The Trump Effect

On Wednesday, October 24, a series of pipe bombs targeted a number of noteworthy political figures, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder. The Secret Service was able to keep two of the packaged pipe bombs from being delivered, and the others thankfully did not detonate. At this time, no group has come forward to claim this most recent terrorist attack. So, what does this newest threat imply? How does the climate of our current politics impact the daily lives of the American people?

Today’s current political climate must be addressed in order to adequately comprehend this most recent threat. Never before in American history has there been a presidency founded in such blatant hatred. Ironically this hatred, which is one directed towards womxn, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and others, is the very platform that allowed Donald Trump to stand out and appeal to a certain sector of the American people. A hatred for others won Trump the nomination and the election. And the American people have felt the impact of that newly affirmed discrimination since November 2016.

One of these packaged pipe bombs was addressed to John Brennan, former director of the CIA, and was shipped to CNN. This is not random. Since his campaign two years ago, Trump has not hid his disdain and distrust for many major new organizations, including CNN. Frequently using aggressive and inflammatory language, like ‘fake news’ and ‘an enemy of the American people,’ Trump has been able to publicly demonize a pillar of American society, the press, with massive fan-fared support.

This was not addressed in the official statement released by the White House. The years of brewing intolerance and hatred have yet to be addressed, and if anything, the climate continues to intensify. In recent days, Trump released a statement claiming that under his administration a concrete definition of sex will be decided upon under Title IX by the Department of Health and Human Services. This means that the Trump administration is making plans to narrow the definition of gender to solely based on the genitalia that one is born with. Any kind of dispute regarding this definition would have to be legally argued and proven with genetic testing. This means that the Trump administration is attempting to eradicate the formal and governmental recognition of trans people, and erase protections of transgender people under federal law.

Although the official statement regarding the pipe bomb threats released by Trump called for unity, his administration and prior actions enforce the opposite. This very concrete and violent act against other American politicians is a direct result of the climate created by his own administration. The American people will have to wait in order to see what the FBI investigation concludes, but little suggests that Trump is planning on changing his rhetoric, despite the potentially deadly impact it may have. Already, conspiracy theories exist. We are left with a precarious balancing act, a direct result of a politically divided and media-driven society: an undeniable link between political instigation and violence.