A Post-Trump U.S.
It looks like the other shoe is about to drop for Donald Trump’s presidency. Things are coming to a head, and it looks like, for the first time, there may be some sort of legal fallout regarding the President’s past business dealings or illegal ties to… well, probably a lot of things. In light of the recent firings that have taken place within the White House, the impending 60 Minutes interview with Stormy Daniels, and rumored near-future firings of more White House figures (including, potentially, Robert Mueller), Trump’s tumultuous political career may be nearing its end. Needless to say, an incredible number of, not just U.S. citizens, but people all over the world, are holding their breath, awaiting what will come of the latest explosion of controversy.
Let’s assume briefly that these events do not simply blow over and become part of the 72 hour news story graveyard. In an ideal situation, Trump and many of his associates in positions of power in the White House would end up being forced out of office. Would that really be the end of the story? Would a series of events like this truly solve what ails the United States so deeply to its core that it has manifested itself in an unprecedented year of hatred across the nation? Leading questions aside, I argue that the answer is, emphatically, “no”. Having Donald Trump and his corporate team of aides removed from the White House would in no way heal the country’s deep racial divides, disregard for the environment, enormous income gaps and class division, or reign and support of destruction across foreign areas of interest. Focusing so much on the Trump presidency has made our country lose sight of issues that truly matter, and celebrating a red herring may set us up to be taken advantage of once again.
These problems are much bigger than the Trump presidency, and have, in no way, been solely committed in the past year or so.
Across the past year or so, a lot of damage has been done to both political and social infrastructure at home and abroad. We’ve seen women’s reproductive rights be challenged by powerful men and phony feminists.  Xenophobia has risen to a local maximum as immigrants and refugees have been barred from entering the country,  and hundreds of immigrants have been forced back to countries that may very well be extremely dangerous for them.  Many of these same detained or deported individuals have been living in the United States for years and contribute to the national welfare much more than those who order them deported. Regulations on companies who pollute the environment, and banks who cost taxpayers collectively billions of dollars, have been rolled back in order to increase corporate profit in a world where the United States is losing its edge in the global economy.  War has been waged across the world — indiscriminately killing thousands of civilians  — and authoritarian tyrants have been propped up and praised by our leaders who claim to fight for freedom and democracy. It’s a long list of atrocities whose culmination could easily see significant decline of civilization as we know it.
These problems are much bigger than the Trump presidency, and have, in no way, been solely committed in the past year or so. These are issues that we’ve seen past generations fight against, and in no way will they be solved by the removal of a few powerful U.S. political figures. In reality, these policies are heavily lobbied for by large corporate interests; an example of which can be very clearly seen in very recent events concerning the NRA. Large corporations and organizations like the NRA influence and write the policies that are causing the nation and world incredible harm — and they get away with the tragedies caused by their greed because so many politicians are funded by and beholden to them. During Trump’s presidency, these business ties have been blatantly flaunted in the face of the people that it’s impossible to go a week without reading a story condemning the administration for supporting a controversial corporate partnership. If evidenced by anything, the enormous tax cuts to corporations, and numerous closed-door statements that big business will prosper under the current administration , are a clear indication of the true priorities of the government. However, companies like General Electric have been lobbying for deregulation concerning environmental protection for decades in order to increase profits. Indeed, since the industrial revolution, the U.S. government has been looking out for corporate interests above actual concerns of the population.  What Trump’s presidency is doing in regards to favoring big business is in no way unique to this presidency. If anything, the administration is so sloppy and brazen in its support that people are getting a better glimpse into these ties than ever before.
Partnerships with big business does not stop on U.S. soil, either. Throughout history, the United States has participated in the supply of arms to aggressive, authoritarian regimes in exchange for enormous sums of money to fuel the economy. Most recently, this has been put on display in Yemen, with the U.S. supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, who is waging a war with the Yemenis that has reduced the population to mass-starvation, famine, and multiple epidemics including cholera.  This, of course, is rarely reported in mainstream news because it would be such a grossly unpopular conflict that it would face immediate and widespread criticism from the population. Acts like this are also not unique to the current administration. Ronald Reagan supported the Contras in Iran for monetary gain , presidents from Gerald Ford to George H.W. Bush supported or ignored Thailand in its genocide against East Timor , FDR sold weapons to Japan in support of its takeover of China prior to World War II, and the list continues back to the days of the country’s formation.
