The Republican party has long been an abusive partner to women, in general. They blame the bad actions of men on the ‘sexual’ and ‘sinful’ nature of women. That has been part and parcel for a long time. But today, we are not talking about the party as a whole, but its leader. Rather than looking back on a year of unconscionable actions, policies and outright deception, or forward to another year that looms dark and forbidding on the horizon, I’m going to take a look at now.
Trump has shown, through his most current temper tantrum, that he is nothing more or less than our nation’s abusive spouse. That’s it. That is all that he is. And nothing has revealed this in more stark reality than the ongoing partial government shutdown.
The better part of a million federal workers are currently without pay, either furloughed or forced to work despite no guarantee for compensation nor, should compensation finally be approved, knowledge of exactly when that might occur. And why?
Not for border security. All the studies, all the logistics, all the data shows a big old wall will do little to impede illegal immigration or drug smuggling. The undeniable truth is that the number one element in illegal immigration, by a huge margin, is the result of people who enter the United States legally and overstay their visas. More than 90% of these people did not arrive here over the U.S./Mexico border, but through airports. Drug smuggling is most prominent through shipping containers brought in through our ports. For drugs that do come across our land borders, they are not typically walked across or chunked over a fence. They come through checkpoints, hidden in cargo. They come through tunnels burrowed beneath the border with entrances and exits miles away from security surveillance set to either side. And, of course, they are flown over, sometimes in as high tech methods as unmanned drones. Drug Cartels have a lot of money. Yes, they can afford drone delivery. Because the wall does absolutely nothing to help us combat these relevant threats, it is not wise to spend billions upon billions of dollars on antiquated methods which provide us no security. Sure, a wall may have worked in ancient China, but at that time, people couldn’t just fly over it. It is little more than an arbitrary line in the sand. And Trump knows this.
In his own words he stated that the only way anyone would be able to cross his beautiful, big, plank wall would be with a ladder and some rope. Great security. I’m sure there are no ladders or ropes sold in Mexico, right? So, basically, it can be scaled in the exact same way walls have been infiltrated for thousands of years, you know, unless you take a plane or a boat. That would work, too.
No, Trump isn’t really interested in border security. And guess what, his wall isn’t even racist. Oh, make no mistake, he fans the flames of racism to get support for it, no doubt. I’m not even suggesting that he isn’t racist. I think the evidence weighs in on that pretty clearly. But the wall, that isn’t really about racism. It isn’t about border security. It isn’t about making America great. His wall is solely about Trump. The narcissist-in-chief said it himself when he explained it had to be beautiful because it may someday be called the Trump Wall and have his name on it. Then, he went into salivating fantasy side-story, openly dreaming about how wonderful and beautiful that would be. Trump wants to build a monument to himself. He’s like a Pharaoh wanting his own pyramid. It is nothing more than selfish indulgence and this is why so many people are actually opposing it.
We can certainly allocate money to help create a modernly secured border and better, more streamlined, immigration processes to address our actual problems. But the wall is like building a vast highway to somewhere no one wants to go while overcrowded, busy freeways are crumbling. Trump wants adulation. He wants a monument he can delude himself into believing was built by the people who adore him. Granted, he initially wanted Mexico to pay for it, which would have been even better because he would have seen himself as a conqueror, a mighty leader forcing other nations to bend to his will. But, in the end, it is the monument he wants, no matter who pays for it (aside from himself, of course.)
So, does that make him an abusive partner? By itself, no. Crazy? Yes. But abusive? No, it is the manner and lengths to which he will go to demand what he wants that makes him an abusive tyrant.
After a bipartisan agreement which would have extended funding to the government, even allotting a healthy additional $1.6 billion to border security, Trump threw a tantrum, refusing to support it. He wanted $5 billion for his pretty wall, which has become less attractive and less secure by the day, degrading into what is now a slatty thing most of us would call a picket fence. Instead of supporting the bipartisan agreement that would ensure paychecks and funding for our government and its employees, he said he would be proud to shut the government down to get what he wanted. Undeniably, he thought it was just a threat and that his opposition would balk at a government shutdown over the holidays and fear reprisal from it. He expected the bullying tactic would win. Except it didn’t. When no one caved to his tantrum, and Trump is used to getting what he wants when he wants it, a matter of his own egotistical pride stood in the way of compromise and, ultimately, the welfare of hundreds of thousands of federal workers and their families. Despite initially saying he would own the shutdown, it wouldn’t be the Democrats, but his, he did what he so often does, instantly blamed others.
To make this perfectly clear, he used, and is still using, the welfare of almost a million federal employees as hostage to try to force his opposition to build him a monument. When they showed absolutely no sign, whatsoever, of backing down, he did not seek to compromise. He did not discern that their welfare was more important and issues about additional money for border security could be debated later. No. He made more threats to the safety, welfare and prosperity of our nation.
His flailing arms and legs and screaming Twitter fits have revealed a truly violent domestic partner. He has now threatened to allow the shutdown to continue, indefinitely, and adding to that, if he doesn’t get what he wants, then he will shut down the border entirely. Such an act could cost the US as much as a billion dollars in commerce a DAY and possibly plunge our nation into recession. It would have severe consequences on markets, which are already volatile due to his policies.
This is an abuser mentality. He is willing to hurt you. He will hurt you and tell you it is YOUR FAULT because you didn’t just do what he wanted. This is what an abusive spouse or partner or parent does. They control you by making it so much easier to live by their rules and accept their wishes than face their wrath, and they blame you for that wrath.
But this is not a dictatorship. He is not entitled to his whims and he certainly is not entitled to a monument built at our expense. Make no mistake, divorcing this abuser is going to be difficult and he will do his best to make sure he hurts as many of us as possible in the process. To him there are no innocent casualties. He suggested that when he said that most of the people not getting paid in the shutdown were Democrats, as if that made depriving them of a paycheck, somehow, acceptable. Anyone who is not his blind and ardent supporter is an enemy. Abusers do not accept the free will or thoughts or the dissent views of others. It is their way, or pain. And he is inflicting that pain on more than 800,000 federal workers, with hundreds of thousands more affected in government contracts and government services which will soon cease.
Now the question. Are you content with being his abused spouse? Are you okay with giving him anything he wants just to escape his wrath? Are you willing to agree with him without thought in the hopes you will go unnoticed and he won’t hurt you? If so, then you have already sacrificed your liberty to a despot.
Make no mistake. His threats continue and broaden, but in the end, he is a bully, like all abusers. They abuse others to keep their spirits quashed. Trump lives in a cocoon of fear. Our strength and solidarity in his opposition is what will enable us to prevail. We can pass a veto-proof funding to reopen the government. We can resist him and help our fellow citizens affected by his crimes.
On this last day of 2018, let us recognize Trump for what he is and determine for ourselves going forward that we will not be his victims. We will be his survivors.
Resist. Stay safe. Be strong. Help one another.
We are One Woman, One World.
Ann Lavendar Truong