“These are the times that try men’s souls,” the great patriot Thomas Paine wrote in 1776 to bolster the morale and the resistance of the forces arrayed to demolish the tyranny of King George III and the grip of British colonialism.
Paine wrote this at a critical time in the nation’s nascent history, and we don’t believe we are overstating the case now as we witness at every turn the implications of a new tyranny, a punishing wave of authoritarianism with the arrival of President Donald Trump and his administration.
With only a tenth of his hundred days in office, Trump is living up to the destructive pledges he repeated again and again during his campaign. He promised to repeal Obamacare, and already that process is in motion with the budget reconciliation by a Republican-led Congress. Then with a stroke of his menacing pen Trump approved the construction of the Dakota pipeline in defiance of the intense protests from American Indians and other Americans.
Most egregious and controversial was his executive order last Friday that barred all Syrian refugees and placed a moratorium on the entry of immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. When acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates declared that she would not defend the action, she was summarily fired. A few strokes later, Trump relieved Daniel Ragsdale of his duty as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Another terrible manifestation of his personal power was the elevation of Stephen Bannon to the National Security Council, a man who has expressed many of the same characteristics as his boss—racist, misogynist and Islamaphobic. And the composition of the Trump team is no better when we survey the Confederacy of dunces around him, all with the mean-spirited intentions to eradicate the offices they have been nominated to hold, and none more deleterious than Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Although we are considerably disturbed by the prospect of Sen. Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General.
As a whole, we are on the precipice of an American Crisis, one not at all dissimilar from the tyrannical one that Paine railed against. Across the nation the demonstrations in opposition to Trump’s edicts can be seen. The outrage here has international implications, and we should not wait on the elected Democrats to take a stand. In this regard, we certainly applaud Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has voted against almost all of Trump’s proposed nominees. (She broke her streak in voting for Nikki Haley to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.) And we praise the stance taken by Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who has displayed a gumption that needs to be emulated.
But as Paine observed, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
In beginning these front page editorials demanding that “Trump has to go,” we are letting the protesters know that we have your back.
There will be the “summer soldier and the sunshine patriot” who will shrink from the service for their country, but we are the “he and she” who will stand, unwavering in this fight against a man who is poised to eliminate every vestige of our civil and human rights.
Yes, let’s make “Make America Great Again—Trump Must Go!” our mantra, and we will keep it going as long as it takes to get him removed. Let us hear from you; let us know we are doing the right thing.