Hands Off My PBS and NPR: Why We Still Need Public Broadcasting

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Established by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has ensured universal access to non-commercial, high quality content, and telecommunications services. And does so by distributing more than 70% of its funding to more than 1,300 locally owned public radio and television stations along with the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. The CPB is part of our nation’s commitment to ensuring culture, learning, and the arts are available to all Americans.

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This cartoon from the Indianapolis Star shows Trump slashing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from the federal budget. And here we see horrified Sesame Street muppets look on.

This March, President Cheetohead unveiled his federal budget plan proposing to ax the federal funding from several government programs, including the CPB. The reason? According to Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney, “When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no. We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” His justification to cut public broadcasting in order to increase defense spending by $54 billion makes absolutely no sense. The CPB receives about an annual $485 million from the federal government, consisting of about .00006% of the federal budget. By contrast, annual US defense spending is about $500-$600 billion, consisting of half the federal budget at least (estimated). Yet, Mulvaney also has the audacity and the stupidity to state that we can’t ask a West Virginia coal miner or a Detroit single mom whether we can keep funding public broadcasting programs. It’s like he thinks that public broadcasting plays no role in ordinary Americans’ day to day lives. Does he have any idea parents and children are a key demographic for shows like Sesame Street? Or that PBS Kids is the only educational resource for 3- and 4-year-olds whose parents can’t afford sending them to preschool? And that local public stations may be the only source of free local news and programming in many rural areas? Or when West Virginia’s governor proposed cutting state funding to its public media from its budget, only to change his mind afterwards? Besides, it only costs the average American $1.35 each year for it. People have paid more for overdue library books for God’s sake. And given PBS and NPR’s penchant to air quality program that have been on for years, I consider it an investment well spent. Thus, I think asking single moms and coal miners to pay for public broadcasting is fairly reasonable. Of course, I may be a little biased since I watch PBS on a regular basis because I’d rather watch intellectually stimulating shows than meaningless crap. And I will defend PBS and NPR with my life. But don’t take my word for it since 73% of all Americans oppose cutting federal funding for the CPB including 83% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans.

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On May 1, 1969, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood would testify before a US Senate committee to defend funding for public broadcasting. His words about how his show benefits young kids still echoes today. Since he’s from Latrobe and his show was based in WQED Pittsburgh, he holds a special place in my area as a local legend.

Critics of public broadcasting often view NPR as a liberal media hotbed and PBS as an obsolete relic of a bygone age. Republicans in particular, don’t think that the federal government should support public broadcasting even if it’s funding represents a miniscule fraction of the federal budget. They believe that we should let the market decide whether it wants science, arts, or music. Besides, if you want quality educational and cultural programming, then cable should be quite sufficient since you have whole channels devoted to education and culture. Or so they say. However, Americans should view their public broadcasting system as a national treasure since it provides a vital public service for local communities as well as the nation. As a media outlet, public broadcasting provides educational and high quality programming for all Americans. Without it, the United States would be a far worse off place. So much that disgraced four-star general Stanley McChrystal called cutting public media for increased military spending, “a false choice.” Nevertheless, American taxpayers pay only a small investment in public broadcasting that pays out big dividends in a way that’s indispensable to society. And as McChrystal said, it should be pitted against the spending more in improving our military. Not to mention, many viewers would miss out on all the intellectual and educational richness public media has to offer. Thus, if Trump should kill public broadcasting, America loses. Because public broadcasting is part of what makes America great. To eliminate federal funding for the CPB would be catastrophic to public broadcasting, especially where local stations rely on CPB funds. And I give you the following reasons why federal funding for PBS and NPR is worth protecting.

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A lot of these educational cable networks may have started off with high quality programming. But they later degenerated into airing crap in order to appeal to a larger 18-34 audience and sponsors. As you can see from these charts, it tells you what The Science Channel, National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel air nowadays.

Most attempts at providing quality educational and cultural programming to cable television have failed.– Out of all the cable stations providing quality educational and cultural programming, only Turner Classic Movies and the Smithsonian Channel continue to do so 24/7. Other channels like National Geographic and the Weather Channel can also have educational content. But they can also feature a lot of crap. Nevertheless, there was a time when cable had a real chance of replacing PBS, but that was back in the early days. We should remember that the Discovery Channel, A&E, The History Channel, and TLC were created to provide such programming. A&E stood for Arts and Entertainment as well as used to show content relating to arts, dance, theater, history, literature, and nature. TLC once stood for The Learning Channel which used to feature science and nature documentaries and was co-owned by NASA. The Discovery Channel also featured science programming while the History Channel broadcasted documentaries on history. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, conservatives could use networks like TLC, A&E, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel, to argue that we don’t need PBS anymore. Nowadays, try to argue that point and all you get is a room full of obnoxious laughter. Today you will find that A&E is best known for airing Duck Dynasty, Dog, the Bounty Hunter, and Love Prison. TLC’s programming centers around trashy reality shows exploiting toddler beauty pageants, obese people, people who need therapy, and families who don’t mind putting children in the spotlight. The Discovery Channel may still have Shark Week but they feature reality shows like Amish Mafia and Naked and Afraid. As for the History Channel, well, basically they’ve devoted timeslots to reality shows as well as programming featuring pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. PBS, meanwhile, still shows the same type of programming throughout its existence at the same quality. So why did these cable networks departed so far from their original programming concepts while PBS didn’t? Mostly because these cable networks are for-profit businesses that exist to make money. Many times a cable channel’s management might add shows they feel that a larger audience wants to see, leading to additional profits. And by producing irrelevant or low-quality programming, they can increase their ratings to a target audience, increase viewership, and increase revenues. This is a process known as Network Decay or Channel Drift. The degree of channel drift may vary with some nonconforming programming retaining some degree of association with the channel’s original purpose like Pawn Stars on the History Channel. Yet, other programming may have no association whatsoever such as whatever you see on TLC. PBS, by contrast, primarily exists to provide programming of social benefit to their viewers that may not be commercially viable to the mass market like public affairs shows, documentaries, and educational shows. Many have been on the air for years, if not decades. In fact, one of the principles of public broadcasting is to provide coverage for interests for which there are missing or small markets. Quality educational and cultural programming would usually fit the bill. PBS’s non-profit status allows them to do so while not being obligated to appeal to the lowest common denominator, advertisers, or profits. Furthermore, PBS relies on government and private funding sources because it strives for the kind of independence in order to fulfill its educational and cultural mission to the public.

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In 2013, WNET New York released a series of ads of fake reality shows both on posters and in commercials. This was at a time when reality shows were very popular. Nevertheless, Bayou Eskimos is probably as realistic as Duck Dynasty or Amish Mafia. But since a lot of cable networks many thought would replace PBS now have hours of reality shows, I think it shows a lot about our culture.

Just because a TV show is commercially viable, doesn’t mean it’s good.– As much as I hate reality shows, I have to concede that networks find them particularly attractive. They’re relatively cheap to produce than a scripted series as well as is often said to be more authentic and engaging to viewers. Reality shows were very popular among audiences during my adolescence with the primary demographic being teenagers and young adults. Sponsors like them since they provide an opportunity for product placement, giving more time to market their products. However, reality shows aren’t quality entertainment as well as be rather exploitative and offensive regardless of popularity. Nor do they reflect “reality” as we know it since such shows use a lot of behind the scenes trickery. Yet, popular reality shows seldom ever get cancelled. Nevertheless, we need to understand that popularity among the masses doesn’t translate into quality. As a writer who enjoys old movies, I understand this concept incredibly well. Not every bestseller becomes a literary classic. And not every box office hit will be held as a cinematic masterpiece. Trash culture has always existed whether it be porn, penny dreadfuls, pulp novels, exploitation films, B-movies, and reality shows. Each generation has its own form of mindless entertainment. Nevertheless, the fact channels like A&E, TLC, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel switched from their educational programming to sleazy entertainment demonstrates how some good quality shows aren’t always commercially viable. Many of the shows PBS airs like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, NOVA, Nature, and others wouldn’t have a chance on other channels. Nor would they be able to otherwise compete what’s available on other channels if it weren’t for PBS. For example, when Fred Rogers addressed the US Senate in 1969, he’d say that he knew his haircut decision could excite kids once he was in front of them. But he also knew it would be hard to compete for their attention as on-screen violence and special effects became ever more present outside public media. He also talked about how watching two men working through their emotions is much more important, relevant, and dramatic than guns firing. Cable channels may air marketable content but it doesn’t mean such shows are good.

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While the federal government provides some of the CPB’s funding, most of it comes from private along with state and local government sources. And it is because public broadcasting receives money from a variety of public and private sources that it’s able to air quality programming and exist as an independent non-profit entity.

Public broadcasting is not beholden to anyone but its mission and its viewership.– While public broadcasters may receive some funding from state and local governments, most financial support comes from underwriting from foundations and businesses ranging from small shops to corporations, along with audience contributions via pledge drives. They may rely on advertisers, but not to the same degree as commercial broadcasters or at all. Nor are they owned or operated by the government either. Rather many owned by non-profit groups affiliated with a local school district, a college, a non-profit organization, or by state or local government agencies. Stations receiving CPB funds must meet certain requirements such as the maintenance or provision of open meetings, open financial records, a community advisory board, equal employment opportunity, and lists of donors and political activities. And most of PBS’s national programming is produced by member stations, particularly WPGH Boston, WNET New York, and WETA Washington providing most of them. Though my local PBS station WQED Pittsburgh produced the iconic Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. NPR also broadcasts content from national providers like Public Radio International or American Public Radio. Yet, they also can air from other stations as well. For instance, the celebrated “Car Talk” was produced by WBUR-FM Boston while Minnesota Public Radio brings “A Prairie Home Companion.” Nevertheless, PBS is a great station for those who would rather teach lessons and enrich minds than make money. As long as it’s quality programming benefitting the public, PBS doesn’t care much about ratings as it does about access and viewers like you.

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Though kid shows exist on commercial networks, they often don’t alleviate parents’ and teachers’ worries since they may show violence, teach terrible lessons, and advertise junk food. PBS shows like Sesame Street have a great reputation since they aim to put kids’ interests first. And the fact parents and young children enjoy this show so much over the years has made it one of the most beloved on TV.

What’s good for the market isn’t always what people want.– Despite what public media opponents may say, there is a demand for educational and cultural programming no matter how small that may be. While networks like A&E, TLC, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel weren’t as commercially viable while airing such programs, they did have an audience. When they embarked on the long road through network decay, that audience abandoned them. Nevertheless, a classic example of this is in children’s programming. Though commercial networks often air kid shows as well, parents and teachers have often expressed concern on what children watch on them. The fact cartoons can depict violence while sponsors air ads possibly promoting unhealthy eating habits doesn’t help. But above all parents and teachers worry whether kids are learning the right lessons from the stuff they watch. By contrast, PBS’s educational mission and commercial free programming earns a lot of trust from parents and teachers in regards to children’s TV in preparing them for lifelong learning. Not to mention, public broadcasting often puts kids’ best interests first. Of course, most of their kids’ programming aims for young children. But in a way it makes sense, since early childhood is a very vulnerable age where fostering a lifelong love of learning is vital. And a lot of them aren’t yet in school. Besides, most of PBS’s adult shows are usually appropriate for children anyway. Schools frequently show a lot of PBS documentaries and the network’s website often features lesson plans to go with them. After all, airing shows like Nova, Nature, and the occasional Ken Burns documentary should inspire kids to value learning and make a difference. PBS and NPR also provide news coverage from local events to international affairs and with as little bias as possible. Public radio stations even feature music like jazz, classical, and indie music you might not find on other radio channels. We should also account that PBS currently ranks #6 among all broadcast and cable networks for primetime household ratings, is watched by 82% of American households, and a monthly audience of over 95 million.

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This is a diagram of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s operating budget from 2014. As you can see most of it goes to supporting local TV and radio stations. Many of these are in impoverished rural areas and serve as the only source for local news and other services.

Local NPR and PBS affiliates put local audiences first.– As of 2015, PBS maintains current memberships of 354 stations across encompassing 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 4 US possessions. This gives PBS the distinction as the only TV broadcaster in the United States, commercial or non-commercial with station partners in every US state. By contrast, none of the 5 major commercial broadcast networks has affiliates in certain states where PBS has members with the most significant example being New Jersey. PBS’s estimated reach is 93.74% of all US households (or 292,926,047 Americans with at least one set). Along with national programming like Nova, Nature, Frontline, and Antiques Roadshow, local PBS stations also air a lot of locally produced content they probably wouldn’t see anywhere else. My local PBS station WQED Pittsburgh has aired locally produced documentaries, cooking shows, and film shorts. WQED has also hosted local forums on local issues as well as debates in important statewide election races. In rural areas, local PBS stations serve an important role in their communities that larger state and even national outlets can’t replace. For these residents, their PBS station might be the only place to see their county fair or their neighbors talking about their WWII service. They may also support local initiatives regarding education, adult literacy, and workplace development. In some areas, their public broadcast station might be the only source of news, entertainment, and emergency broadcast service available. And a lot of their poorer residents can’t even afford cable. Since many of these areas don’t have wealthy members like Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA do, their rural stations rely on government funding for support. Even in the most conservative areas of the country, people usually have high esteem for their public broadcast stations which they might see as a neighbor or friend. And these stations often benefit their communities tremendously.

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From its debut in 1975, the PBS NewsHour has earned a reputation for excellence in its in-depth coverage on issues and current events. And it’s one of PBS most popular shows as one of the closest to a truly objective news source on the media landscape.

More people trust PBS and NPR than most government and media institutions. – In a nation where public trust in American institutions are on the decline such as the government and the media, PBS and NPR have consistently ranked as among the most trusted. Sure your local PBS and NPR stations won’t cover local sports, weather, and crime, but their commitment to viewers, listeners, and their mission has considerably helped their reputation. Not to mention, both PBS and NPR are among the only media outlets to have high public trust among Americans across all demographics as well as the political spectrum. Though both PBS and NPR have been criticized for showing liberal bias, most can at least name something they like about either. For instance, whenever conservatives criticize PBS and NPR, it usually has more with their national news content than anything. Though it’s not all they do. And there are plenty of conservatives who might think NPR is liberal but would certainly riot if you did anything to their public radio station. Parents and teachers trust PBS have consistently rated PBS as the #1 educational media brand for kids under 18 in the nation for very good reason. Hell, the American Academy of Pediatrics pointed to PBS Kids as a leading resource for educational programming. After all, PBS Kids puts greater emphasis on quality over quantity. As for news, PBS has highly acclaimed programs like the News Hour and Frontline. NPR is currently the most trusted news source in the nation with an audience that doesn’t just consist of white college educated liberals. Furthermore, PBS and NPR have been the only media outlets reporting on climate change during the 2016 election. PBS’s news programming has won 14 News and Documentary Emmys in 2016 which is more than any other organization. And Frontline took 7, which is more than any other individual series.

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PBS plays an especially critical role in educating young children, particularly those in low-income families unable to afford preschool. Without it, there would be no way for many children to prepare for kindergarten.

PBS is highly committed educating all children, especially those most at risk. – As a public station, PBS strives to make sure all Americans have access to free, evidence-based, high quality, and educational programming. Nowhere is their mission more important than in their kid shows that they added the PBS Kids channel available for everyone. As a result, PBS Kids reaches more young children and more kids from low-income families than any other children’s TV network. On air, PBS Kids attracts higher proportions of minority and low-income homes. Whereas more than 2/3 of children from 2-8 watch PBS. Not only that, but PBS also provides over 120,000 Pre-K-12 digital resources along with more than 1.8 million users with registered access to PBS Learning Media. Recent studies confirm that 9 out of 10 parents use PBS Kids resources for school preparedness while three-quarters say their kid engages in more positive behavior and higher critical thinking skills after engaging with the network. PBS Kids programming provides a vital service in school readiness to more than half of America’s 3-4 year-olds who don’t have the opportunity to attend preschool. For these children, PBS Kids is the only source of educational media content supporting school readiness which could boost their long-term educational opportunities. Such PBS Kids content supports a whole child ecosystem addressing core needs such as social-emotional learning, math, engineering, literacy, and science. And early childhood education is absolutely crucial in life that PBS understands. For older children, PBS and member stations have partnered for the “American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen” initiative. This program brings public media together with key community stakeholders to help students stay on the path to on-time high school graduation and future success. This partnership consist of PBS stations in over 30 states partnered with more than 1,400 community leaders, local organizations, and schools to help students succeed from Pre-K to high school graduation and beyond. Not to mention, PBS Learning Media includes content from award winning shows like Nova, Nature, American Experience, and Frontline that educators and parents could access at any time. PBS’s commitment to educating children of all ages has made the network absolutely essential.

