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The Trump Administration: Dissolving the Gray Area

Party allegiances have long been a conflict of interest for Americans. Your allegiance to the Democratic or Republican party may have resulted in one too many high tension Thanksgiving dinners, or drawn-out arguments over drinks between your friends. It’s even worse during election season. No one is unaware of this notion — it’s been there since citizens were given the right to choose.

In relation to that, there has always been a portion of the country that is tight-lipped when it comes to politics. They don’t pipe up when someone calls out a politician in the middle of dinner, or scan the news stories every morning for updates on the political sphere. Whether they are not paying attention or simply don’t think it’s important — it doesn’t matter. They are there, and even if they align themselves with a particular party, they don’t care that much to fret over politics. They are the gray area, living life without a black and white view on issues. What’s interesting about this group of individuals, is that it’s shrinking more and more every day since Trump has taken office.

This leaves us with the question: why are more and more people picking sides now? Why is there still a clear divide of Trump supporters and Trump adversaries, when the election is long over? Why are people still challenging Trump’s legitimacy so intensely? The answer is simply that Trump is giving the people no choice.

The Trump administration has launched the country into an absolute state of divide. A simple article share could result in a never-ending thread of political debate, more than often leading to just hitting the “defriend” or “unfollow” button. So, why are people so ready to dump their friends and family over Trump’s decisions and declarations? It’s actually simple. His entire game plan is based upon one thing: silencing the opposition. When people are told to be quiet, that is when they are most likely to speak up.

Let’s take a closer look at this. You may be rolling your eyes at the idea that the Trump administration is silencing people when so many are marching, gathering, and speaking out in opposition. It’s not that they are actually silencing people, it’s that they are fighting relentlessly to try. Putting an attack against the media by labeling news outlets as “fake news”? Silencing the freedom of the press who challenges Trump. Reversing the Army Corps of Engineers decision to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline? Silencing everyone who fought for the protection of the Tribe’s land and all those who are against the environmental threat of DAPL. Though Trump maybe wasn’t even trying to silence with this one, saying, “I don’t even think it was controversial.” Well, you can’t silence legal decisions and months of protests if you’re too daft to even recognize they happened.

Trying to invoke the Muslim ban on a select list of Muslim-majority countries? Silencing millions of people under the bogus term “extreme vetting.” Notice how Saudi Arabia, a Muslim nation, was exempt from the list even though it has noted the repetition of terrorist attacks on the United States — including a majority of the 9/11 hijackers. This is because Trump has ties with Saudi Arabia, and he doesn’t want to silence his previous business ties with the country.

Confirming Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education? Silencing the 90 percent of the country who has a public education. DeVos is a billionaire with no experience (sound familiar?) in education. She is in favor of privatization of schools, which is hardly a reality for the majority of the people’s education she will represent. In relation to that, we see the silencing trend spilling over into the Senate, as Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced by Senate Rule 19. It wouldn’t be that weird if you didn’t know that the last time Senate Rule 19 was used was in 1902 — when there was a literal fist fight. So, apparently reading a letter from the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. is the equivalent to throwing fists. That’s Trump’s America for you.

Then there’s the public’s reaction to all this. Even if Trump’s policies don’t directly affect you deeply, then they affect someone you care about, have met, or live near. Whether you side with him or not, that is why the gray area is dissolving. He is pushing his agenda down our throats in an effort to silence us in some way or another. We are forced to affiliate with one side because we finally have a president whose moral and ethical alignments are clear. If Trump has given this country one thing, it is clarity.

images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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Jill Webb

U Mass Amherst

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