OPINION: Trump Sacrificing American Values for Power

A month ago, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn into the Supreme Court, despite having been accused of sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford. After the hearings, President Trump mocked Kavanaugh’s alleged victim.

When asked by 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl if he thinks he treated her with respect, Trump’s response was, “We won. It doesn’t matter. We won.”

That seems to be his answer to everything. Trump does not care about the spread of violence and hate against women and people of color, or the First Amendment. He acts only to further his own interests, and is not above putting his own citizens in harm’s way to do so.

The confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on (date) marks a dangerous low point in the downward plunge American democracy has fallen into over the past few year, brought to light and normalized during Trump’s presidency.

Kavanaugh was ushered into the Supreme Court to spread Trump’s reach into the judicial system. He was then confirmed, even after a testimony where he lied under oath, demonstrated anger issues, and implied that he is an alcoholic. Is this the type of man we should place the fate of our country in? Can we truly trust a man with such a violent temperament to be a calm, level-headed, and impartial justice? Trump, however, doesn’t care about justice.

Nor does he care about the First Amendment. Having free speech, including a free press, is important to our democracy. When the press says something Trump does not like, rather than just criticizing them, he calls them “the enemy of the people”. This is a phrase dictators have used, including Joseph Stalin and China’s Mao Zedong, both of whom got rid of the press in their countries. The phrase also incites violence against the media, as shown by the shooting a few months ago at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, and the more recent mail bombs sent to CNN. When asked by an Axios reporter about whether he’s concerned that calling the press “the enemy of the people” could lead to a reporter getting shot, Trump’s response was, “but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t do that”. He believes his gaining power trumps (pun intended) stomping out the right to free speech, an important American value.

One of the most dangerous ways Trump is trashing American values to gain power is in his racist remarks. After the synagogue bombing in Pittsburgh, Trump claimed that the synagogue should have had better security. He then blamed the violent outburst on the media, for spreading “inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting”. Trump used this tragedy to discredit the press and further his own political power, instead of helping the victims as the president should. He does not care about violence, so long as that violence is taken against others, and not him or his supporters.

Trump’s supporters may argue that he is only doing what needs to be done as an effective politician. He has been successful in terms of delivering on campaign promises and taking action against immigration. But he accomplished this by suppressing freedom of the press and First Amendment rights, which goes against important American values.

The presidency is our highest office, and should be used to uphold our ideals. Donald Trump has risen to power by betraying those ideals and manipulating the people he is supposed to serve. He does not care about the well-being of this country and its citizens; he is only concerned for himself. The American people deserve a president who will serve them with honesty and integrity. Donald Trump has proven he is not that president.