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Cutting funding for PBS and NPR won’t free up a lot of money for military spending. But a United States without public broadcasting wouldn’t be a nice place to live. PBS and NPR have informed, educated, and inspired people as well s made our nation smarter, stronger, and safer. There are so many stories from viewers on how public media has made a positive impact in their lives. The fact Trump and his swamp cronies are willing to eliminate the CPB really illustrates how he values American greatness and values. Like not at all.

Public broadcasting creates makes Americans better citizens. – Though providing early childhood education and molding young children to be intellectually curious, empathetic, and prepared for school and life, it’s only one of the ways PBS enriches people’s lives. Unlike commercial TV stations, PBS treats its viewers as citizens instead of simply consumers as well as promote education, public trust in institutions, and civil discourse. Public broadcasting makes our country smarter, stronger, and safer. PBS and NPR both can inform, educate, and inspire people. And they both push us into elevating us and our sights. They both also encourage us to think and understand as well as bring us together. Today trust among Americans and for many national institutions is at its lowest in generations. Stereotyping, prejudice, and anti-intellectualism have proliferated that the US has elected a narcissistic sociopath as president who thinks little of America and embodies the country at its worst. Since PBS is ranked #1 in public trust, it can help build connections between different groups of people as well as promote a civil society. And we should note that most Americans oppose cutting federal funding for public television. Still, if Congress and Trump eliminate CPB funding, America would be a much more inhospitable place since PBS and NPR have played an essential role in millions of Americans’ everyday lives as well as benefited our country in so many ways. Even Fred Rogers realized this back in 1969 that he testified before Congress to defend PBS funding when Nixon wanted to cut it. More than ever we need a media outlets that value people over profits as well as enrich our lives. $1.35 a year is a small price to pay. Besides, the fact Trump is willing to cut PBS and NPR funding means he doesn’t value what’s great about America.

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Please Don’t Build This Stupid Border Wall

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“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively — I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” – Donald Trump, during his presidential campaign.

One of President Pussygrabber’s signature campaign promises is to build a huge wall at the US-Mexican Border to deter undocumented immigration which has attracted a lot of support from his supporters. Now that he’s president despite most Americans’ fears and embarrassment, he has a chance to make this border wall a reality. Now I know that many Americans aren’t very cool with undocumented immigration and think a large border wall is a good idea. After all, people apparently think that large physical barriers can keep people from accessing certain places. As of now, there are about 300 companies bidding on it. However, having the border wall in any sense would be a notoriously stupid idea that would waste billions of American taxpayer money. In fact, it would be an utter catastrophe. There is absolutely no evidence that it will be beneficial to anyone. Not to mention, it’s very likely that it’ll inflict tons of needless damage. Common sense alone should tell us that building a wall along the US-Mexican border is an inherently dumb idea. Besides, the reason why so many Americans want a wall built has more to do with racism and xenophobia. My advice to them fearing diversification is suck it up. Minorities just want to live their lives in peace. So if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. Nevertheless, a wall may make these Americans feel safer even if it won’t. But that doesn’t building an incredibly expensive wall to ease their cultural and demographic anxieties because it won’t. Here I list the reasons why we shouldn’t build that stupid wall Trump wants.

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I remember from reading about Asian history in college how Chinese Emperor Qi Shi Huang declared he’d build a big beautiful wall to keep the barbarian hordes out. And that Mongolia was going to pay for it. Well, it did eventually when Kublai Khan took over China. So I guess the Great Wall of China didn’t really do its job.

  1. It Won’t Work– This totally obvious in that whenever there’s a border wall, people will always find a way to get past it. It doesn’t keep people out or in. Because they’re merely obstacles that delay people from their destinations. The Great Wall of China didn’t stop the country from being taken over by foreign invaders like the Mongols and the Manchurians who established dynasties lasting for several decades. At least the Great Wall of China’s main asset is its cultural and historical significance as well as the money it generates from tourists. The Berlin Wall surely didn’t keep East Germans from trying to get over it during the Cold War even with heavy security. Because living under an authoritarian Communist regime with little regard for human life pretty much sucks. If you want to know whether Trump’s wall will keep undocumented immigrants, cartels, and so-called deviants out, you can just think of all the ways they can circumvent it, if desperate enough. They can climb over it. They can dig a tunnel under it. They can take a plane and fly over it. Or they can go around it by boat either along the Pacific or the Gulf of Mexico. Just look at the map on the last one. Oh, and border barriers have a tendency to frequently fail.
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Most estimates on how much Trump’s wall is going to cost usually range between $21-$25 billion at least. However, as time passes, we should expect it to be more expensive. Kind of like having Trump as president and just as useless. Seriously, what the fuck, Trump voters? However, Mexico would still pay for it, right? Sorry, but that’s not going to happen.

2. It’s Obscenely Expensive to Build and Maintain– Almost every cost estimate I looked at on Trump’s border wall has ranged from as low as $25 billion to as high as $2 trillion. But in any case, constructing and maintaining the wall will only get more expensive as time goes on. As John Oliver pointed out last March, as “maintenance costs will exceed the initial construction costs within seven years.” Of course, the construction costs would include the building materials, equipment, transportation, and labor. You also have to account for access to infrastructure, source locations for power and utilities, soil conditions, unplanned errors and omissions, regulatory requirements, and weather. With labor, you have to worry about morale and fatigue which can lead to absenteeism, turnover, and crew inefficiencies. Not to mention, in a project spanning great distance, you have to expect labor productivity loss due to continuous mobilization and demobilization such as moving labor, equipment, and materials from one area to another. You should also count for security since there will be activists protesting. In addition, construction megaprojects like Trump’s proposed wall usually go over budget 90% of the time. Once the wall’s built, then you need border patrol including agents on foot, vehicles, and horseback as well as various forms of video surveillance. Because without monitoring the wall wouldn’t be effective. Not that it will be anyway. Then there’s maintenance when it fails or is breach which will often happen adding billions more. But that’s all right because Trump promised that Mexico will pay for it. Though don’t bet on it.

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Despite that Cheetoface promised that Mexico will pay for the wall, former Mexican President Vincente Fox has made it perfectly clear it won’t. Why? Because Mexico sure as hell doesn’t want it, especially after Trump referred to Mexicans as criminals, drug mules, and rapists. So Trump voters who took into your Cheeto lord’s bullshit, the wall bill’s on you. Sorry.

3. Mexico Won’t Pay for It– Mexico knows that building a border wall between their country and US will only hurt their interests. Trump’s border wall has pissed off the Mexicans and soured US relations with the country that its president cancelled a meeting with President Cheetoface. Mexican politicians have even swore about not building it in English. And Mexico’s Catholic church has equated any Mexican building that wall to committing treason. Not to mention, the Mexican economy has shown signs of stress with bordering communities suffering much disruption since the first barriers went up in 2006, including environmental damage and increased business costs due to prolonged crossing times. We should also understand that during the 19th century, we took a lot of their northern territory that now consists of the American Southwest. Oh, and that Mexico is out 3rd largest trading partner. So no, contrary what Lord Cheeto said, Mexico won’t pay for the wall. Not now. Not ever. I am 100% sure that the costs of building and maintaining that stupid wall will fall to American taxpayers. So, Trump voters, you’ve been conned.

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This is a coati which lives along the US-Mexican border. It’s a Mexican raccoon. Like many animals living in one of the most biodiverse areas in the country as well as home to some of the continent’s most imperiled species. Since many of these animals depend on migration routes, border barriers already make their lives difficult. Trump’s wall could make their lives even worse as well as drive some of these species further to extinction. And I’m sure you don’t want to see this little guy go, right?

4. Environmental Issues– From the Pacific Ocean down to the mouth of the Rio Grande to the Gulf or Mexico, the US-Mexican borderlands encompass some of the nation’s most compelling landscapes as well as harbor some of our most imperiled species including jaguars, bighorn sheep, and Sonoran Pronghorn. Trump’s wall will divide ecosystems and block anything walking, crawling, or slithering in its path, further pushing these and many other species to toward extinction. Open borders are essential for these animals. A wall could isolate these populations, fragment and decimate wildlife habitats, and ultimately threaten one of the most biodiverse areas in the US. Trump’s executive order over the wall threaten to destroy cooperation between Border patrol and public servants who care for many of our public lands there, including national parks, national monuments, and national forests as well as numerous areas of state, local, and private land and preserves. Not to mention it would significantly increase border security damage in these fragile, diverse landscapes.

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By the way, if Trump has his way to build that stupid useless wall, you might have to say goodbye to such picturesque landscapes like this. I know it’s sad. But that’s the price we have to pay for a bunch of white people’s racism and xenophobia.

5. Legal and Community Challenges– We should understand that the US-Mexican border is home to a lot of communities which the wall’s construction will certainly cut through such as San Diego and Brownsville, Texas. But we should also acknowledge that much of the land along the Texas side is privately owned. Sure the federal government could use eminent domain to relegate the private land into public use. But that could result in disputes over compensation. Not to mention, we should account the fact that many of these landowners wouldn’t be happy to part with their land in any case. Texas landowners, in particular, have brought lawsuits against attempts to construct short sections of barriers on their lands during the rush to construction a decade ago. Additionally, borderlands residents have made it clear they don’t want Trump’s wall, particularly the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona, which has villages on both sides of the border and has frequently endured civil rights abuses under Border Patrol officials. And that borderlands residents have elected officials who don’t want Trump’s wall either. Furthermore, during the past 2 decades borderlands communities have put up with intensive militarization including thousands of Border Patrol agents and construction of checkpoints, encampments, surveillance towers and stadium lighting. Trump’s wall could further intensify this to the bane of communities. Not to mention, the wall could wreak havoc on businesses on both sides of the border. If not, then perhaps entire states and localities.

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Here’s a sign in California telling border crossers to, “Caution! Do not expose your life to the elements. It’s not worth it!” Nevertheless, despite what Trump says about undocumented immigration, no wall can deter desperate migrants from crossing the border. And many of them are now coming from violent regions of Central and South America.

6. Doesn’t Address Complexities of Undocumented Immigration– We should keep in mind that nearly half of undocumented immigrants in the US are those who overstay their visas. Sometimes their visa overstays may not altogether be their fault, especially if they applied for a renewal prior. At any rate, these people entered the country through legal channels so the border wall won’t affect them. Nor do many of them fit into the traditional undocumented immigrant stereotype, since a lot of them all over the world through air. As for border crosses, there have fewer Mexicans and more from Central and South America fleeing violence who don’t attempt to circumvent border patrol. But rather willingly go to entry points and seek asylum or other protections there. As John Oliver said building a wall to solve undocumented immigration, “like wearing a condom to protect from head lice. You could do that. But that’s not really how you keep the thing you’re worried about from happening.” Undocumented immigration from Mexico has been on the decline and most of our nation’s undocumented immigrants have been in the country for at least a decade. Most of the newer undocumented immigrants don’t live along the border but further north in states like Washington, New Jersey, Louisiana, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. If you want less undocumented immigrants from Mexico, your best bet is strengthening the Mexican economy. When Mexico’s economy does well, undocumented immigration declines. Besides, most Mexicans crossing the border usually intend to stay in Mexico and work in the booming manufacturing, healthcare, and education industries in the US. They have no intention of crossing the border. Also, thanks to deportation policies under the Bush and Obama administrations, US immigration courts are already overwhelmed. Renegotiating NAFTA and launching a Mexican trade war might only make things worse.

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Another big obstacle to Trump’s wall is geography. Here we have Big Bend National Park in Texas which has nearly 6,0000 ft elevation changes as well as temperatures of around 100 degrees during the spring and summer. Building a border wall here wouldn’t be easy and almost next to impossible. So I don’t think it’s worth trying, especially given the view.

7. It’s Practically Implausible– During the administration of George W. Bush, the US built about 700 long fence along the US-Mexican border. Not only did Bush’s fence was much more expensive than anyone anticipated, it was extremely challenging to building it. They had to build through people’s property, build around geography, as well as waive 36 laws including the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Building a wall from 1,250-2,000 miles would face the same obstacles at least. Walls and barriers haven’t been constructed in the remaining areas because much of the borderlands are remote and physically imposing. We should that the US-Mexican Border stretches 2,000 miles which includes the Rio Grande and Big Bend National Park. So even if you don’t have to worry about building through San Diego, Brownsville, Texas, privately owned Texas border land, and more, you’d still have topographical constraints to erect any physical structure all the way across. For instance, Big Bend alone has almost 6,000 feet of elevation changes as well as dry and hot late spring and summer days often exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The Rio Grande twists and snakes through the region even more dramatically than the Mississippi so the wall in some locations would be miles from it and not follow the actual border. The river has also been dammed in several places and diverted to agriculture so it’s more of a series of different rivers than a single one. So a giant wall doesn’t seem remotely practical.

8. It Will Hurt Economies– Sure many working and middle class Americans like to blame immigrants and international trade for their economic woes. And I understand many of them prefer simple, concrete solutions like a stupid wall. However, building walls limiting mobility and trade are too simple a solution to a complex problem. Today’s economies are more linked by data, goods, and services exchanges than ever before. Workers even move between countries even with greater regulation than in the past. US economic inequality has less to do with foreigners taking American jobs and more to do with increased automation, decline in labor unions, decline in labor standards, increased deregulation, increased corporate power in almost every facet in American life, and the overall normalization of greed. For instance, income of the 1% has increased dramatically while lower and middle class wages have remained stagnant as the cost of living rises. As 1% incomes increase so does their power as well as their tendency to screw people over without consequence. In addition the mainstream media doesn’t even cover widespread labor abuses like wage theft, workplace endangerment, sexual harassment, employer intimidation, unlivable minimum wages, and other violations. No wall can change these facts. No wall can solve these problems. And I can guarantee that wall or no wall, Donald Trump will not fix them. Not because he’s a total idiot with no idea how the government functions. But because he’s benefitted from these problems along with prominent Republican donors who helped elect him and other conservative politicians. The fact Republicans and the rich have embraced fantastical notions of free-market wishful thinking that has absolutely no basis in reality to justify their anti-labor stances. And that long-standing racist attitudes and poor shaming have made many white voters eager to vote for these politicians who care nothing for them. Your best bet is overturning Citizens United, abolishing right to work laws, raising and indexing the minimum wage to at least $10-$15 an hour, real consequences for labor violators like jail time, and a social culture affirming that employee mistreatment is not okay.

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Cartels and smugglers can always adapt to border security measures if need be since they prefer to exploit checkpoint schedules over scattering their resources. And Trump’s wall certainly wouldn’t prevent narco tunnels like this one. Remember how I said it wouldn’t work?

9. It Will Not Protect Against Cartels– Despite that Trump thinks a wall could stop the flow of drugs and guns, evidence suggests otherwise. According to Politico, while the dozen or so official “ports of entry” on the border line are highly regulated and policed, cartels prefer to exploit their predictability and rationality than to scatter their resources across open desert and river expanses. Traffickers carefully study how security operates in each checkpoint so they can observe and instantly respond to weakness. One instance would be when inspections are relaxed in order to speed up traffic flows or when a corrupt inspection officer on duty turns a blind eye. They can also be clever in adjusting their behavior like smuggling weapon parts into Mexico instead of whole weapons. After all, you can more easily conceal parts that don’t contain identification numbers, making them harder to trace. Cartels can also factor and calculate losses through these checkpoints as well. And even on a bad say, cartels still would risk their shipments through checkpoints than put people and product through an unpredictable wilderness.

10. It Will Not Protect Against Terrorists– Trump has often proclaimed that building a wall across our Southern border will thwart terrorists despite that no terrorist has ever entered the country through crossing it. Even the Department of Homeland Security has long held that it has, “no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border.” In addition, we should remember that our 9/11 hijackers entered the US legally and since then 80% of those charged with or died while engaging in jihadist-related terrorist activities in the nation were either US citizens or permanent residents. Not to mention, native-born white men committed way more terror attacks on US soil than their jihadist counterparts in that same time span. These findings should indicate that most active US terrorists are homegrown. As for the terrorists who were foreign born, a list of 154 individuals who committed or plotted attacks in the US from 1975-2015 only yielded 1 Mexican.

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Support for Trump’s stupid, useless wall is mostly motivated by fear, racism, and xenophobia from white Americans seen here. It’s very clear that walls don’t work, don’t keep people safe, and don’t keep people out or in. So why do I have to pay for a stupid wall I don’t even want just to assuage white people’s anxieties of demographic change? Can’t they just suck it up, already?

11. It’s Un-American– According to Fast Company, Trump’s wall can amount to a spectacular land and resource giveaway, including ceding access the Rio Grande and its reservoirs for Mexico which won’t be good for American interests. Nor would it be great for the communities who depend on the Rio Grande for water. But what’s even more Un-American is that Trump’s wall idea mainly finds appeal among those who embrace repugnant ideologies like racism and xenophobia. And it’s mainly driven of irrational fears that have no basis in reality whatsoever. By sealing the Mexican border, the US would turn away asylum seekers from Central America. Many of them fleeing because of violence and persecution. Sending them back their home countries is basically a death sentence. Keeping these people out of the country won’t make it safer and goes against our values. And don’t get me started on mass deportations which I think are very cruel and tear families and communities apart.

12. It’s Unnecessary– As I wrote earlier, many border crossers at the US-Mexican border usually live in Mexico and work in the US. Now if big walls could keep out Immigrants, they could also keep some of them in, particularly these border commuters. Increased border security limits freedom of movement. Besides, if you look at some of the big walls throughout history and around the world today, it’s not clear why we actually need one. After all most of the big walls today were built for military and defensive reasons. I mean we’re not really at war with Mexico and haven’t been since before the American Civil War. That was mostly because we wanted some of Mexico’s lands. And the last time we had any southern border violence was during the Wilson administration. Today we have a pretty nice relationship with Mexico. And building a wall along the border only pisses them off. Besides border communities and ecosystems depend much more on freedom of movement between the US and Mexico and a wall would just hurt their interests. So there’s no reason why we should build this stupid, useless wall. It’s just a massive waste of money and nothing more.

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I can never think of a dumber Trump policy than building a border wall along the US-Mexican border. It’s useless, expensive as hell, unnecessary, and poses very negative consequences. And what’s fueling support for this barrier are fear inspired ideologies which shouldn’t be accepted by society anyway. As a taxpayer, I don’t feel that I should pay for stuff like that. So no wall, no way.

Nazis and White Nationalists by Another Name: Why We Need to Talk About the Alt-Right

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Now I always try to respect other people’s opinions as best they can even if I don’t agree with them. And in this day in age, I have to put up with a lot of people in my life spouting crazy ideas that seem to contradict with all kinds of factual information such as climate change. However, there is a one kind of ideology in American society with a considerable political presence we shouldn’t tolerate under any circumstance. But now that Donald Trump is president, it’s a movement we can’t ignore for it’s one that poses a grave and present danger in our country as we speak. We need to talk about the Alt-Right.

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Make no mistake. The Alt-Right is a far-right set of extremist ideologies, individuals, and groups whose core belief that “white identity” is under siege by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League see the Alt-Right as a white nationalist hate movement for this reason. And the fact Trump has Alt-Righters on his team at the White House like Steve Bannon should trouble you.

Considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist ideology, the Alt-Right is a set of far-right ideologies, groups, and individuals whose core belief is that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization. Known for heavy social media use and online memes, Alt-Righters reject mainstream American conservatism, skew young white men, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value. The Alt-Right has no formal organization and it’s not clear whether it can be considered a movement while occupying on the extreme ideological fringes of American conservativism. Given the nebulous nature of anonymous online communities such as websites like 4chan and 8chan, we’re not entirely sure who these people are and what motivates them. We also don’t know how much people write on these sites is serious or is intended to stir trouble. However, what we do know is that alt-righters use websites like Twitter and Brietbart to convey their message, post offensive memes, as well as harass people who disagree with them. Legions of anonymous Twitter users have used the hashtag #AltRight to proliferate their ideas, sometimes successfully pushing them into the mainstream. But more importantly, we know that they comprise of Donald Trump’s most steadfast supporters as well as played a pivotal role in bringing him to power. Now that former Brietbart CEO Steve Bannon has a high position of influence in Trump’s White House have made the Alt Right a major political force. Regardless what your political beliefs are, the fact a major Alt-Righter now occupies a major position of power should scare you. It’s perfectly clear the Alt-Right is a hate movement as exemplified by its founder Richard Spencer who’s often been accused of centering it on white nationalism to whitewash overt racism, white supremacism, and Neo-Nazism as well as frequently quoted from Nazi propaganda and spoke critically of the Jewish people. And it’s even scarier that the Alt-Right isn’t the kind of white nationalist movement that wears white hoods or swastikas. But one that sells white supremacy by trying to appeal to mainstream youth through a radicalization process involving skilled manipulation and pop culture. In short, they tend to be today’s Nazis by another name.

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Mainstream conservatism always had a racist streak in America since our country was built on institutional racism. And the GOP doesn’t shy away from employing subtle racist rhetoric and stereotypes in their political campaigns such as this Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis in 1988. However, Republicans usually try to go to great pains not to look racist and love having minorities in their party so it can look diverse during convention time.

So where did the Alt-Right come from? It’s hard to say. Though the term was coined by leading alt-righter Richard Spencer while its members have a well-known online presence, its extremist white nationalist views have deep roots in American history because racism and nativism don’t really go away once they’re no longer acceptable. Nevertheless, mainstream American conservatism has always had a racist streak because our country was built on institutional racism as well as a suspicion on immigrants who don’t fit the WASP ideal. The Republican Party has often used racist dog whistles to win rural whites over for decades and have been very successful at it as you can see thanks to the Southern Strategy designed to convert Southern Democrats who left the party when LBJ signed a series of civil rights policies. And along with appealing to the Christian Right’s version of “traditional values,” racist dog whistles would continue to win more converts in the Rustbelt and the rest of white rural America ever since thanks to Reaganism and Fox News. However, while they often appeal to racist sensibilities in their rhetoric, it’s often in a subtle way that’s made to look somewhat acceptable toward white people who might not notice it. For instance, the “undeserving poor” usually pertain to poor black and Hispanic people. “Illegal immigrants” usually pertain to Hispanics, particularly Mexicans who are also seem to be poor border crossers to drop anchor babies in order to stay in the country. And “terrorists” usually refers to Islamic extremists in the Middle East who are often stereotyped as such. However, despite that mainstream conservatism has a lot of racist undertones, most white conservatives are only racist due to being from environments where almost everyone is like them and having limited exposure to diversity that much of what they believe about people seemingly different from them is shaped by what they see in the media. But these conservatives see no problem with people in those minorities aren’t poor, live like them, and embrace their message, mainstream conservatives accept them as model Americans. And they’re willing to grandstand them to prove that they’re not the racists you might think they are.

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The Alt-Right rejects mainstream conservatism mainly for not sufficiently supporting racism and anti-Semitism or don’t advocate for white people’s interests as a group. They often use the term “cuckservative” to castigate Republicans as unmanly white men who support globalism and liberal ideas as well as imply that they let black men sleep with their wives. And yes, the Alt-Right is full of white supremacists.

This is not the case with the Alt-Right. In fact, those identifying with the Alt-Right regard mainstream conservatives as weak and impotent, largely because they don’t sufficiently support racism and anti-Semitism or don’t advocate for white people’s interests as a group. They frequently disparage the conservative movement by using the derogatory term of “cuckservative” which is a combination of “conservative” and “cuckold.” And it’s a term mostly used to castigate Republican politicians they see as traitors to their people as well as selling out conservatives with their support for globalism and liberal ideas. It has a racist undertone implying that establishment conservatives are like unmanly white men who allow black men to sleep with their wives. Though not everyone who identifies with the Alt-Right is a white supremacist according to the Anti-Defamation League, the designation itself usually applies to white nationalism because most of them certainly are as “white identity” is central to what they all have in common. And however they define themselves, Alt-Righters reject egalitarianism, democracy, universalism, and multiculturalism.

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While the Alt-Right usually recruits its members with its large online presence, they may hold press conferences and other public events at Washington D.C. Here featured is National Policy Institute head Richard Spencer.

What’s even more troubling is that the Alt-Right movement is growing at an alarming rate due to including a number of white people espousing racist and anti-Semitic beliefs as well as a loud presence online. There are also a growing number of small white supremacist enterprises including think tanks like the National Policy Institute, online publications like Radix, Brietbart, American Renaissance, and The Right Stuff, and publishing houses like Washington Summit Publishers and Counter Currents Publishing. Most of what they produced are white supremacist and anti-Semitic literature as well as promote unsubstantiated conspiracy theories many of their members believe. And if Trump’s ascent to the presidency tells us, their political influence is on the rise. Outside the Internet, Richard Spencer reserves the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. at least twice a year for a coat-and-tie gathering of his followers who regularly use false names or refuse to identify themselves for fear of being labeled as racists. Topics and themes can vary. In 2015 it was, “Beyond Conservatism” and capitalized on the strength of the virulently racist “cuckservative” meme. In 2016, it was “Identity Politics” and mostly focused on Trump’s presidential campaign and its continued success with featured speakers addressing a different facet of Trump’s influence on politics and Americans culture which they saw as an implicit white backlash against present-day politics as well as Trump creating a political space where the Alt-Right to grow.

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The Alt-Right typically recruits its members online with a marketing strategy that avoids using the word race as well as conjure rebel and anti-establishment imagery that appeals to youth. For instance, its use of Pepe the Frog as a meme is among these.They also tend to talk about preserving European-American identity under the guise of multiculturalism. And thus begins the process of Alt-Right radicalization.

Since their agenda often seeks to insert white supremacy in conservative conversations that have largely deliberately excluded them in recent decades, they have a rather savvy media strategy behind them. For instance, the term Alt-Right is short for “Alternative Right” which is a conscious attempt by these people to stake out part of the conservative spectrum and claim they deserve a voice in conservative conversations. Though many argue their real objective is to challenge and dismantle mainstream conservatism as well as legitimize racism. The phrase “Alternative Right” explicitly avoids using the word “race” as well as conjures up rebel and anti-establishment figures which are often attractive to youth. Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos painted the movement as “born out of the youthful, subversive, underground edges of the internet,” and that the Neo-Nazis in its ranks are unrepresentative. They’re also likely to use terms like “culture” to substitute more lightning rod terms such as “race” or promote “Western Civilization” as a code word for white culture or identity. Alt-Righters don’t make explicit references to white nationalism that they may believe in, they’re more inclined to talk about preserving European-American identity under a guise of multiculturalism in order to recruit his followers. This orchestrates a path toward radicalization in which seemingly normal people are intoxicated with extremist ideology and possibly molded into terrorists. A lot of extremist groups have recruited their members by exploiting their vulnerabilities with narratives of strength and warmth as well as simultaneously emphasizing with those alienated and disaffected while also promising power and belonging through righteous violence against their so-called oppressors. You can easily see a demonstration of this radicalization process in the movie Fight Club.

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The Alt-Right is notorious for its ruthless trolls who serve as orators and activists in the movement. Methods include inflammatory comments, doxing, and bombarding social media accounts with slur filled and photoshopped art. Though this statement on Brock Turner’s rape victim is incredibly offensive, this is just mild in their milieu. Because they can be downright hateful and often relentless as their victims suffer under their online harassment. Many Alt-Righters have been banned from social media for hate speech.

The Alt-Right is notorious for its ruthless trolls who serve as orators and activists to the movement. Brietbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos was instrumental in the online harassment campaign against women in the electronic gamer world known as Gamergate. Yiannopoulos was also banned from Twitter for inciting a racist pile-up on Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones. Let’s just say his reception at Berkeley was very well deserved despite now that he now has a book contract with Simon and Schuster. Other trolls have bombarded Twitter and e-mail accounts with slur filled and photoshopped art. There are also doxers who release personal information onto the Internet in order harass their victims. Though the Alt-Right didn’t invent these tactics, but the trolling during the 2016 election reached a sadistic pitch. Journalists opposing Trump received photos of themselves and sometimes their children dead or in gas chambers. This was especially the case if they were Jewish or had a Jewish surname with a signature punctuation marking Jewish names with “echoes” or triple parentheses like (((this))). Though the alt-right trolls may initially seem as annoying, they can be downright hateful and inflict a high degree of damage by issuing offensive slurs, threats, doxing, and other forms of intimidation. And they are often relentless as their victims suffer with a force they can’t argue with. At the same time they also stage propaganda campaigns organized around hashtags like #WhiteGenocide (referencing a myth that white people are being subjected to an orchestrated eradication campaign), #ISaluteWhitePeople, #BoycottStarWarsVII (in order to protest the black actor cast in a lead role), #NROrevolt (because the mainstream conservative National Review vehemently opposed Donald Trump in the GOP primary). Some Twitter accounts even depict hate symbols like swastikas and other Neo-Nazi insignia. It’s gotten so bad that several online outlets, including Twitter have suspended alt-right accounts while Reddit removed its alt-right page completely. Richard Spencer got kicked off of social media for hate speech.

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The Alt-Right sees Donald Trump as their hero due to railing against “political correctness,” Muslims, immigrants, Mexicans, Chinese, and others during his presidential campaign and were among his most enthusiastic supporters. Thanks to Trump, the Alt-Right was elevated into the mainstream and now has a key role in influencing national policy with Steve Bannon working at the White House. However, whether you’re Democrat or a Republican, Bannon’s place in the Trump administration should worry you.

As you may see, the Alt-Right sees Donald Trump as their hero since he regularly railed against “political correctness,” Muslims, immigrants, Mexicans, Chinese, and others during his presidential campaign. In return, they’ve worked hard to affix the Alt Right brand to Trump through hashtags and memes as well as become his most enthusiastic supporters. To their glee, Trump has had former Brietbart CEO Steve Bannon to run his campaign as well as be his chief counselor in the White House. Such actions have elevated the Alt-Right into a position of enormous power that they see Trump as a way to get their ideas out there. And the fact Trump cares more about his own delusional vanity and unfettered opportunism as well as his supporters’ loyalty more than concepts like ethics and common sense or decency makes him a perfect vessel indeed. It also helps that Trump managed to secure a presidential victory by calling the government corrupt, assailing the Republican establishment, flouting almost every rule of political etiquette racial or otherwise, and that he did little to put the public at ease with the matter. Now most Alt-Righters don’t see Trump as a rabid white nationalist, but his racist rhetoric has gotten them happily on board since he helps their cause in more ways they could ever dream of. He even has former Brietbart CEO Steve Bannon as one of his closest advisers, which should seriously worry you.

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Before he worked in Trump’s campaign, Steve Bannon was the CEO of Brietbart which he turned into the platform of the Alt-Right. Though he’s denied it’s racist, his white nationalist views often echo those of his devotees. As one of Trump’s closest advisers, he’s proven to be very influential in his campaign as well as in his presidency. And it poses a very serious problem since he is a very vile man.

Though Steve Bannon has denied that the Alt-Right is inherently racist, evidence says otherwise. His tenure at Brietbart itself transformed what once was a regular conservative website into the go-to platform for the Alt-Right plunging into the ugliest dregs of conservatism while praising white nationalist groups as an “eclectic mix of renegades.” In short, it was under Bannon that Brietbart became notorious for pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness while its comment section turned into a white supremacist meme maker cesspool. And it’s clear Bannon’s views often echo those of his devotees. He called Islam “a political ideology” and Sharia law “like Nazism, fascism, and communism.” On his Sirius XM radio show, he praised noted Islamophobe Pamela Geller whom he described as, “one of the leading experts in the country, if not the world,” on Islam. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative as an Anti-Muslim hate group. And he even endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan’s primary challenger, businessman Paul Nehlen who floated the idea of deporting all Muslims from the US. On the front of minorities, Bannon credited now Attorney General Jeff Sessions with laying “this populist nationalist” groundwork. Sessions has suggested that civil rights advocacy groups were “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” and his racist views prevented his appointment to a federal judgeship in the 1980s. In a lengthy July post, Bannon attacked the “Left” for engaging in “a plot to take down America” by focusing on police shootings of African Americans. He went on arguing that the Dallas cops were killed by a “by a #BlackLivesMatter-type activist-turned-sniper.” He also accused the media of an Orwellian “bait-and-switch as reporters and their Democratic allies and mentors seek to twist the subject from topics they don’t like to discuss—murderers with evil motives—to topics they do like to discuss, such as gun control.” And he added, “[H]ere’s a thought: What if the people getting shot by the cops did things to deserve it? There are, after all, in this world, some people who are naturally aggressive and violent.” Since Bannon took over Brietbart the site took a rabidly anti-immigrant tone, often hyping reports of immigrant crimes with tabloid like headlines and attacking Republicans favoring immigration reform. Bannon is even a noted anti-Semite who refused to send his daughters to a certain private school because he thought too many Jews went there and were raised to be whiny brats. Former Brietbart editor Ben Shapiro received a torrent of anti-Semitic tweets after announcing the birth of his second child. One read, “Into the gas chamber with all 4 of you,” while another depicted his family as lampshades. Former Brietbart critic Bethany Mandel was harassed on Twitter for months being called names like, “slimy Jewess” and told that she deserved the oven. We should also note that Bannon has been married 3 times as well as been charged with domestic violence, battery, and dissuading a witness. And that his second wife only dropped the charges due to threats made by Bannon and his lawyer. Brietbart staffers who resisted its transformation into this pro-Trump, alt-right hub eventually resigned in protest with several jumping ship after then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski manhandled reporter Michelle Fields (with the site siding with Lewandowski and staffers being told not to question his account). Former staffers who called out Brietbart for their ugly ways received a shitload of retaliation. It should be noted that Bannon is a very bad guy who shouldn’t be in such a powerful position at the White House. And as far as the Alt-Right is concerned, Bannon is their man in the Trump administration, as vile he certainly is.

