From the election until today, we've watched Trump strutting and fretting in Trump Tower. We've listened to tales told by an idiot, full of tweets and fury, signifying nothing. Until today. Today Trump is President. Today he matters. And so T.H.R.E.A.T. Watch—Trump Human Rights Erosion and Termination Watch—begins in earnest.
Trump knows nothing about governing, but he knows how to wield personal and financial power. Driven by unbridled egomania and paranoia, he lives in a binary world; you're either for him, which makes you a "terrific person," or you're against him, which makes you an enemy. The way he treated people, organizations and businesses when he was a business man and the way he's written and talked about his rolling enemies list since his political career began are cause for alarm. Trump and his entourage could savage the institutions of a free press, free public speech and free assembly, and they could rob targeted groups of people living in this country of their basic rights, causing the country irreparable harm.
Sitting on one of Trump's shoulders whispering in his ear is a man who has aided and abetted the white supremacist movement and has a frightening global, nationalist vision of what the country should become. At Trump's other ear is a retired general and conspiracy theorist who was fired from his job in intelligence for his erratic behavior. As his megaphones, Trump has two Houdini-level verbal escape artists who lie, deflect, distract and threaten when they're confronted by an uncomfortable truth.
What could possibly go wrong?
My fears may be overblown—if so, I'll breathe a sigh of relief the day Trump leaves the White House—but I don't think so. It is imperative that members of the press and other concerned citizens remain on the alert. Erosions of our rights can occur slowly, bit by bit, and once we realize things are bad enough to speak up, it may already be too late. We're a nation of frogs in a pot of water, a lit burner beneath us. We need to keep our thermometers at the ready to sense when the water temperature begins creeping upwards. If our own thermometers don't register a change but those of our neighbors do, we discount what they have noticed at our peril. It's possible they have detected something others of us haven't felt in our safe, privileged enclaves.
Stay vigilant. Stay tuned.