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Lurching Backward

We are now officially in a New Age of Chaos, created by Donald Trump and his close advisors. Who ever thought that we would have a president who makes John McCain look moderate? Well, we do.

One wonders how long values held dear to Americans can last in the face of the Trump-brand Constitution Shredder™? Free speech, fair speech, accurate speech—all are being banned at various levels of government—but some brave federal workers with integrity are not backing down.

And now Trump has blocked immigrants—even those who have already been vetted for several years by up to eight US agencies and approved for immigration at long last—from seven Muslim nations that he said are hotbeds of terrorists. Never mind that conspicuously missing from that list is the nation that supplied the overwhelming majority of the 9.11.01 hijackers who flew into the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon, and that country would be Saudi Arabia, of course. Indeed, of the 19 attackers, 15 were Saudis, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt, and one from Lebanon—and none of those countries made Trump’s list. No other immigrant has attacked civilians on American soil except the Pakistani-born wife of the San Bernardino shooting—and that country is not on Trump’s list either (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—none of which have sent refugees, asylees, or immigrants that have committed acts of terror in the US).

It is clear that Trump and his people despise the nonpartisan, fact-checking media (along with many other sorts of truth-telling, evidence-based professionals). But I have no immediate recollection of the papers of record flat-out naming what the Trump team claims as “alternative facts” are in fact falsehoods (noting gross inaccuracies) or even lies (noting clear intent to deceive). Punishing the National Park Service for showing photos of Trump’s inauguration and Obama’s inauguration—photos revealing far more in attendance for Obama’s first inauguration—is beyond belief.

Believe it.

We are now under the thumb of a man who is increasingly being called mentally ill, a “malignant narcissist.” His power to commit all manner of mischief is now enormous. The people of the US will need to engage more than any time in the memory of this senior citizen if we hope to hold on to our democracy and the progress we’ve achieved in the most recent 80 years. It’s all up for grabs, right now.

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Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and founding director of PeaceVoice

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