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As one of Trump’s most trusted advisers at the White House, Steve Bannon plays a key role in shaping his national policies that will hostile to immigrants and minorities. Bannon was certainly behind Trump’s Muslim ban as well as his counter-terrorism policy to focus only on Muslims. Not to mention, Bannon probably recommended Jeff Sessions as Attorney General since he admires the man.

So what does having Bannon in the White House mean for the United States under a Trump presidency? Well, since Bannon has Trump’s ear and has been elevated to his National Security Council, we can expect a presidency that will be hostile to minorities and immigrants. We shouldn’t be surprised that Bannon was behind the appointment of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions who’s a steadfast opponent of civil rights that he was denounced by Coretta Scott King during his federal judge hearing in the 1980s. Or that Bannon’s fingerprints were all over the Muslim travel ban executive order Trump signed a week into his term. Or that Bannon was a key adviser on Trump’s counter-terrorism policy that the government-run program Countering Violent Extremism will solely focus on Islamic terrorism while downgrading the scrutiny of right-wing radicals as well as sever ties with community groups and educational programs that counter-message violent ideologies. Not to mention, the Trump administration wants to build a massive border wall as wells as crack down on sanctuary cities who refuse to cooperate with ICE 100% of the time. Such measures aren’t what’s best for the US and won’t keep Americans safe. In fact, they may put risk putting more American lives in danger as well as trample on people’s rights in the process. Banning Muslim refugees from entering the country gives Islamic terror groups another reason to hate us as well as angers our Muslim allies in the international community. Having Sessions as US Attorney General will be a massive setback for civil rights that will make a Department of Justice one defending great injustices as far as minorities, immigrants, women, the poor, and LGBT communities are concerned. Not only that, but Sessions will let Trump use the DOJ as a political tool for the White House which will let him leverage the federal government’s major law enforcement arm for political gain. for immigration, well, Trump’s wall will certainly not keep undocumented immigrants out and will only amount to a massive waste of taxpayer money. Forcing municipalities to cooperate with ICE will deteriorate relations between immigrant communities and local law enforcement, lead to an increase of civil rights violations, make local governments pursue actions going against their interests, drain local resources and economies without reimbursements, and make localities increasingly vulnerable to liability costs.

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We should understand that a counter-terrorism policy focusing solely on Islamic terror is bad national security policy that won’t keep Americans safe. As of 2017, radical right-wing extremists have committed more attacks and killed more Americans than their jihadist counterparts. And they’ve been seen as a growing threat since the Bush Administration. The fact we have a white nationalist as Trump’s trusted adviser means that there will be no right-wing extremist terror policy in the next 4-8 years. Expect this domestic terrorist problem to get worst since Trump’s victory led to a spike in hate crimes.

However, it’s Trump’s Bannon-inspired terror policy that really worries me. Why? Because a terror policy focusing solely on Islamic terror is simply bad national security. And the fact it includes a Muslim ban only makes it worse. How do I know this? I may not be a national security expert, but I am aware that cultural profiling has never kept Americans safe from terrorism. Because the terrorists posing a bigger threat to America aren’t radical Muslims from the Middle East, but the homegrown white supremacist and anti-government militants of the radical right who may often seem like the guy next door. As of 2017, far right extremists have committed more attacks and killed more Americans than their jihadist extremist counterparts since 9/11. And they’ve been considered a growing threat by US intelligence agencies since the Bush administration while the FBI has reported that white supremacists have infiltrated American law enforcement. The fact we have a known white nationalist at Trump’s right hand means that there will be no radical right counter-terror policy anytime soon in the next 4-8 years. But ignoring the terror problem will not make it go away. In fact, if anything, you can expect our right wing terror problem to get worse since the Trump administration’s hostility toward minorities and immigrants might embolden these anti-government and white supremacist thugs to commit atrocities. This isn’t helped at all that there was a spike of hate crimes immediately following Trump’s election to the presidency while right-wing terror incidents continue to regularly unfold. Or that alt-right platforms like Brietbart may have inspired several radical right terror incidents. We know networks like Fox News had as well as sites like Alex Jones’s conspiracy theory-laden Infowars as well as the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer. And this isn’t helped that right-wing terrorism often gets little media attention in the national spotlight. But when a president decided to ignore the growing threat of right-wing extremist terror, it only bolsters and legitimizes violent white extremism which can make millions of Americans vulnerable to deadly terror attacks. To cut ties with community groups and educational programs working to rehabilitate extremists will not deter any extremism within their communities.

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The Alt-Right may not yet engage in violence as we know it, that doesn’t mean they don’t encourage it. Right-wing terror attacks are rarely orchestrated by lone wolves. Trump’s campaign and election victory have normalized hate and conspiracy theories fueling the Alt-Right into the mainstream and dramatically increasing its visibility. And its growing online presence in social media and increased radicalization shows a dangerous trend. Should the Alt-Right become a force of full-terrorism, don’t expect Trump’s White House to intervene.

Right-wing terror attacks are hardly incidents orchestrated by lone wolves. In fact, many of these so-called “lone wolf” terrorists had direct ties to white nationalist movements. Though the Alt-Right may yet not engage in violence as we know it, they do provide vindication for other radical right wing groups who also strongly support Trump and have committed violent acts against other Americans. Trump’s campaign and election victory has normalized the hate and conspiracy theories fueling the Alt-Right into the political mainstream and dramatically elevating its visibility. And as president with Bannon at his side, it’s very likely Trump will put some of their ideas into national action. Its growing online presence in social media shows that the white nationalist movement is increasing in size and radicalization indicates a much more dangerous trend. And with its vulnerable population, extremist ideology, and capacity for violence, the Alt-Right provides a breeding ground for terrorism. Communities infected by the Alt-Right are fertile ground where extremism can and has taken root. The Alt-Right isn’t going anywhere and as their numbers grow, they’ll seem increasingly inclined to violent rhetoric and radicalized ideology. And it will only be a matter of time before more charismatic and ruthless leaders replace the old order, harness this increased capacity for violence, and elevate the radicalized Alt-Right from a marginalized hate group of Internet trolls to a force of full-blown terrorism. If that happens within a very short time, don’t expect the Trump administration to do anything to address the problem other than label the infiltrators as mentally unstable lone wolves if the attacks receive widespread media attention. Trump has absolutely no interest in combating right-wing extremists as such measures would offend mainstream conservative sensibilities and alienate the radical right extremists who so enthusiastically and vocally supported him. When Trump announced he was to scale back efforts combating right-wing extremism, Daily Stormer editor Andrew Anglin responded, Donald Trump is setting us free. This is absolutely a signal of favor to us. We are not a threat to America, we are American patriots trying to save this country. It is also a slap in the face to the kikes of the SPLC and the ADL who pushed for us to be classified along with actual Islamic terrorists as a way to legally justify outrageous abuses against us by the federal government.” A site called Infostormer replied, “This measure would be the first step to us going fully mainstream, and beginning the process of entering the government in full-force without the fear of being attacked, financially-assailed, and intimidated into silence by the nefarious Jews.” These praises of white nationalist celebration aren’t what you’d want to hear about a president’s counter-terror policy.

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The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was the most devastating domestic terror attack in US history which killed 168 and injured over 600. Timothy McVeigh may have engineered this mass slaughter with Terry Nichols, he was deeply influenced by the white supremacist movement and the anti-government wing of the radical right. Now with right-wing extremism on the rise, if the US government doesn’t crack down on right-wing terror, expect another attack like this.

Right-wing and white supremacist terrorism has happened before in America and has killed people. On April 19, 1995, a 7,000-pound truck bomb made of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and nitromethane racing fuel and packed into 13 plastic barrels, ripped through the heart of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 and injuring over 600. In what was the deadliest terror incident in American history, this mass slaughter was engineered by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols who were steeped in radical right conspiracy theories and white-hot fury over Ruby Ridge and the Waco Siege. Well before Oklahoma City, McVeigh had already got the idea of using a truck bomb to blow up a government building from the infamous novel 1978 novel The Turner Diaries which depicts a violent revolution in the US leading to the overthrow of the federal government, nuclear war, and eventually a race war with Jews, gays, and non-whites exterminated. It has also become according to the Anti-Defamation League, “probably the most widely-read book among far-right extremists; many [of them] have cited it as the inspiration behind their terrorist organizing and activity” and has sold over 500,000 copies as of 2000. About a decade earlier, the book had also inspired Aryan Nations regular Robert Jay Matthews into forming The Order which received widespread attention for its role in the 1984 murder of Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg. After Oklahoma City, because it was no longer sufficient for many right-wing terrorists to strike a political significant target and instead aimed for higher body counts. One of these terror plots was a 1997 attempt by three Klu Klux Klan members to bomb a natural gas plant outside Ft. Worth, Texas which would’ve killed as many as 30,000 people had the local Klan leader not gotten cold feet and contacted the FBI. The most recent of these plots was a 2016 attempt by a group called “The Crusaders” to blow up a housing complex that was home to Somali immigrants and a mosque. The fact the FBI reports that white supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in US police departments and other law enforcement agencies is particularly troubling. State and local police as well as sheriff’s departments present ample opportunities for right-wing extremists looking to expand their power base. To have an Alt-Righter like Steve Bannon as a chief strategist to a president would be their idea of winning the jackpot. To have extremists in positions of power will only undermine counter-terror efforts as well as abuse their power to victimize the people they’re sworn to protect. In recent years, law enforcement links to right-wing extremist groups have only gotten a lot more troublesome. If the federal government doesn’t step in and crack down on right-wing extremism, we may very well experience another Oklahoma City or worse.

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In the early morning of January 31, 2017, a mosque in Victoria, Texas was destroyed by fire. The authorities ruled it as an arson and the suspect is still at large. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Islamophobia had a part to play since it’s very prominent in American society. In any case, ethnic and religious minority houses of worship tend to be prime targets for right-wing terrorists. If white conservatives continue to deny that right-wing extremism is a problem, then expect more scenes like this.

Nevertheless, while the Alt-Right may be a new to the right-wing extremism scene with its social media recruitment strategy, but their white nationalist beliefs and radicalization methods are not and have been embraced by right-wing extremists long before they were around. Downplaying the right-wing extremist threat won’t make it go away as well as put US national security significantly more at risk. For a president to have Alt-Righters as important advisers in his government only compromise US national security even further. In order to keep America safe from terrorists, our national security policies shouldn’t be about protecting white conservatives’ emotional security and making the Pentagon their safe space. When lives are at stake, we can’t ignore the reality of evil just to protect their tender illusions. Today discussing the threat of right-wing terrorism remains politically controversial that when the Department of Homeland Security addressed the issue in 2009, there was considerable conservative backlash. I know many white Americans don’t want to discuss it and some may even be personally insulted by the term “right-wing terrorism” or “right-wing extremism” and think it applies to them despite that there’s no reason they should be. But there comes a time when we have to tell the public what they don’t want to hear. Because ignoring the very real problem of right-wing extremist terror only exacerbates it, especially if millions of Americans vote for a man who’s refused to disassociate himself from his white supremacist supporters. The failure of right-leaning legislators, pundits, and intellectuals to take a clear stand against the Alt-Right along with other right-wing extremists for the benefit of all carries too high a price not only in American lives and national security, but also in our character since they pose an existential threat to our fundamental values such as pluralism, tolerance, and equality that form the basis of a liberal democracy. Americans can’t afford to keep right-wing extremism off-notice and if the White House doesn’t make it clear in opposing their kind of violence, then Trump’s lenience on right-wing terrorism further solidifies the administration as being on the side of white supremacy. Thus, it must be up to us American citizens to make that threat known and inspire political pressure because for millions of people’s lives and well-being may depend on it.

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A Primer on Sanctuary Cities in the United States

 

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Federal immigration officials often rely on local law enforcement to identify people who may be in violation of immigration laws. But some jurisdictions would refuse to turn over suspected undocumented immigrants to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The process goes as follows. Police arrest immigrants for reasons unrelated to their immigration status and are booked in local jails. There, their fingerprints are taken and eventually shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement which is required by law. ICE will ask officials to hold individuals if they’re in violation of immigration laws while ICE obtains a warrant. County and municipal policies dictate whether to comply, or release the individuals in question. Depending on local criteria, a sanctuary jurisdiction wouldn’t comply.

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Sanctuary cities have been a major topic in recent years and are mainly believed to be liberal metropolises that are riddled with crime. Conservatives often argue in favor of defunding them and they aren’t seen as popular. However, sanctuary communities have been on the rise and not for the reasons conservatives think.

In recent times, the topic of sanctuary cities has attracted a lot of attention since undocumented immigration is a very controversial subject almost everyone has an opinion about. And this issue has been pushed by Republicans who call sanctuary cities as a crime ridden hellholes that should be defunded in order to get with the program. Congressional Republicans have introduced bills targeting these places, while Republican governors and state legislators have enacted policies banning them. Either way, Republican politicians have campaigned against sanctuary cities during the 2016 election. And now newly President Cheeto Pussygrabber has signed an executive order directing the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to defund sanctuary jurisdictions refusing to comply with federal immigration law. Also, he issued the Department of Homeland Security to begin issuing public reports including, “a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.” However, a George Mason law professor argued that Mr. Raging Orange Rug Hair’s withholding of federal funding to these places would be unconstitutional: “Trump and future presidents could use [the executive order] to seriously undermine constitutional federalism by forcing dissenting cities and states to obey presidential dictates, even without authorization from Congress. The circumvention of Congress makes the order a threat to separation of powers, as well.” Nevertheless, sanctuary communities have been on the rise, especially in my home state of Pennsylvania where they now consist of half the state. And it’s likely that Pittsburgh may be on its way. Though that hasn’t stopped the State House from passing an anti-sanctuary bill mandating that these counties and municipalities honor ICE requests to hold a person in custody for at least 48 hours or else no state grants for law enforcement.

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Here is Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. In 2016, he distinguished himself as a high profile opponent of sanctuary cities and has proposed to defund these criminal hellholes. But in a sick twist of irony, one of these would be his home county of Lehigh which became the setting for a major case that made sanctuary communities much more popular in Pennsylvania.

So what are sanctuary cities? Are they really as horrible as they say? And why have they been on the rise in recent years? You might think these policies are designed to protect undocumented immigrants. But the reality is far more complicated than what most people even imagine. And they’re often so misunderstood. Perhaps I can show you an FAQ to answer your questions.

What is a sanctuary city?

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When people think about sanctuary cities, they often think of San Francisco. However, sanctuary cities is kind of misnomer since sanctuary polices have been adopted by states as well as all kinds of municipalities. Sometimes this is through written policy while other times it’s through certain practices. These policies and practices differ throughout jurisdictions. However, just to be convenient we’re just going to define sanctuary jurisdictions as places who refuse to honor ICE detainers by themselves for whatever reason.

A sanctuary city is a jurisdiction that’s adopted a policy protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they’re now living. Such policy can be set out expressly in law (as in local ordinance) or observed only in practice (like a don’t ask, don’t tell policy). It generally applies to cities that don’t use municipal funds or resources to enforce nationally immigration laws and usually forbid police or municipal employees to inquire about a person’s immigration status. The designation has no precise legal meaning. Policies and practices differ throughout the country.

