The Year of ‘American Carnage’ and Breaking the Silence

Photo Credit: Flickr/Backbone Campaign

This year has unanimously been a focus on both the presidency of Donald J. Trump and women’s rights

Arturo Hilario
El Observador

Here we are at the edge of 17… 2017 that is. Our community saw highs and lows, as did our extended human race. In the South of our hemisphere, fellow Americans and neighbors were ravaged by hurricanes, in our own city flooding proved a major hurdle, displacing hundreds at the start of the year.

Nothing tops the highlights of this year like the experience of having our first reality television president, by way of Donald J. Trump, and the social upheaval of women’s rights issues in America. Those two issues intertwined, but definitely rocked society because of overlapping events. Trump himself has been plagued by allegations of sexual misconduct himself.

It’s hard to speak upon 2017 without mentioning the new administration, as in my own lifetime I have seen nothing like it. With a fierce dislike of the press, (most of it at least), an anti-silver tongue approach to announcements, press conferences, and tweets, there is nothing about this administration that is status quo, and the way they handle things is being normalized as the months go on.

The Trials of Trump

Donald J. Trump became our 45th president on January 20th, 2017, and for the last 11 months or so it has been one wild ride, whether you are on his administration’s side or against it, or somehow still undecided, his unprecedented nomination and ascension to power has been an incredibly volatile time for this country. To some, his anti-immigrant, racially charged rhetoric is what this country needed to get back ‘to its roots’.

On inauguration day, Trump’s speech echoed devices used in Nationalistic propaganda, showering the American people with praise and claiming that he and his administration would give the power back to the people of the country, taking it from Washington D.C.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.

That promise that Trump mentioned was one of a country with more opportunity, more wealth shared with the regular Joe, and a mention of more money for schools, and trying to get those in welfare out of it. It was the first mention of “America First”. It is exactly 11 months and two days at the time of writing from that day in which President Trump embarked on this isolationist, America before anyone else policy, but it’s so far been Americans with an asterisk who are benefitting of this ideology.

Just last week the first victory for Republicans and the Trump Administration was the tax bill which was signed by President Trump, which leaves a lot of the Americans that were mentioned in Trump’s speech out of the loop. It will benefit the wealthy and corporate firms the most, and eventually kill off these tax breaks promised to Americans after a decade without pulling the plug on the perpetual business tax cut.

The n social media at least, the idea of “fake news”, “lying press” and the disingenuous idea that the news organizations have a bone to pick with the president have taken the country full force. Harrowingly enough, ‘Lügenpresse’ was a term used by fascist Nazi Germany to disregard the media’s reporting of the government.

With a rise of white supremacy leading up to the deadly August 11th Charlottesville’s “Unite the Right Rally”, President’s Trump’s comments on their being good people “on both sides”, and the death of Heather Heyer, the race relations in America, and the fear of Nazis, definitely boiled over. Not since the 1930’s and 40’s has the United States needed to worry about the anti-Semitic Nazi until now. Now it wasn’t the current sitting President of the United States that caused all this, but he certainly hasn’t been one to drag the white supremacy movements and white shooters through the dirt as he has many other less deserving communities.

President Trump said on January 20th, “this American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” It seems thus far that the forgotten men and women of this country are not the ones that each American brings to mind. There are those that will continue to be forgotten, and those that will be pushed into the shadows.

Women Roar

Earlier in the year was the Women’s March, which took place in multiple locations in the US and in the world on January 21st, 2017, the day after Trump took the oath and office. That itself was a sort of catalyst for women’s rights movements throughout the world.

As the movement grew by way of social media the #MeToo movement was born in October 2017 after Alyssa Milano encouraged women of all backgrounds to come forward on social media, bringing front and center the problems and harrowing memories of women who were harassed in some form or another. She tweeted on October 17th, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

The biggest story from the revelations by Hollywood harassment came from sexual misconduct allegations against Producer Harvey Weinstein, whose long list of accusers surfaced to talk about the shared experiences of being harassed or manipulated by the Hollywood executive.

As the allegations came to light, more and more celebrities came forth with their own experiences with both misogyny and harassment in the industry. There were even male celebrities with experiences of being harassed by more powerful industry males, such as Kevin Spacey.

More important than who did it was why they did it, and in those cases, that were critical to demoting these men from their positions of power was it was harrowing to hear just how much power these individuals harnessed over their accusers.  

Featured as Time’s ‘Person of the Year’, “The Silence Breakers” are the women who helped launched the #MeToo movement. In Time’s article, it is made clear that this movement has been a long time coming. “It has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries. Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist. They’ve had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can’t afford to lose.

As of writing, the movement looks to have continued support for those that come out of the shadows. Most recently, the women accusers against Republican Roy Moore, who lost the Alabama special election for a Senate seat to Democrat Doug Jones on December 12th, 2017.  

Looking Ahead

2018 will most likely continue the trends and changes spurred within this year of hostility and hope, but it’s up in the air where these trends will lead to. President Trump begins his second year at the White House, and the movement of women against abuse will continue. A second Women’s March will take place in the Bay Area on January 20th. Until then and beyond in 2018, may a happy new year come your way.