the President of the United States. It is a new day under a new administration. But business as usual is NOT the answer. Things have changed and so must we. We must work to keep America great.
Let’s make note of history’s lessons and move further in the 21st century together more enlightened and focused. As President Obama said during his farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday, January 10th, “…I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved and get engaged and come together to demand it. Let’s be vigilant, but not afraid.” Join progressive organizations, work with your local politicians, run for local, state, and federal offices, support talented and service minded public servants, stand up for what is right, and never give up the fight…because Yes We Can and as history proves, Yes We Did!