How many sanctuary cities are there?

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This map is from a study at Temple University in Philadelphia. It shows how each county in the state deals with ICE detainer requests. I should also like to point out that many of these sanctuary counties don’t like to be viewed as such and went for Trump in 2016. And they’re certainly not the places you think of when we talk about sanctuary cities.

According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, sanctuary policies limiting how much local police can cooperate with requests from federal authorities to hold immigrants in detention are present in 4 states, 39 cities, and 364 counties. These include almost every county in Colorado, Oregon, and New York as well as most of Florida as well as California, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and several major cities on the East Coast. And they’re not just limited to liberal and urban areas either. For instance, if you look at a map of Pennsylvania from a study at Temple, you’d notice that there are sanctuary policies in my home jurisdiction of Westmoreland County as well as in Fayette, Washington, Somerset, Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Erie, Blair, and Bedford as of 2017. And the ones I just described have only had sanctuary policies in their books since September. All of these counties went for Trump in 2016 and probably would rather see the undocumented living among them deported. Which is why local officials try to distance themselves from the loaded “sanctuary” label.

Are sanctuary cities legal?

It’s hard to say. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 has outlawed cities’ bans against municipal workers’ reporting people’s immigration status to federal authorities as well as established minor crimes as grounds for deportation. Its Section 287(g) allows state and local law enforcement personnel to enter into agreements with the federal government to be trained in immigration enforcement that would help them enforce immigration law. But it provides no general power for immigration enforcement by state and local authorities. However, such provision was only implemented by state and local authorities in California, Arizona, Alabama, Florida, and North Carolina as of 2006. Furthermore, 8 U.S. Code § 1373 states that “a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” Opponents state that the Justice Department requires that most federal grant money recipients certify their compliance to federal law, which sanctuary cities violate by not asking about, recording, or submitting their residents’ immigration status to the feds.

However, though federal officials usually have to rely on local police to help enforce federal immigration laws, the law doesn’t necessarily require local authorities to detain undocumented immigrants because their federal counterparts make a request. In fact, federal courts across the country have found complying with requests is usually voluntary. To back it up, supporters often cite the Tenth Amendment that according the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, prevents the, “federal government from coercing state or local governments to use their resources to enforce a federal regulatory program, like immigration.” Thus, Congress can’t force state or local governments to collect immigrant status information in order to share it with the Feds. And because these places never collected the data in the first place, they didn’t violate federal law. Some even believe enforcing immigration should only be left to the federal government and that local law enforcement should stay out of it. So let’s just say it’s a legal tossup at the moment.

Are sanctuary cities a new thing?

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Sanctuary cities have been in California for years thanks to the Sanctuary Movement. However, while many think that California metro areas adopt these policies due to liberal leanings, we also have to account for the fact that undocumented immigrants play a key role in the state’s economy and society, especially in low-income jobs. Not to mention, past instances have led authorities focus more on building relationships with immigrant communities in order to solve crimes. In other words, local law enforcement needs undocumented immigrants to be able to contact them without fear of deportation.

No. Los Angeles was the first to initiate a sanctuary city policy in 1979 to prevent police from inquiring about arrestees’ immigration status. The internal “Special Order 40” states: “Officers shall not initiate police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person. Officers shall not arrest nor book persons for violation of title 8, section 1325 of the United States Immigration code (Illegal Entry).” Certain other cities have followed suit during the 1980s and after. Though recent years have also contributing other jurisdictions to the same.

So when did sanctuary cities become a national issue?

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Sanctuary cities have become more of a high profile issue in recent years due to their reputation of harboring undocumented immigrants. And much of it has been opposition by Republicans who have no idea why jurisdictions would implement these policies in the first place. This especially apparent with Pat Toomey who opposes sanctuary polices while his home Lehigh County has adopted them. And for a very good reason.

The issue entered in the national spotlight with the 2008 GOP presidential primary when Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo ran on an anti-illegal immigration platform and specifically attacked sanctuary cities. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney also accused former mayor Rudy Giuliani of running New York City as one. Giuliani’s campaign returned the favor saying that Romney ran a sanctuary in the Governor’s mansion and that New York City isn’t a “haven” for undocumented immigrants.

Then there were reports of a series of crimes. In late June 2009, 3 undocumented immigrants were suspected of murdering a waitress in Albuquerque, New Mexico (one of whom was not deported despite being arrested for two prior DUI incidents). Then mayoral candidate Richard J. Berry decried the city’s sanctuary policy and vowed to eliminate it if elected. He defeated incumbent Mayor Martin Chavez that year.

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Kathryn Steinle’s murder by an undocumented immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez in 2015 had sparked a national debate about sanctuary cities. And it led to a piece of congressional legislation known as “Kate’s Law” which targeted undocumented immigrants with criminal records and multiple deportations. But as of 2017, no vote has been held.

In 2015, an undocumented immigrant with multiple deportations shot Kathryn Steinle dead in San Francisco which sparked controversy and political debate over its place as a sanctuary city. In addition, many Republican presidential candidates would blame the sanctuary city policy for Steinle’s murder and encourage the need for a secure border wall. Donald Trump would also use the incident to criticize Jeb Bush and as a rationale to deport undocumented immigrants in the US.

Meanwhile, Congress would author The Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015 or Kate’s Law which would’ve amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to increase from two years to five years the maximum prison term for an alien who reenters after being denied admission, excluded, deported, or removed. It also would’ve established a 10-year maximum prison sentence for an alien reentering after being denied admission, excluded, deported, or removed on 3 or more prior occasions and 5-year mandatory minimum prison term for an alien who reenters after being removed following a conviction for an aggravated felony or following 2 or more prior convictions for illegal reentry.

Do sanctuary cities increase crime?

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Despite that conservatives have pointed out how sanctuary policies contribute to more crime, there is absolutely no evidence supporting that argument. However, there is evidence that might suggest that sanctuary policies might do the opposite.

According to a study by University of California at Riverside assistant professor Loren Collingwood, sanctuary policies don’t have any statistically meaningful effect on crime.

A study by associate professor Tommy K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego draws a different conclusion. “Crime is statistically significantly lower in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties,” he wrote in a paper for the Center of American Progress. “Moreover, economies are stronger in sanctuary counties—from higher median household income, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance to higher labor force participation, higher employment-to-population ratios, and lower unemployment.” The study evaluated sanctuary and non-sanctuary cities, “while controlling for differences in population, the foreign-born percentage of the population, and the percentage of the population that is Latino.”

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Local law enforcement in sanctuary jurisdictions often admit that they rely on undocumented immigrants to come forward and report crimes. The fact undocumented immigrants are more likely to be crime victims than anyone else and more afraid to contact the police shows why.

We should also account that local law enforcement officials favor sanctuary policies and have said they don’t want the job of enforcing federal immigration laws. In addition, they admit to relying on immigrants in their communities to come forward to report crimes. The fact undocumented immigrants are most likely to be crime victims and least likely to report crimes to the police illustrates why many police view sanctuary cities this way. Undocumented immigrants who don’t live in sanctuary jurisdictions are frequently discouraged from reporting crimes to police due to fears of deportation. And these deportation fears can limit law enforcement access to potential victims, witnesses, informants, and neighborhood advocates. Many police often say that honoring ICE detainer requirements could scare people away and don’t want law-abiding undocumented immigrants to be afraid to contact them in order to report a crime.

Do sanctuary city policies prevent police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities?

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Contrary to popular belief, while sanctuary policies may restrict police from cooperating with federal authorities, they don’t prevent it entirely. Most of the time, sanctuary policies restrict ICE cooperation with law enforcement on certain criteria. For instance, a sanctuary jurisdiction may refuse to honor ICE detainer requests because the individual warrant out against them or a criminal record to speak of. Or that the detainer isn’t backed up by a warrant from a judge.

Most sanctuary policies only limit police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities on undocumented immigrants with no criminal record to speak of. Let’s just say every jurisdiction is different but most of the time sanctuary policies specify that local authorities can’t hand over undocumented immigrants to ICE solely due to their immigration status, on minor crimes, or without any judicial warrant or court order. None of these protective policies prevent police from pursuing immigrants who commit felonies. According to a Department of Justice inspector general report, some jails in sanctuary areas only comply with a detainer request when the inmate has prior felony convictions, gang membership, or is on a terrorist watchlist. Others may reject every detainer request as well as refuse any kind of collaboration with ICE. In my home Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, county prison staff don’t accept ICE detainers unless they have a judicially authorized warrant or court order. Otherwise, the ICE detainer will be sent back to the agent. But while Westmoreland County said they’d inform ICE if a suspected undocumented immigrant is being released, most cooperation ends here. Washington County does the same thing as well as put the detainers on file for future reference. Meanwhile, Butler County’s sanctuary policy expressly forbids ICE agents from accessing the county jail or those in custody for investigative purpose. Butler also prohibits officials from using county resources to communicate with ICE regarding inmates. So whether sanctuary policies prevent local police from cooperating with ICE varies from jurisdiction.

Why would any place want to adopt sanctuary policies?

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If you want to understand why jurisdictions would adopt sanctuary policies, we should understand the Secure Communities program which was supposed to encourage federal, state, and local cooperation on deporting criminal undocumented immigrants. However, the Secure Communities program was riddled with problems, had unclear constitutionality, and resulted in incidents of abuse.

During the height of the country’s undocumented immigration challenges before the recession, law enforcement officials in some communities expressed concerns about releasing these inmates after they’ve serve time for state offenses. Some of these communities entered agreements to help federal authorities with immigration enforcement. These arrangements allowed local jails to house undocumented immigrants after they served time on state charges and bill the federal government for this service. Sometimes they passed these inmates to jails without any formal notice to family members, then into the immigration court system for an expedited removal hearing. A lot of times, people were returned to their home countries in weeks. By 2011, the Secure Communities program had been deporting more than 400,000 people per year and had over 1,210 jurisdictions participating.

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The Secure Communities program was often criticized for many of its inherent flaws such has lack of recognition of civil rights and due process as well as lack of transparency and oversight. Studies showed that most of the arrestees who were deported didn’t have any serious criminal record to speak of. There may be constitutional issues as well.

Critics often said the Secure Communities Program could generate a revenue stream for local prisons as well as violate international human rights accords. Many localities and states reported not being reimbursed for costs relating to their participation and saw the program as a strain on their resources. Civil liberties organizations called it a vehicle for cultural profiling. Some people couldn’t talk to their embassy officials from their countries or notify family members of their arrests, basically disappearing without explanation.More than one analysis of deportees and what happened during the process showed that most of these people were initially arrested for minor traffic violations, had no criminal records to speak of, or were low-level offenders who served their time. A 2011, Berkeley study showed that only 52% of Secure Communities arrestees were scheduled to have a hearing before a judge and out of those who had, only 24% were represented by an attorney. They also found that 88,000 families that included US citizens had a relative arrested under the program and that 3,600 of arrestees were US citizens. Immigrant advocates said the program deeply damaged already limited police trust in immigrant communities, making people afraid to call the cops or provide information, which these advocates saw as a threat to public safety. Thus, making these places harder to police. Also a number of court cases implied that the “detainer requests” might be unconstitutional and put cities in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Then there are have been reports that the Secure Communities program didn’t have clear complaint mechanisms as well as a lack of transparency and oversight.

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Ernesto Galarza was a part-time construction worker who was illegally held at the Lehigh County jail for 3 days pursuant of an ICE detainer without a warrant, court order, or an explanation. And the ICE detainer was issued because Allentown police suspected Galarza may be an undocumented immigrant. Even though he carried a state driver’s license and his Social Security card as well as told police he was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. His case sent a broad message that if local jurisdictions choose to honor ICE detainer requests, they’ll have to face the consequences if it’s against the wrong people. Such ruling has been a driving force for jurisdictions across Pennsylvania adopting sanctuary policies.

Then there’s the matter with ICE issuing detainer requests they use to gain custody of undocumented immigrants for deportation. Detainer requests aren’t supported by a finding of probable cause or court order. In other words, it’s someone could have an ICE detainer on them on mere suspicion of an undocumented immigration status which can result in being detained for more than 48 hours. So it’s no surprise that some legal experts have questioned these ICE detainers’ constitutionality. In November 2008, Allentown police arrested a part-time construction worker named Ernesto Galarza in a drug bust at his workplace on a drug offense of which he was found innocent. At the time of his arrest, Galarza showed his state driver’s license and Social Security Card from his wallet and told local officials he was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, which should’ve made his US citizenship obvious to law enforcement. However, because Galarza was Hispanic, the arresting officer was apparently unsure about his citizenship and called ICE. ICE issued a detainer asking prison officials to hold Galarza while ICE investigated his citizenship and immigration status. As a result, Galarza was illegally held in the Lehigh County Prison for 3 days past when he should’ve been released with no warrant, no court order, and no explanation. And it was all because of racial profiling among local law enforcement as well as ICE agents’ baseless assertion that he might be an undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic they were looking for. Galarza lost his part-time job because of this. In March 2014, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia found Lehigh County violated Galarza’s constitutional rights. Furthermore, the court ruled his detainer was only a request for help, not a binding order such as a federal warrant signed by a magistrate and that local governments have to pay damages for violating the rights of criminal suspects and jail inmates, not ICE. In other words, because Lehigh chose to honor the ICE detainer which resulted in a citizen’s wrongful imprisonment, it’s on them. After having to pay Galarza $95,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, the Lehigh County commissioners voted unanimously not to imprison people solely on ICE detainers against them. Other Pennsylvania counties followed suit figuring that it was safer to break federal immigration law than accidentally violate a citizen’s civil rights. Because if a local cop can get an ICE detainer against someone on merely suspecting their legal status, then it’s the federal immigration policy with the problem.

Do undocumented immigrants commit more crime than others?

To put it this way, absolutely not. Immigrants of all kinds are actually much less likely to commit crimes than native born citizens regardless of legal status. Not only that, the possibility of deportation usually gives immigrants a high incentive to obey the law. However, undocumented immigrants are far more likely to be crime victims because they’re least likely to report to the police due to threats of deportation. Now there may be some undocumented immigrants who are criminals, but the count’s not as high as 2-3 million. DHS estimates about 1.9 million while the Migration Policy Institute and Pew Research Center approximates 820,000 with some already incarcerated. Still, we should understand that undocumented crime is far less of a problem in localities than undocumented immigrants shunning contact with the police.

What about the shooting of Kathryn Steinle?

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The murder of Kathyrn Steinle is often used as a talking point for cracking down on sanctuary cities. Is San Francisco’s sanctuary policy at fault? To an extent. But despite being deported 5 times, Juan Lopez-Sanchez was a low-level drug offender who served his time. So prior to shooting Steinle with a stolen gun, there was very little reason he’d pose a danger upon his release.

I know this story is often used by sanctuary city opponents on how San Francisco’s refusal to honor a detainer for Juan Lopez-Sanchez requesting that they keep him until ICE agents arrived cost a young woman’s life. Sure Lopez-Sanchez was a convicted felon who’ve been deported 5 times. However, there’s a lot that’s misunderstood about this case. For one, Lopez-Sanchez wasn’t a violent criminal and his record mostly consisted of reentry violations and drug offense all of which he served time on. The only real danger he posed to society was endangering those who bought drugs from him. So at best he was a low-level offender who served his time. Also, multiple deportations aren’t unusual for undocumented immigrants even for those without criminal records. Not to mention, Lopez-Sanchez had been homeless since his release. Second, the reason San Francisco didn’t honor ICE’s request was because Lopez-Sanchez had no active warrant for his arrest upon his release as consistent with their sanctuary city policy upon his release from prison. Yet, while the sheriff’s failure to notify ICE about Lopez-Sanchez’s release may have cost Steinle’s life since he had no active arrest warrant, it doesn’t mean that San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy is solely at fault. And if it is, it could be easily remedied with placing rules requiring law enforcement to notify ICE on individuals with criminal history upon their release. Other sanctuary jurisdictions do that. Third, it’s very likely that Steinle’s death was an accident because Lopez-Sanchez had absolutely no idea who she was. And it’s very unlikely that he fired that stolen gun in order to kill her because he might’ve fired toward the ground before the bullet ricocheted from the pavement. Fourth, it’s very likely Steinle’s death was due to failures at the local, state, and federal levels. Sure San Francisco’s sanctuary policy may be partly to blame. Yet, the Bureau of Prisons could’ve also handed Lopez-Sanchez to ICE instead of San Francisco. Hell, they could’ve just turned him over to a California state penitentiary. Or pass laws requiring people to lock their guns before leaving them in a car. Or maybe put Lopez-Sanchez in a halfway house so he wouldn’t be shooting a gun in the street.

