by Kate Seaman
Over the past few weeks, President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team have announced possible candidates for cabinet positions, and they have plans to announce even more in the days ahead. As part of the millions of Americans who did not support Trump, I am especially concerned about some of his picks, particularly those who have expressed xenophobic views and made derogatory comments in the recent past.
A notable appointee was Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, to the position of chief strategist. This position advises the president in developing plans for the country. However, Bannon and his media outlet have faced many accusations of being misogynistic, racist and anti-Semitic. This can cause a big problem because Bannon will have a major influence on Trump’s policies. Breitbart News is known for its white supremacist stories and has been praised as the platform for the white extremist readers of America. With Bannon having Trump’s ear, many minority groups who have made enormous strides in recent years will be pushed back into the 1800s rather than moving forward into 2017.
Michael Flynn was selected as the national security adviser. I appreciate that Trump has chosen to appoint a man with experience in the area of national security (Flynn was the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014) and chosen someone from the opposite party as himself.
However, Flynn has been outspoken about the perceived threat of Islam in the United States. In February, he even went so far as to tweet, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” I believe that the fear of Michael Flynn advising Trump on national security is rational. Anyone who wants to take away the rights of others should not be allowed to call themselves an American. One of the core values of America is to be the land of opportunity for everyone, not just a few. One of the most famous symbolic landmarks in American history states, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” The Statue of Liberty does not stand for fear-mongering.
Trump’s cabinet is still growing and could undergo major changes by January, depending on how the Senate votes on confirmations for members. I hope that Trump will not listen to the potentially racist, misogynistic or xenophobic ideas put forth by these nominees.
I know that this hope is a long shot, but I can only trust some good will come out of all of this. I also hope that, come January, the cabinet will be less xenophobic and more accepting of all people. Because in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Love is love is love is love.”