Mere minutes after the swearing in of the 45th president of the United States of America, there were noticeable changes made to WhiteHouse.gov.
As many noticed and subsequently reported on, the site removed pages dedicated to the following issues: civil rights, LGBT rights, health care, and climate change. In their places have come calls for the removal of “eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule,” foreign policy stances that invoke ISIL but not Russia, and a bunch of generalities with respect to domestic policy. In essence, the president has replicated his hate-filled, specifics-deficient campaign rallies and proceeded to copy and paste the greatest hits from them onto the official White House Web site.
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With that in mind, this sudden shift is understandably terrifying -- particularly when it comes to civil rights. What has replaced the civil rights section of WhiteHouse.gov is “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community,” which reads as one long subtweet to marginalized people who dare partake in the resistance to the new administration. Naturally, the section begins with dubious statistics to help advance a heinous agenda.
It reads: “The Trump Administration is committed to reducing violent crime. In 2015, homicides increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. There were thousands of shootings in Chicago last year alone.”
However, as the Washington Post’s Matt Zapotosky notes “lethal violence remains low by historical standards.” And as far as the D.C. rate goes, “that might be true if comparing 2014, when D.C. had 105 homicides, with 2015, when D.C. had 162. But in2016, the city had 135 homicides, down 17 percent from the previous year.”
Zapotosky is kinder than I. Mango Zedong is lying per his usual. His racism coupled with his discomfort with the truth won’t allow him to make a credible case for his irrational calls for more hardlined law enforcement.
To wit, the site chopped and screwed those stats in order to justify this portion: “Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter. Our job is to make life more comfortable for parents who want their kids to be able to walk the streets safely. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school.”
In his inaugural address, the newly sworn in commander-in-chief declared: "And the crime... and the gangs... and the drugs... This American carnage stops right here. And stops right now."
What we have in the new president is a man with Nixonian like views on law enforcement in addition to the temperament of an authoritarian figure. He hates dissent. He finds it repugnant because in his mind, he dare not ever be challenged.
When he vowed to “Make America Great Again” while generalizing entire ethnic groups as racists and terrorists, he was making the case to effectively put people back in their place. Now, as president, he has the power to make substantial inroads on attaining his goals.
“Supporting law enforcement means supporting our citizens’ ability to protect themselves,” the site reads. “We will uphold Americans’ Second Amendment rights at every level of our judicial system.”
There is no mention of the First Amendment and protesters’ constitutional right to stand up to him and his government. Some would say that he is speaking to a very specific sect of protesters. However, the day after he won the election, the then president-elect tweeted: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!”
There was a subsequent tweet that offered softer language, but the tone in the inaugural address and on this Web site make it clear how the new president truly feels about dissent. It is a not a virtue of democracy to him; it is an inconvenience to his ego. An inconvenient so severe that he will use the entire weight of the government to crush it.
This new White House site is telling you exactly what to expect: pain. For the immigrant. For the Muslim. For the people who want the government to make sure we have safe drinking water. For the member of the LGBTQ community. For the Black people who want to walk the streets without fear of being shot by a stray bullet, but by the gun of a racist police officer.
And most certainly, for anyone who dares to take to the streets to air a grievance. Meanwhile, on the section of the site dedicated to the new First Lady, Melania Trump, we see the touting of her modeling career and the plugging of her jewelry line. The scam is on.