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The fact Lopez-Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant is only reason why Steinle’s death has generated such political outcry. However, had Lopez-Sanchez been a native-born US citizen, Steinle’s death would’ve been just as senseless and tragic. But nobody would blame it on San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy or that he should’ve been deported.

However, we should also note that prisons release crooks who go on to commit violent crimes all the time even for drug offenses like Lopez-Sanchez. Usually nobody says that such crimes could’ve been prevented had they been deported. Because most of these criminals were born in the United States. I’m sure the Bureau of Prisons has handed over US-born criminals to San Francisco authorities all the time as well as for crimes Lopez-Sanchez was charged with. It’s probably not unusual that San Francisco releases US-born prisoners without active warrants against them after they serve their time. And I’m certain it’s not unheard of for a US-born ex-con with a record like Lopez-Sanchez to kill someone shortly afterwards. Does any of that lead us to doubt whether our criminal justice system is too lenient? Sometimes. Yet, if Lopez-Sanchez was a native-born US citizen, would any politician blame San Francisco’s sanctuary policy and failure to deport him for Steinle’s death? No. Would Steinle’s murder have gotten the kind of attention it received? No. Because Lopez-Sanchez’s status as an undocumented immigrant is the sole reason why Steinle’s murder is so often used by immigration opponents to illustrate how sanctuary cities threaten public safety. But if Lopez-Sanchez wasn’t undocumented, he still would’ve posed just as much of a danger as any other violent criminal. And Steinle’s death would’ve been just as senseless and tragic even if covered just like any other murder case.

Why support sanctuary cities?

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Sanctuary jurisdictions have many reasons to implement the kind of policies they do. Sometimes it’s because undocumented immigrants contribute so much to their society. Sometimes it could be that police would rather build relationships with immigrant communities and solve crimes than enforce immigration law. And sometimes it might be due to the area having limited resources and bigger priorities, having bad experiences with ICE, and a desire to avoid legal entanglements.

Other than basic human decency and keeping families together, supporters argue that cities have bigger priorities and too few resources to handle immigration enforcement. Many local policymakers and law enforcement agencies say that immigration enforcement isn’t their responsibility and that cracking down on undocumented residents disrupts community relations and make it more difficult to do their jobs. Cops prefer to focus on routine incidents in their localities than check whether a suspect, victim, or witness is legally on US soil. Yet, supporters note that none of their protective policies in any way prevent local police from pursuing immigrants suspected of committing crimes. In places like California, it might also be due to the vital role undocumented immigrants play in its economy and society as well as their large Latino population. You can say the same for many major cities as well as areas of Colorado and Florida. Then there’s the fact a lot of these places have endured a lot of bad experiences when they did cooperate with ICE, particularly during the Secure Communities program. For the recent rise in sanctuary counties in Pennsylvania, it has less to do with favoring undocumented immigration and more to do with avoiding expensive litigation, having limited jail space, not getting paid honoring ICE detainers, and others. Because honoring ICE detainers and racial profiling in local law enforcement have led to US citizens being illegally detained as illustrated in the Galarza case in Senator Pat Toomey’s home in Lehigh County. And since detainer requests aren’t binding orders, these local governments are usually stuck with paying the most in damages over civil rights violations, which Lehigh didn’t want to repeat. In the case of Armstrong County, the federal government didn’t reimburse their costs at the desired rate when they did hold people for ICE as well as having a jail typically operating at capacity.

Why oppose sanctuary cities?

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Opponents on sanctuary policies often argue that they undermine federal enforcement efforts and compromising public safety that leads to preventable crimes. But opponents often stereotype sanctuary jurisdictions as places that are riddled with crime and lawlessness. Rather than a place that might be similar to where they live.

Opponents argue that sanctuary policies encourage undocumented immigration, undermine federal enforcement efforts, and severely compromise public safety resulting in crimes that could’ve been avoided through deportation. Furthermore, they believe that sanctuary policies keep police from investigating, questioning, and arresting people who’ve broken federal immigration law.

Is there a moral basis for sanctuary cities?

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Though the legal basis of sanctuary policies may be in limbo, the moral basis is very much sound. I mean it should be a no brainer to keep families together as well as relieve law-abiding residents of deportation fears. Besides, sanctuary policies might be the best morally solution available at the moment.

Though the legal question of sanctuary cities can be debated, the moral question may not be the case. From what I know about undocumented immigrants, most of them came to this country illegal because the federal immigration system didn’t give them any legally viable options. Most of them have been in the US for at least 10 years while some came as children who grew up calling this country home. Many children who are US citizens and even American spouses. And despite entering illegally, most undocumented immigrants hold jobs, pay taxes, obey most of the laws, celebrate national holidays, and make contributions to society in ways most Americans don’t recognize. Furthermore, most undocumented immigrants come to the US for a better life than the one they left behind, not to commit crimes that endanger public safety. The fact federal immigration policy subjects their very presence as grounds for deportation has resulted in communities wary of law enforcement, thousands of broken families, and hundreds of kids in foster homes. And there is no good way for them to gain legal status or even citizenship. Ignoring an unjust federal immigration policy by providing a safe haven for these people may not be legal, but it’s probably the best moral solution available. But since President Cheeto Fuzz assumed office, you can forget the prospect of much needed comprehensive immigration reform for the next 4-8 years because that’s just not going to happen. In addition, the fact someone could get an ICE detainer against them because a police officer suspects their legal status has led to incidents of racial profiling and illegally holding American citizens in jail for over 48 hours with no warrant, no court order, and no explanation. In that case, refusing to hold individuals solely on an ICE detainer is morally reasonable. Then there’s the matter that municipalities don’t have the resources to handle immigration enforcement as well as bigger things to worry about. Local police would rather catch criminals than crack down on otherwise law-abiding residents who could help them. To cooperate with ICE may not be in their best interests and may lead local authorities to neglect their civic responsibilities to their constituents. So yes, enacting a sanctuary policy is probably the right thing to do.

Should sanctuary cities be punished for not complying with federal immigration policy?

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If you think sanctuary cities should be defunded because they’re crime ridden areas sheltering undocumented immigrants, you might want to check if you live in one and why. If you live in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, you should really reconsider because it’s a sanctuary county. I swear I didn’t make this up. Look it up.

No. Despite that sanctuary policies may or may not go against federal law, I don’t think penalizing them is a good idea. Now I do believe that states and localities should adhere to federal law in most cases, especially when it comes to policies involving healthcare, education, civil rights, environmental protection, labor standards, product standards, gun laws, and financial regulation. In many cases, I find that a lot of state and local governments don’t serve their constituents’ best interests, especially when it concerns women, minorities, and the poor. But I do make exceptions when I think federal policy may not be unjust, inadequate, and prone to a lot of abuse particularly when it comes to national policy dealing with undocumented immigrants. The fact states and localities have developed their own policies to dealing with ICE and undocumented immigrants illustrates how federal immigration policy badly needs reform which won’t happen anytime soon. States and localities instituting sanctuary policies have very good reasons to enact them. They may not always be about protecting undocumented immigrants living among them, especially since it’s not just liberal cities adopting these policies. Or in jurisdictions where sanctuary policies would have widespread support like in rural and suburban Pennsylvania.Thus, penalizing sanctuary jurisdictions won’t be a very good idea in any case because they’re clearly not the problem. Sanctuary policies are more like a flawed and necessary substitute to work around a broken immigration system that needed to be fixed a long time ago but hasn’t. The best deterrence would be to pass comprehensive immigration reform which opens a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as well as requiring ICE detainers be issued with warrants and court orders. Now that I think about it, perhaps instead of punishing sanctuary jurisdictions, maybe our politicians should spend time in them and learn about their policies and why they enact them. And perhaps put those policies into congressional legislation. We can start by making US Senator Pat Toomey spend his congressional recess at his Allentown home for he really needs to know why Lehigh County enacted the kind of sanctuary policy he’s so vigorously opposed as well as a lesson on Galarza v. Szalczyk. Nevertheless, if the US government can’t come up with a federal immigration policy this nation needs, then expect more state and local governments enacting their own ideas to make the best of a sticky situation.

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I end this post by bringing you a picture of the red covered bridge near where I live in the sanctuary jurisdiction of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Let it be known that sanctuary policies aren’t just limited to liberal urban enclaves like San Francisco. They can also exist in rural areas like this that don’t have a lot of liberals in them. Or a lot of people supporting sanctuary policies either. You can even live in a sanctuary jurisdiction and not even know it. Keep that in mind.

An Open Inaugural Letter to Donald Trump

Mr. Trump, when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for some lowly blogger like me to pinch my two cents in with this whole fiasco. During the 2016 election, I worked tirelessly to ensure that you’ll never become President of the United States once you became the GOP nominee. I wrote 3 blog posts citing how you’re such a despicable human being who screwed workers, investors, contractors, banks, and pretty much anyone who’d dared to challenge you or your precious brand. Of course, my efforts failed since you wouldn’t be president if they succeeded.

However, if you think I’m writing to you to offer an olive branch and let bygones be bygones, you are sorely mistaken. You may have won over the support of the Republican Party establishment, enough votes to ensure a victory in the Electoral College as well as people in my neighborhood, family, community, and state, etc. You may have the constitutional legitimacy to be President of the United States. You may have a business empire worth millions of dollars and a name known the world over. But none of that guarantees that I’ll ever kowtow and respect you or see you as my president. Because you don’t win my respect by simply being very rich or famous or being President of the United States. No, respect has to be earned. You lost that chance forever long before you ever ran for president, especially after you started promoting birther conspiracy theories. Though I thought you were nothing more than a joke just using birtherism to garner publicity. Yet, your shock jock mentality stopped being funny the moment you referred to Mexicans as criminals, rapists, and drug mules while your popularity increased. Now that I know of all your dirty dealings and many grievous sins, you absolutely disgust me. And the fact so many people voted for you despite your critical moral failings and lack of qualifications incenses me to no end as well as makes me feel ashamed of my country. And the fact you’re President of the United States doesn’t change the fact you’ve flunked basic tests of decency as the unrespectable man you are.

To see you as president makes me feel that Americans don’t seem to have any moral standards whatsoever in the candidates they elect. Now I don’t expect for my political candidates to be saints by any stretch of the imagination. But I do wish they abide by certain standards of human decency such as having some semblance of a conscience which you completely lack. From what I’ve read or seen of you, I know of no moment when you’ve never been unconditionally nice to anyone. Nor do I know any time when you’ve taken any responsibility for your actions, ever said you’re sorry, or even admitted you’re wrong without someone pitting you in a corner. Nor could I ever tell whenever you’re telling the truth or making a promise you intend to keep. But I do know of countless times when you stiffed employees and contractors out of their hard earned wages as well as cheated investors and left them holding the bag whenever your business ventures failed. I know of instances of you using litigation as an intimidation tactic or lashing out on Twitter whenever someone dared to mock, challenge, or speak out against you. I do know of times when you’ve praised brutal dictators as well as done business with them. And I know of times when you’ve done business with known criminals. I also remember times when you’ve clearly lied, made promises you never intended to keep, as well as went to great lengths to avoid taking any responsibility for the widespread harm you’ve caused so many people. I’m not just talking about all the terrible things you said you’d do to minorities during your presidential campaign or your tirades against critics wanting to hold you accountable. But also the people who’ve put all their time, effort, and sometimes even resources into your ventures so they’d succeed only to have you swindle them out of what they’re rightfully owed. Yet, you feel absolutely no remorse and don’t give a damn about the consequences if they don’t affect you. If they do, you just deny, sue, intimidate, or blame someone else for them. Because you think your wealth and status guarantee you special privileges that exempt you from following codes of conduct you don’t think should apply to you. And I know that every time you were in a position of power or trust, you’d usually abuse it to enrich yourself with no second thought. You’re such a thoroughly despicable human being with delusions of grandeur who’d rather not let his dirty laundry see the light of day. I have no capacity to respect you and no amount of money and power could ever change that.

You may have won over a large swath of white voters with your virulent screeds of racist and xenophobic dog whistles, appeals to a whitewashed nostalgia, flag-waving patriotic grandstanding, and countless promises of making America great again. However, I know all too well that you really don’t give a rat’s ass about your supporters who think the world of you unless they have a generous bank account or their name in lights. And I know as president, you will certainly betray the white working class voters who elected you if you haven’t already done so whether it be for yourself, the GOP establishment, the corporate elites of the 1%, or your cabinet of swamp cronies. I may not know the full extent of your politics but I know you aren’t a man of the people and don’t give a shit about the working man you’d only cater to with empty promises if he can give you what you want. Even if it means voting for a candidate who goes against the kind of sacred American values they hold dear and who brings out the worst of this country. But that doesn’t mean you’ll deliver since I’m fully aware that your white working class supporters have been conned by an elite con artist of the 1%. But you don’t fool me because I know exactly the kind of piece of shit you are. The media may call you a populist but your populism is nothing but a charade while your presidential campaign was all smoke and mirrors but no substantive policies. Contrary to what your supporters think of you, you’re not successful, strong, or fearless leader who deserves respect but a weak, cowardly fraud who wouldn’t have his wealth or the presidency if he wasn’t born into the 1% and had his daddy’s money bailing him out of trouble. And I wasn’t surprised when you broke your promise to drain the swamp because your extensive history shows that corruption runs to the very core to your identity. I know you will use the presidency screw the American people your own self-enrichment with little regard to laws, rules, or others. I know you will honor no loyalties and commitments and betray the office and government you’re sworn to uphold. Because I know you have no respect for America, its values, its constitution, or its people. And I know you have no respect for democracy or believe a government conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. If anything, you certainly won’t fix what’s wrong with this country but make it worse for you’re part of the problem. Even if you are now the president, I see absolutely no reason why I should have any respect for you.

You may be the President of the United States as we speak. You may have the support of my relatives, friends, neighbors, community and fellow Pennsylvanians. But you can forget me addressing you as “Mr. President” and giving you a chance to lead or treating you with any kind of respect the office entails for the next 4-8 years even for the sake of unity or the country. Your supporters, the GOP, the media, and at least 60 million Americans may continually excuse and enable your appalling and despicable behavior no matter what you do. But I will not because not only do you go against everything I and America stand for, but you also constantly violate norms of ethical behavior which I still deem as unacceptable in a president. To unite behind you for the sake of the country will only give validation of racist, xenophobic, and misogynist and sexual predatory behavior as well as legitimized greed and authoritarianism as acceptable. To call my president would be to send a message it’s okay to bully, intimidate, incite violence, and lie to people in order to get what you want and not take responsibility for all the hurt you’ve caused. To recognize you as my country’s leader means being fine with a president who’s eagerly willing to violate my constitutional rights. To be willing to work with you shows I’m willing to live in your world of vanity, hate, recklessness, untruth, vindictiveness, and your disdain for democratic norms that will lead to national decline and suffering. And deferring any respect to you for the sake of the presidential office or national unity will only give legitimacy to everything about America I despise. As president, you don’t deserve being recognized as worthy of the respect the office entails because you’re still an unrespectable man who’s nothing but a disgrace to the nation whose principles he doesn’t represent. Having you as president doesn’t make America great again and never will since you’re nothing but a repulsive sociopathic demagogue who puts the dignity of the presidential office in jeopardy. Your election shatters my faith in the American people beyond recognition as well as the people I know and love. To accept you as my president is to give my stamp of approval of your character and behavior which I won’t tolerate as well as abandon the kind of moral values I won’t desert.

