Implications for Human Rights under President Trump

Donald J. Trump was elected on November 8, 2016 as the 45th President of the United States of America. His blatant racism, sexism, and disregard for human rights paint a grim picture for the future.

I woke up yesterday to the shocking news that Donald Trump had been elected as 45th President of the United States, my home country.  This man has proved himself to be racist, sexist,and Islamaphobic, as well as to promote war crimes, such as the use of torture and the murder of civilian families, and has shown support for the use of nuclear weapons. He has bragged about sexually assaulting women and been accused of sexually assaulting at least 12 women; he has made overtly racist comments, referrring to Mexican immigrants as rapists, and referring to drug dealers as ‘bad hombres’. He has gone as far as say he will build a wall along the border with Mexico, will ban Muslims from entering the United States, and would like to bring back the policing practice of ‘stop and frisk’, shown to involve extensive racial profiling.

How could such a person be elected as the leader of such a powerful and diverse country? Van Jones from CNN theorizes that his election is a result of ‘whitelash’ against a black president and a changing country; Michael Moore suggested long before that Donald Trump represented the ‘White Man’s Last Stand’, and Anthony Burcher from the BBC listed Trump’s ‘white wave’ of support as a reason for his victory. Whatever the reason for this upsetting outcome, we, Americans and the rest of the world, are left to face the consequences.

Obviously, the perspective for the development and direction of human rights is bleak, with someone who has so little regard for women, and spreads so much hate and fear of vulnerable minority groups is given such power and resources to exercise his will. Under normal circumstances, the checks and balances of the American democratic system could prevent him from single-handedly making the drastic and frightening changes he has suggested; however, because both the House of Representatives and the Senate have retained a Republican majority, it is unlikely that there will be much resistance from his own party to his policies.

According to his plan for his first 100 days in office, Trump has already promised to begin the construction of the wall on the border, target

Source: Ali Shaker, Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons

‘sanctuary cities’ which are cities known to frequently protect undocumented immigrants from harsh federal punishments, begin the deportation of two million ‘criminal’ immigrants, and suspend immigration from ‘terror-prone’ regions.  What this translates into is the barring of refugees from war-torn countries such as Syria and Iraq, which by virtue of the presence of ISIS will be classified as ‘terror-prone’. It is also seems to entail the targeting of undocumented families which are already some of the most marginalized people in the country, who may be considered ‘criminal’ purely on the basis of their lack of legal status. He will turn away those who face death in their homelands at the hands of none other than ISIS itself, and will tear apart families by deporting migrants, not to mention dooming them to lives of even deeper poverty than they find themselves in the United States.

In the face of this, I try to focus on the words of  Hilary Clinton, who asked us in her concession speech to ‘never stop believing that to fight for what is right is worth it. It is. It is worth it.’ It is our job to continue to fight for the human rights of all people, regardless of race, sex, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or ability status.  It is more critical now than ever.