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Est. April 5, 2002
April 06, 2017 - Issue 693

De-Constructing Progress

"I can’t imagine that a 70-year-old man
with a toddler’s temperament and a
fifth-grader’s vocabulary could
do this all on his own."

I really do hate to operate from a posture of anger, but since November 8th of last year, that’s been a pretty common disposition for me. The presidency of Donald Trump has been everything I expected it would be. Week after week, I’ve witnessed the Trump Administration tear apart the very institutions that were developed to serve and protect the citizenry of this country - even if they often fall short of that mission in regards to me as a Black citizen in this country. Trump’s on the fast train to deconstructing decades of progress that we, as a country, have collectively built.

From cutting funding for substantial protective agencies, to signing Executive Orders to end regulations of key rules and protections, the current Administration’s track record is proving to favor this country’s elite - the very wealthy - at the expense of the rest of us, who will resort to fighting among ourselves for scraps. The divide between the haves and have nots will be wider than ever - very shortly.

Just look at the most recent deconstructive act on the so-called President’s march backward. Trump ordered the federal government to retreat from the battle against climate change that President Obama had advanced at the Paris Agreement in 2015. Trump’s directive, if successful, will dismantle the core policies that have made the US a global leader in curbing emissions. Under this order, the government will abandon the “social cost of carbon” that regulators had meticulously calculated and begun factoring into their decisions regarding permit applications and rulemaking. Restrictions on methane gas releases at oil and gas drilling facilities will now be eased. In other words: “Pollute your a#@%s off, Boys!”

Agencies will also stop contemplating climate impacts as they launch new projects, and restrictions on coal leasing and fracking on federal lands will be lifted. Trump and his cronies have framed each act of deconstruction as a response to “job killing” regulation. Factually speaking, each regulation has on some level been a “life-saving” regulation. What you’ve got to understand is that people voted for Trump because he would “run government like a business.” Unfortunately, government is about human lives, not business matters. The American people are not shareholders; we are stakeholders! Not all stakeholder voices are audible; that is, those in power choose not to hear some voices. So the President of the United States has a responsibility to advocate - and act - on behalf of ALL Americans. Trump and his cronies make it clear: They beg to differ.

Trump has pleased Conservatives like nobody’s business and immediately upon election began showing off for his base. One of his (and Conservatives’ as a whole) favorite phrase is - in the vernacular of a fifth grader - “I’m just keeping the promises I made to the American people.” The question we must ask is “which people?” Let one not fall willfully into intentional amnesia; Trump did not win the popular vote of this country. The very people he’s talking about are the minority of Americans. The American majority disagrees with him and opposes the “promises” to which he refers.

I can’t imagine that a 70-year-old man with a toddler’s temperament and a fifth-grader’s vocabulary could do this all on his own. Hell, he came into the White House thinking he was a king, not a president. I make this assertion with good reason. The media coined Trump’s Senior Advisor, Stephen K. Bannon, the de facto president. What should have been news, the media failed to propel into the public sphere: Bannon’s recent declaration to an audience at February’s Conservative Political Action Conference that the Administration is in an unending battle for “deconstruction of the administrative state.” That’s a heavy declaration. Hell, that’s a declaration of war!

What does that mean to me? It means that Trump, through his inner sanctum that includes Bannon, wanna-be-celebrity Kellyanne Conway (whose husband will head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division) and his billionaire, crony-filled cabinet, will draft and execute policies and perform as spokespersons in a manner that upends our way of life. Elements of American stability will no longer have a concrete floor as foundation; instead, it’ll proceed on a tightrope.

Trump’s MO has been unsettling to say the least. While Trump and his Justice Dept opined for a return to early 20th century policy favoring western European immigrants, it has equally remarked on its intolerance of immigrants, in particular, Blacks and Muslims. We can only imagine what that means for the American Black man who’s only about 50 years removed from the Jim Crow era, with its unchecked police powers. The so-called Trump presidency cannot be standardized or normalized for all of us - the Black people who suffered tortuously under the government policies of Jim Crow - and all of the efforts that Blacks and white allies made to put those policies in the rearview mirror.

Deconstructing the administrative state means that federal regulations will be in Trump’s cross-hairs. He has vowed to repeal two regulations for every new one he signs into law. Plus, his budget blueprint reads like a government kill list, with lethal blows to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), African Development Foundation, the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Denali Commission; the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities and other agencies, including the essential weather services of NOAA. Trump’s budget pierces the jugular by reducing federal funding from 100% to $0 for Corporation for Public Broadcasting - an entity that allows us poor folk in America to get some semblance of non-commercial television without commercial interruption.

(I won’t mention, but can’t help but mention, his masterful but colossal failure at the Art of the Deal to negotiate the repeal and replacement of Obamacare - a move that he and sitting republicans salivated on accomplishing to strip health insurance from 24 million Americans.)

I’ll extend to Trump kudos for his blind dedication to keeping his commitment to his supporters, despite his profound ignorance about the issues he championed during the campaign, for example the true cost of a border wall, the resurrection of the coal-mining industry, the mass deportation of millions of undocumented workers (all of whom aren’t Mexican).

However, the vileness of Trump’s (via Bannon’s) deconstruction of the administrative state, and his ascendency to the US’ highest elected office has shocked millions, not only in the US but around the world. It is a condition that Naomi Klein lays forth in The Shock Doctrine; it’s a shock and awe strategy that energizes people to resist amid a feeling of despair and worse, the feeling of being “gaslighted.” That’s the condition of knowing you’re being lied to despite ‘official’ messages to the contrary. The Office of the President of the United States has become a den of sociopaths, non-accountability, bellicoseness, self-aggrandizing exploits and gratuitous lying - all of which is carried forth with the ease with which one sips a glass of water.

The cognitive dissonance this creates can be maddening; Trumpworld is akin to torture. We must resist the deconstruction; we must tighten existing and form new coalitions to defang this parasitic blood-sucking leech from every angle - ongoing conversations with colleagues, strangers and young people; street protests, the courts and confronting and holding elected leaders accountable - for a change. Resist. American depends on it, if we are to move forward. Columnist, Perry Redd, longtime activist & organizer, is the Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere
that currently owns the FCC license for WOOK-LP 103.1FM/ His latest book,
Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1, chronicles his ‘behind bars’ activism that extricated him from a 42-year sentence and is now case law. He is also the author of As A Condition of Your Freedom: A Guide to Self-Redemption From Societal Oppression, Mr. Redd also hosts a radio show, Socially Speaking, from his Washington, DC studio. Tweet him @socialspeaks. Contact Mr. Redd and BC.




is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1
As A Condition of Your Freedom: A Guide to Self-Redemption From Societal Oppression
Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers