Today, Donald J. Trump, a multi-millionaire who has never held political office, will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. During his campaign, he has treated everyone who dare defy or disagree with him with contempt, and it seems that that attitude is unlikely to change any time soon.
There are several things that should concern everyone about Trump’s presidency.
Firstly, his administration’s refusal to believe in man-made climate change, as well as his plans to defund UN climate change programmes and lift regulations on the energy industry, not only pose a significant threat to the environmental health of the United States, but also of the planet as a whole. Trump’s environmental policy threaten to throw away decades worth of progress to tackle one of the biggest threats to humanity.
Secondly, it is concerning that Trump’s cabinet is full of people who do not support equality for women, black people or the LGBT community, and the likelihood is that we will see a Supreme Court justice appointed who opposes such issues, which could set back the road to equal rights by many years, if not decades. His comments towards Muslims are particularly troublesome; with his pledge to create a Muslim registry echoing one of America’s biggest mistakes of recent history – the internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War.
Finally, and most worryingly, Trump’s willingness to brush off any criticism as ‘fake news’ or polling showing him at record lows of support as ‘rigged’ are signs of dark times ahead. He appears only willing to listen to his most vocal of supporters, and any opposition faces attacks from not only Trump, but also the rabid, fanatical and fascist ‘alt-right’ movement. This threatens not only the power of the press to hold the new President to account whilst in office, but also free speech in the ‘land of the free’. Trump’s rhetoric and his admiration for Russian President Putin all seem to point to an authoritarian presidency.
Trump’s inauguration today seemingly amounts to the death of reason and rational thought in politics. Ideals born during the Age of Enlightment have been snuffed out as the facts no longer matter when making decisions. Whether it is membership of the European Union, climate change, immigration or equal rights, the experts aren’t important because, in the age of populism, it’s raw emotion that is supposed to take you in the right direction.