Now I may still respect my country, pay taxes, and observe its laws just like any citizen. But I will not do so out of respect for you or the policies which I so vehemently oppose. Though I will exercise civil disobedience if any of your policies infringe on my civil rights or liberties or those of my fellow Americans. I will fight for the welfare of all Americans including those who elected you since I care about and respect them much more than you ever will. And I vow to resist you in order to keep you from destroying this great nation any further even if it means calling for your impeachment and removal from office. For I think those calling for your assassination are way too kind and out of their minds. As long as you’re in office, I refuse to recognize you as an authority figure. I refuse to give you any benefit of legitimacy that you don’t deserve. I refuse to normalize, excuse, and normalize whatever you say and do because I see your presidency as a disaster of American democracy and think you set a terrible example to children. You may be president, but you are not my leader and you don’t represent me or my values because you aren’t worthy of my respect let alone admiration. And as long as you’re president, I will not cooperate with you, I will not bow down to you, and I will not obey you. You may complain if you wish but you can go fuck yourself by the pussy and go straight to hell for all I care. While only God knows what’s redeemable in one’s heart and soul, I deny you the right to take away my rights or those of others, especially if they can’t defend themselves. Because I still believe in basic human decency as well as the notions of liberty, equality, and the common good that have made this country great. I will not submit to a presidential authority who rejects the Constitution as well as its underlying principles of democratic self-government and individual rights. I will not comply with a president who uses the mass media to lie, insult, to strip individuals of their dignity, to commit the grossest falsehoods against religious and national groups, as well as encourage persecution, torture, and violence. I will not get behind a leader who actively campaigns against any notion of sexual, religious, or racial equality, embraces a form of self-serving capitalism with no conscience, and threatens those opposing him with the unchecked power of the state. Because even as president, you have absolutely no right to strip minorities of equal status and protections or throw away a democratic future of posterity. And God be damned if I let it happen in my lifetime. I know what may be in other people’s hearts or minds today, but as for me, you will never be my president and I hope your term of office goes down in flames.

So instead of wishing you well and congratulations on your presidency, all I have to say to you is go to hell and fuck you. Because if you can’t respect democracy and American values or exercise any form of decency, then I see no reason to treat you with the utmost disrespect and contempt befitting of a public figure so worthy of being so strongly despised by the American public. You’re a piece of pussy grabbing human garbage who represents everything about America I hate. To see you as president gives me nothing but shame. So even if over 60 million Americans consented to you screwing them, doesn’t mean you have a right to fuck with me. Because you absolutely don’t, not now, not ever. And if you do in any way, which I’m sure you will, I will not let you get away with it and make sure your life becomes a living hell. And if you shall come to my area for any reason, fuck off. So goddamn you and everything you stand for since you’re nothing but garbage to me. Your con man’s words have no value to me since you’re a pathological liar who only tells your supporters what they want to hear while shamelessly robbing them blind with no second thought. To me, you’ll always be an outright fraud who belongs in jail instead of the White House. If reading this post inflames you to the point you’re tweeting nasty shit about me because I don’t give you the kind of respect you feel entitled to, remember that I owe you nothing. And if you’re not happy with me attacking your brand or so-called good name, then perhaps you can shove it up your ass you seem to talk out of. You can do whatever you want with me but all I have to say is screw you for I don’t care what you think of me. So you might as well go fuck yourself as your presidency fucks up the country.

Don’t Ask Me to Give a Chance on an Unrespectable Man

To the Trump supporters and voters out there, I know the election’s over and that your guy has been elected president fair and square through the Electoral College process thanks to your votes. It may not seem fair to me since my candidate Hillary Clinton won the popular vote (even by a narrow margin), but that’s how the system works. Yes, I am heartbroken that my candidate didn’t win through this bitter election and I didn’t get much sleep that night. But now that Donald Trump is president-elect, you tell me it’s time to come together, have an open mind, and to give him a chance to lead that he deserves. After all, you tell me that this is a time of civility, unity, and reconciliation. Besides, you insist that he may not be as bad as I think and my refusal to do so just makes me a whiny sore loser. You want me to treat this moment as a normal election which I should get over with and move on with my life as if everything in this country within the next 4 years will be fine.

However, asking me to accept a Trump presidency is something I cannot do. Not now, not ever. You may call me a whiny liberal with a sense of entitlement who can’t get over her candidate losing. You may call me a spoiled crybaby who can’t accept not getting what she wanted. You may call me unpatriotic for refusing to get behind the future president you voted for. You call me out of touch and immature for saying that Trump is not my president. You may say by not accepting Trump I have no respect for the presidency, the will of my fellow Americans, or democracy.

But in truth, my rejection of Trump has nothing to do with my politics or being unable to accept reality. I accept that Trump won the presidency and will be come January. I know there’s nothing I can do about it. Besides, I’ve experienced political setbacks before which I can deal with. Had the Republicans won this election with a viable presidential candidate, I would more likely put aside political differences and accept that person as my president with little complaint. Sure I’d be sad that my candidate lost, but I’d get over it. But this is not one of those times. Because with your votes, you elected an unrespectable man as president of the United States. No unrespectable man deserves a chance to lead even if he did win the White House.

When you’re asking to give Donald Trump a chance to lead, you’re asking me to accept what I already deem as fundamentally unacceptable in everything that a US president should be as well as represents America at its worst. President or not, Trump is a man I have absolutely no respect for in any capacity and that will never change. Now that he’s set to become the next president, I have never felt so ashamed of my country in my life. I am deeply horrified that so many of you could vote for such a thoroughly despicable human being with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I am appalled that so many of you were willing to excuse this man’s gross violations of basic human decency that you wouldn’t tolerate in anyone else. I am absolutely disgusted that so many of you can be fine with electing a con artist who’s cheated his customers, investors, contractors, bankers, and employees. And I can guarantee that he will cheat you. I am upset that you could choose a man to lead our nation whose campaign was built on unfiltered disdain toward racial and religious minorities as well as endorsed by white supremacist terrorists. I am outraged that so many of you could be okay with a president who’s a sexual predator with a long history of objectifying and denigrating women. I am deeply distressed that you would vote for a man who is an entitled elitist who is corrupt to the core and doesn’t think the laws apply to him, an unrepentant and vindictive bully who uses litigation as an MO to anyone who’s challenged and criticized him, a pathological liar who’s constantly made promises he never intends to fulfill, and a irrepressibly greedy sociopath who’s tried to enrich himself by abusing trust others have placed in him whenever he’s in a position of authority. I am greatly troubled that you could ever support a man who has little respect for norms of ethical and acceptable behavior. I am angered that you voted for a man who never takes responsibility for his action, never says he’s sorry, and never admits he’s wrong. I am deeply incensed that you’re willing to choose a man to lead our country who’s had a history of unethical business practices that’s hurt thousands, who’s unwilling to release his tax returns and medical records, who’s surrounded himself with sycophants and outright criminals, who’s praised and done business with notorious dictators, whose flag waving patriotism is a sham, and who’s willing to use people as pawns in order to get what he wants and doesn’t care who gets hurt. Finally, I am extremely distraught that you elected a man who clearly has no respect for American values, American institutions, the rule of law, or constitutional rights that have made this nation great. And the fact I know very well that most of you aren’t bigoted monsters only makes it worse.

I know you will tell me that you voted for Trump because you hated or distrusted Hillary Clinton, your stance on the issues, his campaign promises, or what not. But whatever it is, I absolutely don’t give a damn. If you don’t like Trump for any reason, you should’ve tried to stop him regardless of what you believed even if it meant supporting a party that doesn’t share your beliefs and electing a candidate you despise. Hell, you shouldn’t have voted for him during the primaries in the first place and not let him take over the GOP. You could’ve easily stopped him then but you didn’t. But plenty tried, even within the Republican Party. And to be honest, I actually agreed more with Bernie Sanders than Hillary. But I voted for Hillary in the primary anyway because I knew people outside the Democratic Party wouldn’t get behind a candidate like Bernie Sanders even if they were white working class. And as much as I wanted change and see Bernie’s policy ideas a reality, I really didn’t want Trump in the White House and he was already the presumptive GOP nominee by then. I knew he was an unrespectable man even then, just not to the degree I know now. Yet, I also knew that unrespectable men must be stopped. Hillary Clinton seemed to be the only reasonable choice available to me. But unlike you, at least I made the right one I would never regret. I can’t say the same for you even if you don’t now.

Whatever your reasons may be for supporting him, they don’t excuse the fact you have given validation that racist, xenophobic, and misogynist and sexual predatory behavior as well as legitimized greed and authoritarianism as acceptable. It also doesn’t excuse the fact your vote for Trump sends a message that it’s okay to bully, intimidate, incite violence, and lie to people in order to get what you want and not take responsibility for all the hurt you’ve caused as well as being fine with a leader who’s eagerly willing to violate your constitutional rights. I know you don’t intend to say these things when you voted for him. But that doesn’t matter since your vote shows you’ve decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, recklessness, untruth, vindictiveness, and his disdain for democratic norms that will lead to national decline and suffering. Yet, what’s worse is that you didn’t care. You may not really like him. You may not really believe what he stands for. But casting your vote for him doesn’t make you any less guilty of giving legitimacy to this revulsive message of this unrespectable man.

I thought you were better than to vote for a candidate like Donald Trump who goes against everything this nation stands for. I thought regardless you perceived about Hillary Clinton, you’d do the right thing by electing a leader who’d make people feel proud to live in this great country. Even if you think Hillary is a criminal who belongs in jail. But you voted your self-interests to “take my country back” and elect that despicable demagogue who promised to “make America great again.” Sorry, but voting a man like Trump for president doesn’t make America great again and never will. Nor does it take your country back either but allowing it squandered by a sociopathic demagogue who’s only playing you for a pawn as well as put the dignity of the presidential office in jeopardy. It’s not a matter whether he’ll betray your interests but when. And when that time comes, you will come to despise him as much as those who’ve opposed him. In fact, your election of Trump makes the rest of us lose our faith in the America we’ve known and grown up with and the promise that it brought us that all are created equal and endowed with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It especially shatters my faith in the American people beyond recognition as well as in the people I know and love. And for millions of my fellow citizens, the inevitability of a Trump presidency makes them live in fear, many for their lives and families being torn apart. Their fears are entirely rational since Trump fueled his campaign on bigotry as well as promised to do terrible things to them. But what message Trump’s election sends to the American people bears no resemblance to the values I was taught to exercise, admire, respect, or value in anybody, let alone in a president-elect. And I’ve learned many of these values from you, which makes me see your vote for Trump as a betrayal of those American ideals you taught me. Now I’m not sure if I know who you are anymore. To accept Trump as my president would be to normalize him as just a regular politician he’s not, which I won’t do. To accept Trump as my president is to give my stamp of approval of his character and behavior which I will not tolerate. Winning the electoral college doesn’t absolve Trump from fueling his campaign with bigotry and hate or the grave sins he’s committed against millions of Americans. And it’s because of that I’ll never stand united behind a president who’s an unrespectable man.

Don’t tell me that it was economic anxiety that led you to vote for Trump. Because most voters earning less than $50,000 a year voted for Hillary even among whites with the most economic grievances. Besides, while many white working class voters may be struggling but they make more money than their poor neighbors and are very much the middle class of their rural communities. Not to mention, white people across the board voted heavily for Trump. Sure non-college educated whites came out by force but nearly half of white college graduates voted for him, too. I’m sure everyone in the Rust Belt states know those good factory jobs left due to policies that were at least 30 years old and knows they’re never coming back ever. You know that any promise to bring back those jobs is just a mere pipe dream that will never materialize. Also, if Trump’s election was really about economic anguish then I’m not sure why you’d go for a so-called multi-billionaire from Manhattan. Don’t tell me you voted for Trump because he’s an “anti-establishment outsider” because I know though Trump may not have any political or military experience, he’s very much part of the establishment. For God’s sake, he’s been a member of the 1% his entire life and he’s more likely to support his rich buddies than your concerns if you’re white working class. Not only that, but I’ve grown up around people like you and I know very well how you complain about your taxes going to social programs like Obamacare or welfare as a thinly veiled way to poor shame as well as denigrate minorities and immigrants. I’m also aware of how you put rich people on a pedestal as if they’re successful entrepreneurs to be revered regardless of how they earned their money or how much their greed destroys. Now I’m sure that some of you may have legitimate economic concerns, but it’s very clear to me that you couldn’t care less about economic woes unless they pertain to your struggles or your tax dollars going to programs you don’t like or to beneficiaries feel are beneath you. Sure some of you may not like the elites but many of you make wealthy corporations and businessmen sacred cows who can do no wrong. But most of you like to scapegoat minorities and poor people for taking white people’s jobs, mooching from your hard earned tax dollars, and are protected, coddled, or exploited by the white affluent liberals you revile. But those liberals at least care much more about you than the big piggy billionaires, corporations, big banks and Wall Street people you constantly excuse. Besides, out of all the candidates in the 2016 Election, the one really cared the most about you white working class folks was Bernie Sanders. But I know you wouldn’t vote for him because of how much you don’t want to unite with your brown and black brothers and sisters in solidarity since they have more in common with you anyway and how America would be much better off if you did. You shirk at the notion of him calling himself a Democratic Socialist, which you view with suspicion. And I know you don’t like paying taxes either which I know you already view as big government even if it’s for your own benefit.

The exit poll data makes it perfectly clear that most of you who voted for Trump are way more white than working class. But that doesn’t stop the mainstream media from blaming the white working class for resentment of people of color and immigrants. But I know full well that white people at all income levels deride immigrants and minorities as well but they try to conceal it through their fiscal conservative rhetoric thinking liberals like me won’t even notice. If not, then you talk about it through the lens of securing our borders or fighting terrorism. Though the latter is quite ironic to me since you don’t seem to mind voting for a candidate who was endorsed by white supremacists. Or how you talk about how deindustrialization left the poor white working class without good jobs while Democratic party abandoned them for minorities, immigrants, LGBT people, women, and the environment. Sure I may empathize with the white working class on some level and why they’d be discontent with the establishment as well feel that they’re disrespected or left behind. But I find it very hard to believe that the Democrats really don’t care about the struggles in their communities. After all, weren’t the Democrats the ones to talk about paid family and sick leave, improving Obamacare and making healthcare more accessible, environmental protection, network neutrality, making college more affordable, and a higher minimum wage? Meanwhile, Republicans want to curb collective bargaining and union power through right to work laws. To say that the Democrats left behind or disrespected the white working class makes absolutely no sense to me. Or how you talk about it through rampant voter fraud that doesn’t exist. But you don’t fool me. It’s now perfectly clear to me that you still benefit from institutional racism and want it to stay that way whether you admit it or not. I mean the fact that many of you believed Barack Obama wasn’t born in the US or was a secret Muslim illustrates my point. Besides, many of you said that Barack Obama was “not your president” when he was elected in 2008. And I know it wasn’t because Obama wasn’t an unrespectable man since he was a man of great dignity who earned that chance to lead. Trump isn’t. You voted for Trump to preserve your white privilege which you thought was under threat by the nation’s increasing diversifying cultural landscape. Even if it means voting for a man who’ll only drag you through the mud along with your fellow citizens you deem as undeserving. There is no way around it. But while I don’t write off every one of you racist, sexist, or xenophobic maniac, I have to acknowledge that each of you decided that maniacal racism, sexism, and xenophobia wasn’t disqualifying for the President of the United States. Or that your selfish reasons for voting Trump matter more to you than protecting the rights of your fellow countrymen. I’m sorry, but I’m not letting you direct blame to the white working class who you scapegoat in order to avoid responsibility for the man you voted for. It’s another way of saying, “Don’t blame us, it’s the ignorant rednecks’ fault since they’re racists facing economic peril.” You knew liberals would blame them if Trump won as well as feel guilty that they’ve been out of touch with these people. For a while, I almost believed you. Yet, later it became apparent that these white working class voters only consisted of a part of Trump’s support. And those whites who were working class weren’t living on the edges of the economy either. But even if you fancy yourselves as non-racist or non-sexist virtuous people, you deserve all the shame you can get, possibly more than the proclaimed racists. Because you knew by voting for him you willingly handed the reins to a selfish, racist snake (sorry snakes). This makes you complicit in stating that millions of your fellow Americans don’t matter no matter how much you try to rationalize it. And I will not stand for it because it’s not okay.

