For this story, I originally planned to write a professional review of Donald Trump’s inauguration like it was a bona fide comedy special. That idea came to me before the inauguration aired. And while the concept carries potential for some comedic gold, I quickly lost the inspiration to be funny about it over the following week. In fact, I will now revise my consensus — there’s nothing funny about Trump.
Hear me out. Yes, I do believe in the intrinsic value of political satire. Yes, I do believe it serves humanity well to laugh through times of fear and uncertainty. And yes, I do wish I had overcome writer’s block to deliver the most biting piece of satire this side of Mount Rainier. However, as our new president continues to sign executive orders that reek of arrogant authoritarianism, I need to set aside the laughter.
Following what American citizens perceived to be a democratic election process, the rational thing to do was give Trump a chance — we didn’t really have a choice. Leading up to his inauguration, Trump’s erratic behavior, questionable cabinet choices, and general disrespect of American values served as a mere epilogue to his boisterous and venomous campaign. Now that Trump sits in the Oval Office — the same place Barack Obama sat weeks ago — the fun is over. President Trump has the power to follow up on his most disturbing campaign promises with the flick of a pen — and in one week, his executive orders have sent a terrifying message to the rest of the world.
Since the beginning of his term, Trump began the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, promising a “replacement” but withholding any details about what that will be. Trump ordered the continuation of the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, despite them being shut down by the Obama administration following public outcry. Federal hiring is now frozen, save for military and “public safety” positions. The Mexico wall — something many people believed to be an election-grabbing device — will be built, and Mexico will pay for it. Most grandiose of all, Trump mandated a temporary ban on immigration from seven Muslim-based countries, creating chaos, fierce protests and unnecessary detainment of immigrant travellers in airports around the country.
Even though he’s the president and no longer a candidate, Trump still hurls insults at the media, celebrities and our closest neighboring countries. He continues to throw temper tantrums on Twitter over innocuous information. He lies to the face of the entire world, despite the fact that yes, the inauguration crowd looked about as packed as a Sunday evening show at a local bar. And this man holds the highest-esteemed public office in the country? This isn’t funny territory — this is dangerous territory.
Millions of protesters continue to pack city streets, airports and government buildings because they will not tolerate bigotry and racial hatred. Several cities already plan to stand up for those affected by the “Muslim ban,” vowing to remain “sanctuary cities” for all immigrants everywhere. Even elected officials — like the recently fired Attorney General Sally Yates — openly defied Trump’s halting of immigration, even if it costs them their livelihoods. These events are not normal, just like the abnormality of Trump’s young administration.
Like many people, I don’t quite know what kind of impact I can make. Maybe the best thing I can do is use my growing communications platform as a voice for honesty and integrity, no matter what artistic endeavors I embark on. This new presidential paradigm makes me evaluate my own place in this ideological resistance, like I hope it does for countless others. If we don’t make our stance clear, we run the risk of letting this administration spoil the virtues of America like Trump’s spoiled steaks.
With all that said, don’t be too surprised if you see me drowning my sorrows in video games this weekend — and every weekend for the next four years. I heard Sonic the Hedgehog knows a thing or two about taking down a big, round authoritarian maniac.