Letter: UMass Democrats fight back against Trump’s policies
To the Editor:
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, we’ve heard many calls from media and political figures to give Trump another chance. They suggested he might moderate his positions, that it would not be so bad and that we should unite and work together as a nation. What did Trump do with this fresh chance in the very first week? He appointed Steve Bannon to the pivotal role of Chief Strategist, a decision that was instantly applauded by the American Nazi Party and the KKK. Bannon is a leader in the effort to mainstream white nationalism in American discourse. He is racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic and has elevated other voices with this agenda through his role as the head of Breitbart News. To highlight one example, under his watch the publication has created a section called “black crime,” which uses false data and narratives taken directly from white supremacist groups to argue that African Americans are inherently criminal and unintelligent.
Now, Bannon will be one of two principal advisers steering public policy for the United States of America under a Trump presidency. This is a crystal-clear reaffirmation that Trump is exactly what his campaign rhetoric suggested: a racist, authoritarian, unacceptable leader. We cannot enable the normalization of his deplorable words and actions; instead we must resist the implementation of policies that will harm the aforementioned groups, people with disabilities and working-class people of all identities. We are on the cusp of perhaps the most radical lurch rightward in our country’s history, and only through solidarity and refusing to be conned into complacency can we prevent our country from going down a very dark path. The cabal of bigots Trump has assembled as his inner circle and the plans they have published for the first 100 days in office are wake-up calls to anyone who cares about marginalized groups, who believes we must fight climate change, who cherishes our social safety net and labor movement or who holds any leftist or moderate views whatsoever. We are not going to take this sitting down.
That is why we are proposing convening a Coalition to Resist Trump’s Policies at the University of Massachusetts, bringing together everyone who has interests at stake in forcefully and effectively fighting back against the damaging actions of the incoming administration. Some may pit protest politics and legislative politics against each other, but we will need both to keep democracy and human rights alive in the Trump era. With this new initiative, we seek to provide a weekly roundtable to coordinate support for each other’s protests and advocacy, and to strategically organize for our common goals. Using the relationships we have cultivated with elected officials as the UMass Democrats, and our experience in sponsoring and lobbying for legislation, we can be a facilitator for action within the Massachusetts state legislature. Other groups will bring their own unique strengths, such as expertise on specific policy issues and experience in grassroots campus mobilization. We want to help empower all organizations on campus who are doing such valuable work for social, economic and climate justice. We believe that when we talk and work together on a weekly basis, we will stand a better chance in the face of stakes that for many are literally life-and-death. We have reached out to a number of groups already, and if you are with an interested organization we have not yet contacted, please feel free to reach out to us.