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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Go ahead, bring up politics this Thanksgiving


Last week Andrea Jenkins, the first openly transgender woman of color was elected to office in the United States, joining the Minneapolis City Council. Affiliated with the Democratic Party, Jenkins’ win is indicative of an overall change in political tide as local elections in various states demonstrate that Democrats are winning again.

This news comes one year after the election that put President Donald Trump in the White House, and many reflect on the past year with varying degrees of approval and disapproval. His legacy includes various policy reforms and executive actions, including the implementation of a travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and climate change policy reversal, which has left the United States as the only country to reject the Paris Climate Accord.

Despite the optimism of many conservatives, who focus on his promise to “bring jobs back” and revive the economy, Trump’s presidency has been quite a mess so far, amid a political maze of allegations of ties with Russia that no one can seem to pin down, mumblings of a nuclear war with North Korea, the mishandling of his response to the devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and scrutiny over his mounting travel costs to resorts such as Mar a Lago.

Millennials in particular express trepidation over his next three years in office, citing his regressive policies affecting the environment, minorities, and women as the main reasons for a lack of approval, which amounts to a 62 percent disapproval rating among that demographic.

And this disapproval isn’t necessarily unfounded, as the less than progressive policies, like the transgender military ban, adversely affect marginalized members of our society and fuel a lack of acceptance in the United States.

But if that’s true, why are so many progressives willing to attend a march to protest his policies, but can’t seem to have a conversation with others that doesn’t devolve into a personal attack on Trump? As tempting as it is to just criticize the man who has put all these hateful policies into effect, progressives should focus instead on changing the sense of nationalism in our country that has fueled his election and popularity. Of course, he is part of the problem, but just chanting “F*** Trump” is paving the way for more future Trumps.

I am often quick to demonize the single man behind these policies rather than the ignorant sentiments that got him in such a position in the first place. The only way to prevent future Trumps is not to scream about how much I hate him, but to fight the nationalist movement that resulted in his election.

Therefore, sharing information and stories about the adverse effects of harmful policies and being brave enough to speak up at the Thanksgiving dinner table when someone praises his regressive policies are much more effective ways to guarantee another Trump-like character never reaches the White House again, rather than engaging in polarizing arguments that focus on his personal failures.

I agree that he is not someone I want to run the country, but focusing on his personal scandals and ridiculous Twitter presence rather than his legacy and the other leaders that support his actions will not address the misconceptions about immigration, job preservation, and climate change that got him elected in the first place.

In order to oppose these faulty views, we must not shy away from informing those we may know who support these ideas about their heinous effects. If this past year has been indicative of the rest of Trump’s presidency, it’s clear that this president will be unsuccessful in implementing his unpopular policies. For many of those who reasoned with dissidents of the Trump train to “just give him a chance,” nearly a year in office is plenty chance enough to see that he is an ineffective leader who damages the country more he helps it—which is the true measure of a president’s success.

Another way to guarantee we never make this mistake again as a country of course is to vote in local and national elections. Yet, some are hopeful that our checks and balances system will prevent significant damage from Trump’s presidency. Polling indeed does reflect that many groups are waning on their support of the president, as approval ratings fall among Evangelicals, those in the Rust Belt, and even among Republicans, demographics that are his greatest supporters.

Indeed, many of his policies face blocks from the courts, including the transgender military ban, the travel ban, and a block that prevented an undocumented teen who was in federal custody from receiving an abortion. These judicial blocks help to maintain the status quo before the policy is officially passed, continuing to support those the changes in policy target, such as the transgender population who are still able to enlist and serve in the military for the time. However, there rulings can always be appealed, putting special focus on the Supreme Court as these cases work their way through the system. As the system works to prevent damaging policies from being implemented, we must work to show the error of Trump’s presidency and fight nationalistic ideologies which damage the lives of immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, and our environment.

To continue this trend, I hope to talk about why I oppose his policies with my family during the holiday season by focusing on his policies, in hopes of avoiding polarizing attacks on his personal character that distract from the issues at hand.

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Go ahead, bring up politics this Thanksgiving