Look, I know I probably have racist views that I may not be conscious of. Yet, as someone who’s studied history and researched political issues, I’m much more aware than most of my fellow whites. Though that hasn’t always been the case. I know I benefit from inequality and often fail to call it where I see it. But this election wasn’t one of those times since you failed to stop someone whose explicit aim was to scapegoat and pursue discrimination into law as well as in new and dangerous ways. You can’t be blameless for this no matter how strong your love for this nation’s ideals are which I now currently question. And in many ways, I feel like I didn’t do enough to call you out on your bigotry earlier when I should’ve since I knew it was always there. Even then, I underestimated how deep your disdain for the Other until today. And now I’m absolutely disgusted with you like I don’t know who you are anymore. What I find hard to accept is that many of ordinary Americans like you would vote for such an unrespectable man to lead your country. Look, I understand if you’re frustrated by the government dysfunction in Washington and that you may want change. But that doesn’t mean you should latch yourselves onto a wolf in sheep’s clothing who goes against your national ideals. And I know full well this wolf is the man you voted for. So if you berate me for rejecting Trump, don’t call me unpatriotic or a sore loser who won’t accept the election results. Because I do accept the results. But I also accept what Trump’s election means for this country and what it says about the American people. And to call him “not my president” means that I oppose his version of America and everything he stands for. Trump doesn’t represent me or the majority of Americans who voted against him no matter how small the difference. And I will fight him and his government tooth and nail to protect the American values I hold dear which I didn’t abandon on Election Day. I can’t say the same about you. So don’t tell me to embrace or support Trump because we’re one country united. Don’t lecture me about patriotism or values. And don’t ask me to give a chance on an unrespectable man.

An Electoral Catastrophe

I cannot express the fear, anger, and disdain I feel when I heard that our next President of the United States will be a man whom I can never respect in any capacity. Our country doesn’t deserve a man like Donald Trump as its leader. I find it especially shameful that many of my friends, neighbors, relatives, and even my home state went to this most wretched man. I know this man won’t keep his promises because he makes them with no intention to fulfill them. This man doesn’t give a damn about anything or anyone but himself and his own gain. This man has never made sacrifices, never accepts responsibility, never did any good for goodness sake, and never felt any remorse. He’s a man with no interest in anything but his own money, power, and fame. He doesn’t seem to value education, possess any intellectual curiosity, appreciate culture, or hold the truth in high regard. He’s a man of no ideas, political experience, and no understanding of the world he wants to lead. I know this man cares nothing about our country, our history, our values, our institutions, our rule of law, our democracy, or our people. This man won the presidency by stoking many of the worst sentiments of human nature as well as saying that our country is a wretched human wasteland.  His victory is a disaster for democracy at its worst and sets a horrific example for the world as well as our children. His campaign represents a rejection of our democratic norms and put fascism on the ballot while white, working class rural voters responded to his vile, bigotry, and false promises in droves to vote “Yes.” I absolutely loathe Trump so much I’m not sure if I can respect the presidential office during his term because he absolutely doesn’t have the character of someone whom I could be truly proud to say he’s the leader of my country. And at no time in my life have I felt such shame for my country, my extended family, many of my friends from both high school and college, my community, my state, and even my neighborhood who elected this black hole of humanity on anti-minority statements or outright hate that even white supremacist terrorists happily joined in. Except me and my parents who only had the only Hillary Clinton sign in the whole neighborhood and were possibly the only people who voted for her. For that I feel such a sense of shame for the hatred so many people in my life believe about people who are different than themselves. So for anyone who voted for the repulsive unapologetic racist, then may I be the first to say shame on you because it’s your racism that’s wrong with this nation.

Electing Trump as president doesn’t “make America great again” and never will. It does just the opposite by giving acceptable license to such a despicable man’s behavior and rhetoric that can harm millions of Americans. And it doesn’t help that most of Trump’s supporters voted for him because of his racist comments that they were willing to overlook his other unsavory qualities. Perhaps I could be among the few white women in America who’ve not only supported and voted for Hillary Clinton, but also actively wrote about racism throughout my blogging career. Despite overcoming my own prejudices with a great degree of success while writing these and reading a few books by minority authors, I am not proud of it. In fact, I’m absolutely horrified that so many white people in this country don’t actively share my disdain for racism that they’d at least not let the racist candidate win. This especially goes for my fellow white college graduates. It’s no wonder that minorities are scared to death since Trump’s election sends a resounding message that an overwhelming number of white people doesn’t want minorities here which I feel is utterly unconscionable. I’m even more upset that these racists who don’t want minorities here are people I know and people I grew up with. I am deeply disgusted by that fact because I’m well aware that it does not make things okay for many of my fellow Americans who’ll be subject to the Trump administration’s worst abuses. Trump’s presence will embolden white supremacists who supported him to be more audacious as well as push further and more extreme actions. Mosques will be vandalized and perhaps temples, synagogues, along with black and Hispanic churches. Mexican and Latino Americans could be targeted to a degree not seen in decades while Trump’s plan to deport undocumented immigrants will divide thousands of families which to me is beyond the pale. Police departments could be filled with black suspects that are stopped and frisked with no good attorney general willing to stop them. You can also take into account that lax gun laws will allow white supremacists and other right-wing terrorists access to firearms as well as more mass shootings and law enforcement deaths. So I’m not too off about how electing Trump lets the terrorists win. I can’t accept a man as my president whose message that racial discrimination is good and prudent to the entire citizenry because I know such attitudes don’t keep Americans safe from the threat of right-wing domestic terrorism which will undoubtedly rise but will probably be unsurprisingly ignored.

Trump’s presidency will solve none of our problems in this country that desperately needed fixed. As president, Trump intends to repeal Obamacare and has the majority to make it happen, which will result in at least 22 million Americans losing their health insurance, which I won’t stand for because I don’t want our healthcare system go back to the Bush years. Denying healthcare to anyone in need is unconscionably cruel to me because I believe medical care is a basic human right. Besides, despite Obamacare’s faults, the law is a huge success that has lowered the uninsured rate by half and if we didn’t have it, things would be worse. I know that Republicans have pledged to do this since its passage for 6 years saying it’s made things worse. But in reality, they were opposed to it from the very beginning due their party’s free market ideology and contributions from health insurance companies. As for the environment, Trump is sure to reverse Obama’s efforts to curb climate change like the Clean Power Plan, emissions standards, signed on to the Paris Climate Deal, and renewable energy funding. Trump not only wants to reverse all this, he also wants to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency altogether (which was established in the 1970s). The effect on emissions could be enormous which can reverberate for thousands of years and affect hundreds of millions of people. Without drastic emission reductions, global temperatures will continue to rise. Meanwhile the ice caps keep melting, the seas will rise, Florida will go underwater, and mega droughts could affect the Southwest for generations and generations. Not to mention, Trump’s presidency will give a free ride to Paul Ryan’s fiscal plans with 60% benefitting the richest Americans, make devastating cuts in social programs, and tax cuts for the rich with Food Stamps and Medicaid ending as we know it. Not to mention Medicare could be voucherized while Social Security could be privatized. Such a plan will not only keep the rich from paying their fair share, raise taxes on poorer and middle-class Americans, but also tear into the social safety net on the nation’s poorest Americans as well as put millions of children in extreme poverty. In short it will be a disaster because government should play a key role in reducing inequality like granting paid leave, equal pay for women, affordable childcare, and tax increases for the rich. But that’s not going to happen. And I know far too well that the next 4 years will have a presidency that believes in a self-serving capitalism with no conscience that Donald Trump personifies to a tee. Rejecting such legitimized greed in my country is critical part of my progressive Catholic identity. I cannot accept this from a government to undo so much progress this country has made under Obama and I will not bow down to Trump for it.

Trump’s presidency will also tarnish America’s reputation as a respected world power and beacon of the free world. It’s bad enough that Vladmir Putin and WikiLeaks were able to help Trump with the election by hacking into Hillary’s e-mails. But Trump is sure to be Putin’s puppet since his commitment to the Trans-Atlantic Treaty is shaky, doesn’t believe in NATO, and is extremely sympathetic in Russia’s dominance of neighboring countries. He also thinks Putin and Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad are bombing ISIS when in reality, they’re focusing their assaults on non-Syrian rebels. Yet, Trump’s win should also encourage Assad and don’t expect him to lift a finger on behalf of his victims. It doesn’t help that Putin is greatly feared in Russia who’s left a trail of dead journalists. There are also possibilities of a trade war with China that could cost millions of American jobs, dismantling the Iran deal, the possibility of Trump turning Eastern Europe over to Putin, and his stupid wall he thinks Mexico should pay for. Then there’s the fact Trump supports torture which is a human rights violation in my book along threatening to alter American foreign policy in dangerous ways. I have no confidence that Trump could ever honor diplomatic ties or treaties and thus, I could never call him my president.

Though I might’ve known there may have been a chance that Trump would win the presidency, I always had faith that the American people will wise up and vote for Hillary Clinton despite all her baggage and beliefs. I thought despite whatever issues she represented or personal feelings toward her, Americans would choose a candidate who’d make people feel proud to live in such a great country like the United States. I thought my fellow Americans would put their country over their self-interests when they came to the voting booth this Election Day. And no matter how bad the race got, I somehow had faith that this day would pass and our national nightmare would be over. I thought Americans were better than to elect a sociopath for president like Donald Trump, a man who’d nobody would want to associate with in their every day life nor would want as a role model for their children. I was wrong for Trump’s victory and upcoming presidency thus marks the winter of our discontent. Today my faith in the American people is now shattered beyond recognition.

I know Trump supporters aren’t bad people. I know they work hard and take pride in supporting themselves.  I know that many are angry. But what they did to “make America great again” was selfish, shameful, and disgraceful. And I will make sure they regret it for the rest of their lives. I know such a phrase will evoke nostalgia but it’s of an earlier time that only exists in a dream. I don’t want to go back to a time when they thought things were better when they were actually worse. I know these people want respect. I know these people want change. Hell, I even want change and so does everyone. But they should understand that they don’t get that by entrusting their vote to a wolf in sheep’s clothing who’ll fleece them and turn this great country into his little fiefdom. They say he’s an outsider and doesn’t represent the elite. In reality, he’s an elitist to the core whose interests always go against the common working man he sees an unsuspecting pawn and nothing more. They should also know that blaming vulnerable minorities for their troubles and lack of control doesn’t give them what they want either. What they got was an outright fraud who’s never had any respect for them, their values, their institutions, their freedoms, their country, or their rule of law. In effect, what they thought was a protest against one set of elites was really submitting to another elite as a license to screw them. They didn’t take their country back. They had their country squandered by voting a sociopathic demagogue who appealed to their baser natures. Because I’ve seen people take these deals before and I know the little guy gets swindled every time. Trump won’t fix it and he won’t make their lives better. He has already lied to them like he does all the time. He’s already given them false hopes and promises he never intends to follow through. He will rob them. He will cheat them. He will hurt them. He will let them down. But many seem taken with conservative media like Fox News or so set in their pessimistic reactionary worldview that they may not even realize this. But what’s more disturbing about them is how much they’re willing to overlook Trump’s inexcusable sins like they just don’t care that he was unqualified, temperamentally unfit, dangerous, and represents a major threat to American democracy. It’s as if they have no moral standards of behavior in a presidential candidate whatsoever. Or how their political choices may inspire their children to bully minority kids in their neighborhood or school. In the end, all I know is their support for Trump will give them nothing they want and may be even worse off than they were. And they’re doing with their votes is just bringing the rest of us down with them and dragging us through the mud. I guarantee he will wreck this nation and make the rest of us live with the consequences for the rest of our lives as well as those for generations to come. If they’re wise, these Trump supporters will regret voting for him. Maybe not today or tomorrow. But someday and for the rest of their lives. How do I know this? Because he’s screwed people who’ve trusted him left and right. And Trump supporters will be no exception.

Yet, though these Trump supporters try make themselves seem like they’re rugged individualists, the reality is that many of them aren’t. They’re actually kind of pathetic like many of the rest of us. Sure they may be religious, but they lack real Christian courage and they tend to choose their Un-Christian politics over Christian virtues. They think they’re tough with guns which they think will protect them. Yet, in reality, cling to their guns because they believe the world is a dangerous place and that the police can’t be trusted. Some may believe that government spending is out of control despite that they’re on welfare and food stamps because their job pays a shitty wage and doesn’t offer benefits. And they’re so afraid of being fired they’re so unwilling to stick up for themselves to their employer who’s exploiting or possibly robbing them. Many of them feel their lives seem hopeless no matter how hard they work they tend to scapegoat minorities and others poorer than themselves for being lazy or getting special treatment. Many also believe that if their candidate doesn’t win, then the election must be rigged by rampant minority voter fraud. They also have a tendency to fall prey to people who’d promise them a better life but actually using them for their own ends. But they always seem to cling onto a right-wing ideology that’s failing them and makes them think the world is a far worse place than it actually is. I have very little confidence these people could ever support a man like Bernie Sanders because these people are so adverse to liberal ideas that may sound even a teensy bit Socialist to them even if he best represents their interests, let alone a politician who calls himself a Socialist. I know all too well that these Trump supporters would’ve never accepted him. Many may be distrustful of government feel that it doesn’t support their interests even when their assistance helps them or is necessary that they feel they’re disregarded, disrespected or left behind. And they live in the same old patterns because they’ve been told not to stand up for themselves, revere the rich as successful people who they say earn their money, are so stuck in their ways, or accept everything as God’s plan. I’ve grown up around these people all my life and while I don’t dislike them, I tend to see many as misinformed, ignorant, self-serving, cowardly, hypocritical, and pathetic. Not to mention, I’ve heard their subtle racist comments all the time which are nevertheless damaging. But now I’m absolutely sick of their latent bigotry and won’t tolerate it any longer. Not even on special occasions when I’m supposed to be polite and keep my mouth shut on political matters. Even worse, many of them don’t seem to consider how this election will have on their children. I mean Trump allegedly sexually assaulted several women and teenage girls he called liars and threatened to sue as a form of intimidation. While he owned the Miss Universe pageant, he used to go into the dressing rooms when the contestants were partially clothed or naked, even during the teen competitions. It doesn’t help that his 3rd and current wife is a college dropout who modeled in porn and he objectifies women on a regular basis. He even suggested that he’d date his daughter Ivanka if he could. It doesn’t help these girls’ mothers sold out their political views to this orange piece of human garbage. The fact that Trump’s election may normalize, excuse, or even encourage everything he’s said is particularly troubling. I don’t know if I can call a man like Trump, “Mr. President,” because I don’t want to normalize sexism. Or how Hillary’s defeat could prevent women from entering politics for fear of such a vicious backlash that won’t guarantee them victory (though Hillary did win the popular vote and thank God). Yet, the fact so many parents are willing to overlook Trump’s sexual predatory behavior and misogyny in this election somehow implicitly validates that these actions are acceptable. I am ashamed that American parents everywhere would even do such a thing since it sets an exceptionally horrible example to kids. And I refuse to tolerate it.

However, most importantly, I can’t accept Donald Trump as my president and because I don’t believe he respects the US Constitution as well as Americans made in order to form a more perfect union where all are created equal. He is more of a figure from authoritarian politics, not the American tradition and a democratic constitution that empowers such a leader has misfired badly. It’s very clear the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act as well as legalized voter suppression and intimidation played a huge role in his victory. In this election, Trump ran on a platform rejecting the Constitution as well as its underlying principles of democratic self-government and individual rights. Other than the 3rd Amendment, there’s hardly a provision in the Bill of Rights or later amendments he didn’t explicitly promise to override. For instance, declaring open season on journalists is a huge violation of freedom of the press as would banning Muslims and shutting down mosques be with freedom of religion. Others include freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures like stop and frisk, the right to counsel along with the Fourteenth Amendment right to birthright citizenship and equal protection to Fifteenth Amendment voting rights. It’s like he offered Americans a bag of magic beans in an exchange for their rights and their form of government with nearly 60 million complying (which didn’t include me since I voted for Hillary who won the popular vote). I deny their right to give Trump my rights or those of others who can’t defend themselves. No result is legitimate threatening the constitutional promise “secure the blessings of liberty.” No amount of angry and frightened voters has a right to strip minorities of equal status and protections or throw away a democratic future of posterity. American national leaders gain their legitimacy by competing in compliance with not just outward forms but the clear values of our Constitution such as equal dignity, religious freedom and tolerance, open deliberation, and rule of law. These sacred constitutional principles don’t bind Donald Trump. In fact, norms of decency don’t apply to him as he shrugs off the very burden of the fact itself. Like Old World dictators, he uses the mass media to lie, insult, to strip individuals of their dignity, to commit the grossest falsehoods against religious and national groups, as well as encourage persecution, torture, and violence. He actively campaigns against any notion of sexual, religious, or racial equality. He threatens those opposing him with the unchecked power of the state. Sure there was a decay in American democratic norms before Trump who took advantage of a political system hardened in hatred that it’s caused constant gridlock as well as the growth of mass surveillance and toxic government secrecy. Though Trump was elected president on November 8, he’s not my president nor ever will be.