As long as the predominant economic theory in the United States is corporate and military-fueled capitalism, at the expense of all who stand in its way, these problems caused by looking out for big business and the military-industrial complex will never cease. Of course, businesses naturally want to maximize profit because that gives them an advantage in, or complete domination of, their respective markets. It makes sense that businesses also want to have the law contain pathways that can be used to maximize profit. The most unnatural part of the relationship between business and the U.S. government is how big the corporations are, and how much influence they can exert on the political process without regard for morals or regulation. The situation is even more dangerous when you consider the fact that policies that reduce regulations against industry are directly contributing to the most significant challenge humanity has ever faced: climate change. Not to mention that runaway corporatism contributes to and is fueled by class wedging, racial injustice, and xenophobia. These issues can be traced back to either profit-seeking behavior or attempts to convince everybody that corporations and the super-elite are not the true enemies.
Regardless of administration or dominant political leaning throughout history, the use of war and blame tactics to drum up nationalism bridges the aisles of U.S. politics.
Distracting the public and attempting to divert their frustrations to a “common enemy” target is a classic authoritarian technique that has been used many times throughout history to sway public opinion in the face of brutal ruling governments. Just like our current political climate, xenophobia rose during times of authoritarian rule leading up to World War II — against the Jews — and was used to rally nationalistic sentiment for Germany’s Nazi party.  Even in the United State’s past, manufactured fear of Communism fueled the public’s support of the Cold War and countless operations in Indochina and South America; where governments created by the people were overthrown in order to install leaders friendly the U.S., and dissidents were put down by the brutal regimes that ensued. The wars in Iraq are now very commonly condemned as being blatant grabs at the oil industry by profit-seeking corporations who coerced the public with cries of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. In truth, the United States is the single greatest power of destruction in modern history — dropping atomic bombs on Japan during World War II, leveling North Korea and knocking out all of its major infrastructure during the Korean War , spreading destruction across Indochina via millions of bombs dropped during the Vietnam War and conflicts with Cambodia and Laos , completely eradicating and destabilizing the Middle East in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Syria  . It’s easy to distract massive amounts of people by putting the blame for problems on immigrants, minorities, or ideologies. Each and every time, the government has attempted to convince the public that these wars and acts of aggression are in the interest of freedom or democracy, when in reality, with a bit of digging, they are revealed to be thinly veiled attempts to maintain global influence and control. In truth, the conflicts serve the dual purpose of securing assets for big business and corporate interests, and inspire a false sense of patriotism throughout the population. Again, these distraction tactics could never be traced back to one, or a handful of individuals’ decisions. Regardless of administration or dominant political leaning throughout history, the use of war and blame tactics to drum up nationalism bridges the aisles of U.S. politics. This is the way that the United States’ system has worked for hundreds of years.
We must accept that regardless of individual changes of U.S. administration, or switches from Republican congressional majority to Democrat, or vice versa, United States’ domestic and foreign policy has proven to always favor corporate and national power at the expense of millions of lives at home and abroad. Issues that truly matter must be brought into focus rather than succumbing to the constant barrage of trendy politics and reality show-style news coverage. In the same way that corporations profit at the expense of the environment, and human lives, major news networks — corporations themselves — seek profit, even at the expense of an informed viewership. It only makes sense that highly sensationalized, but deeply skewed news coverage is what major networks will broadcast. The true enemy of class equality, racial justice, and non-interventionist policy are those who pit us against both each other, and people whom we have never even met. We must not fall prey to the tactics that make us complacent with hate and murder.
While there has been so much deception and injustice throughout U.S. history, there has also been tremendous organization and displays of mass solidarity in order to demonstrate that the many can truly exert control over the few. The protest and striking tactics of our forebears are recorded in history for us to study and employ if we are ever to take a modicum of control back for those who truly struggle. For all we know, it could happen tomorrow, that millions of people decide that enough is enough and our lives are not to be controlled for profit and made accessory to terror. The only things stopping us are the fear of retaliation, or fear of failure. And we all have so much to gain.
 Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United State. 20th ed., HarperCollins Publishers, 2005. pg. 253–295