President Trump's Inaugural Address
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Politics

President Trump's Inaugural Address

Trump had some choice words.

President Trump's Inaugural Address
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This past Friday I was finishing up my last shift at my town's local deli and thinking about how I would soon be a full-fledged adult (with a college degree) in this contemporary America. For a moment, I was excited. There I was, graduation looming on the horizon, fourteen or fifteen weeks away from a whole new way of life, and I wanted to believe in America: the Beautiful and the Brave, in that sacred dream, the first dream every American can remember having. For the majority of my winter break, I had been plagued by the idea that my life was changing, that I would lose my friends, my home away from home, and be thrust into a dreary world of taxes, warring parties, intolerance, and hopelessness, yet in the back of the delicatessen, I, for once, felt good about my chances in this world. Then I read Donald Trump's inaugural address.

In his speech, Trump paints a grim picture of “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation”, and an even grimmer picture of American life: “mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities”, “an education system... which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge”, and “the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential”, yet, somehow, his address managed to avoid the hateful rhetoric that so characterized his campaign. In fact, what was jarring and heartbreaking about the address was that it didn't need the hate-speech to herald a new era in American history: Trump's era, in which demagoguery can reign supreme, the American people can be gaslighted, and truth can be disregarded like the more boring panels of the Sunday morning comics, all in the name of a ideological turning point for our country. His grand vision is simple enough: America must come first in everything, and in the context of his speech, this means that every decision made by the government will be made to benefit the people of the United States. In the context of reality, however, his “America first” doctrine and his call for “total allegiance” to the US reminds me of another dark period in our history when Joseph McCarthy used hate-mongering and the spectre of communism to fuel his own rise to power.

McCarthy and Trump both called for allegiance to the US, both deemed patriotism to be of the utmost importance, and both gained influence through tearing this country apart rather than inspiring us to unite. Neither of them should have ever gained the control they did, and though McCarthy, fortunately, remained just a senator, Trump now occupies the Oval Office. Patriotism to him is fealty. It is never questioning his actions, never forcing him to acknowledge when and how often he has lied. Trump has never been about putting America first. From far before the campaign trail all the way up to his inauguration, Donald Trump has put only one thing first: himself.

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