Clouds of Hate

Clouds of Hate

As a self-described member of the “Resistance,” I am still holding my breath for the results of the Mueller Investigation and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The fact that Mueller and the Senate are trying to follow up on the Steele Dossier gives even more credence to the possibility that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian Government to win the election. The investigations and their inevitable results in the Courts and the Congress are still to come. We have a long way to go.

But it has become more apparent that the Trump Administration is doing damage every day: damage to America, to the rights of all citizens, and to a nation “…dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Today the White House announced that women’s birth control is no longer guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act. If a woman works for an employer who has religious or moral (there’s a vague term if there every was one) objections, the employer can get exempted from providing birth control. This could have dramatic impact on particular areas of employment: hospitals, many managed by Catholic Church agencies, may claim the exemption, leaving their women employees without insured birth control. (I’m sure the insurance will continue to cover Viagra.)

This is part of the ongoing war the Trump Administration is waging on women’s health rights. Many of the proposals for changes to health insurance would allow insurers to charge women higher rates than men since they have the “pre-existing condition” of being a woman. Add this to the attacks on women’s right to choose (the House passed a bill this week criminalizing abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy) and it’s clear that the goal of the Administration and the Republican majority is to “de-equalize” women.

Yesterday Attorney General Sessions issued a statement that the Justice Department does not consider discrimination against trans-gendered people as discrimination based on sex, and therefore they are not protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This continues to roll back  LGBTQ rights gained over the past two decades, as the Department now claims that the legal definition of gender is “biological” only. Taken to its logical conclusion, discrimination based on “gender-identification,” and potentially sexual preference as well, will no longer be considered a “civil right” by the US Government.

This week the Justice Department also filed a brief supporting the right of a business to deny service to folks who do meet their approved sexual preference. This was the case of the baker who didn’t want to make a cake for a gay wedding, but it isn’t too far a reach to see this legal precedent rolling into all sorts of public life. This is the kind of discrimination that Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s “sat in” to end: Attorney General (Jefferson Beauregard) Session has allowed its return.

And finally, the President himself clearly demonstrated his own prejudices this week in his “disaster” appearances. In Puerto Rico, the President complained about the cost of rebuilding, he questioned the willingness of Puerto Ricans to work, and he did little more than congratulate the Federal employees on their efforts. He failed to show empathy, and even made light of the shortages (tossing a few rolls of paper towels out.)

In contrast, in Las Vegas he went to the hospitals, he talked to the survivors and the first responders: he was clearly more comfortable among “his” people.  The difference: a President who is ill at ease among Hispanics, but “just fine” in the remains of a Vegas “country concert.” One wonders whether he would have been so quick to sympathize if the concert had been “Life is Beautiful” or “Lallapalooza” (not so much his base.)

So while we wait for the answers about the legitimacy of the Trump Presidency, remember that the work of the Alt-Right goes on, making Americans less equal. It is the tremendous price we pay for the results of last year: we are surrounded by “clouds of hate.”