With the election of President Donald Trump, it's safe to say we have ventured into uncharted territory.
He entered the office of the presidency with an approval rating of just 40 percent. His divisive rhetoric is no longer just talk. It is quickly becoming law. During the first four days of his presidency, Trump has already signed an order reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, reinstated a ban on foreign aid to groups that give abortion counseling and withdrew the U.S from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Trump promised to start construction on a wall between the U.S and Mexico and is expected to issue a temporary ban on refugees. It hasn’t even been a week. President Trump is actually shaping up to be one of the few politicians to deliver on his promises and we couldn’t be more afraid. But it’s also important to take notice of who’s siding with him and who’s rolling over and letting his agenda advance.
Progressive Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been a favorite among liberals for several years. Her strong supporters were crushed when Warren decided not to run in the 2016 election. Sen. Bernie Sanders has been viewed as a torch-bearer for Democrats as well, since he gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money in the Democratic primaries.
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We were encouraged by the viral videos of Sens. Warren and Sanders hammering Department of Education nominee Betsy DeVos. They hit hard on DeVos’ lack of experience, as well as the fact that she has never seen the inside of a public school. Warren’s questioning of the HUD Secretary Nominee Ben Carson was just as brutal. But in the end, both Sanders and Warren voted to confirm him.
Not that we ever had any faith in Republican lawmakers, but it’s also worth taking note of the senators falling in line with Trump’s cabinet nominations. Junior senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio voted to confirm ExxonMobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson for secretary of state despite publicly stating that anyone who is a friend of Vladimir Putin isn’t someone he wants in office. Rolling over for Trump isn't new for Republicans. Sen. Ted Cruz campaigned for him even though he insulted his wife and insinuated that his father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Good grief. What happened to politicians with spines?
There has also been a new appreciation for former President George W. Bush. His obvious affinity for Michelle Obama has been on display at various government functions. There are even memes of his smiling face with the caption, “Miss me yet?”
No, we don’t. While time has certainly has an effect on Bush’s legacy, we haven’t forgotten his horrible response to Hurricane Katrina. We must refuse to romanticize President George W. Bush. Don’t let the fact that Bush is personable and spends his days painting amazing works of art make you forget that his policies caused the Great Recession of 2008. We can’t forget or forgive the errors of President Bush.
New York's Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has opposed several of Trump's cabinet nominations. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker became the first sitting senator to break traditional protocol and testify against Sen. Jeff Sessions in his confirmation hearing.
When is the Democratic Party as a whole going to stand up and resist?
When President Obama was elected, Republicans made it their mission to oppose everything on his agenda. They stood firm in their word and made it increasingly difficult for Obama to get his actions through. With help from the Tea Party, they were able to pick up 63 seats in the 2010 US House of Representatives elections. Now is the time for Democrats to take notes from the Republicans and act.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
My advice to Democrats for the next four years is simple: Be defiant. Be childish. Act like every Republican politician you despise. Unless the Democratic Party starts acting like Republicans, we’ll be in the same place in 2020. And this time, we won’t have collective amnesia.
We will not forget the politicians who stood with Trump and we definitely won’t forget who rolled over for him.