I call him 45. Don’t want to feed the ego of a narcissist by
calling out his name. But every shred of ignominy that is associated
with this era needs to be associated with this putrid 45th President
of the United States. So let’s call it, the Trump era. The
era of indifference to human rights, the era of obduracy around
international cooperation, the era of pugilism with our allies, the
era of abdication of international leadership.
are riveted by the harrowing sounds of children crying when they are
torn from their parents, disgusted when we learn that even a nursing
child is torn from her mother’s breast, disturbed when we hear
that a child with Down’s syndrome is separated from her parent,
angered when a Trump (yes, time to call his name) spokesperson mocks
the Downs syndrome children with his sound “wonk, wonk”.
And our collective anger pushed our non-apologetic “leader”
to sign an executive order that potentially stopped the separation of
children from their parents.
the same time, the international scandal minimized any moral
authority our nation has in calling out others on human rights
violations. The sound of wailing children makes it impossible for us
to take a moral high road against any other country with their own
human rights challenges. Thus, when United States Ambassador Nikki
Haley announced that the United States would resign from the UN Human
Rights Council, one had to wonder if she was avoiding approbation for
the inhumanity toward children at the US-Mexico border, or if she had
another agenda. She said that she was resigning because the group
was unfair to Israel, without acknowledging that there are extreme
human rights violations toward Israel against Palestinians. Perhaps
she was also removing the US from a body that could censure us for
the way children are treated at our border.
Trump (yes, I’m going to call him by the name this time) has
picked fights with anyone he can, isolating our country against our
allies, aligning him with dictatorial opponents. He wants to be
appreciated like Korean dictator Kim Jung Un, asking that people pay
as much attention to him as they do to a man he once denigrated as
“Little Rocket Man”. At the same time, he picks a fight
against our Canadian and Mexican allies, our continental partners,
because he is flexing his muscles and making the point that he does
not need friends.
as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman reported that 158
Canadians were killed, and 658 wounded, since the United States was
attacked on September 11, 2001. Canadians sent their troops to fight
alongside us. They didn’t have to. They did because there was
a relationship, a connection. Now, Mr. Trump is ungratefully picking
a fight with Canada over pennies in tariffs, just because he can. He
is making an enemy, creating enmity, just because he can.
behavior at the G-7 meeting in Canada was another alienating,
isolating, experience. He went late and left early, signaling
disrespect, maybe even contempt for his peers. He chafed when he was
called on his nonsense and declined to sign the customary closing
document. Without even attempting to give others advance notice, he
suggested that his mentor (the kindest words I can manage) Russian
leader Vladimir Putin, should be part of the G7. Trump’s
advocacy and behavior place him outside the orbit of reason. He is
isolating himself, and our country, with his nonsense.
the world has always been clear about our nation’s flaws, and
we who live here are clear about our nation’s history of
oppression, there was a time when we had some moral authority in the
world. We chastised others about human rights violations, excoriated
others when they strayed from the tenets of participatory democracy,
bribed others to “do the right thing” with foreign aid
that was connected to improvements in education and health offerings.
We showed up at international conferences and meetings, chanting
“women’s rights are human rights”, but now we see
no attempt to embrace anybody’s rights. Donald Trump has
isolated the United States from its human rights legacy and moral
history. Donald Trump is an isolationist who has failed to
understand the ways that our global connection has benefitted us. In
isolating us, what has Trump done? And what will we do about it?