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Letter: Check yourself, Donald!

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Aug. 8.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Aug. 8.

The more I reflect on the concept of recognizing one’s privilege while interacting in society, the more I realize that some world “leaders,” in particular, are relatively poor at this.

I will single out the 45th president of the United States as being extremely guilty of acknowledging his privilege. His inability to be a decent individual shines through in his political decisions. For example, if the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is repealed and replaced, it will have severe ramifications for blacks and Hispanics in America. Twenty-two million Americans will lose their health care, which many people around the world consider a human right. Thousands of people will suffer and die, disproportionately the poor and people of colour. This is a fact.
If Obamacare is repealed, it also means large tax cuts for higher-income earners.  Essentially, the so-called “leader” of the free world, who is a white billionaire, will be putting at risk those of lesser privilege in order to provide a cushier retirement for all of his old, white, Republican friends on Wall Street. I would argue that this is racism at its most sinister.

The Republicans’ attempt to tear down Barack Obama’s legacy is sickening, to say the least. Thankfully, at the time of this writing, nine Republican senators oppose the repeal of Obamacare. The war is obviously far from over.

I believe that Trump should broaden his perspective (from a social justice standpoint) on the issue about which he claims “nobody knew” was so complex: the health-care industry. He should actually go to places like South Central Los Angeles, Harlem or Miami, and meet the individuals that would be most affected by his gutting of Obamacare. If he takes the time to listen to the plights of a poor MS patient, who would eventually become disabled and die if disallowed access to their medications, he just may feel guilty enough to call the whole repeal thing off — if he had a heart, that is.

This is the ultimate question, though: does the president have enough of a conscience to go against the drug merchants and other ultra-rich individuals of America in order to help those of lesser privilege? This seems like an impossible notion at this point. Do you expect anything less from a man who barely moved from his cushy office in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, until he was regretfully called away to make a mockery of the United States government? He hardly has the life or career experience to make such a monumental decision, because at the end of the day, the American electoral system (with Russia’s help) elected a fraud. Repealing Obamacare would be extremely socially unjust. An ultra-rich, pompous, lazy, racist president intends to tear down the policy of a black president, for no other perceivable reason than spite. It seems very typical. 

As a newly minted teacher (I will graduate with my bachelor of education and a diploma in technology education in October), it is my duty to teach the principles of social justice to my pupils if a situation arises where social justice must be addressed. For example, if a white student uses a racial slur in addressing a black student, I would calmly take the student aside and privately explain why the term he/she used is a serious issue. Junior high and high school students are young and impressionable, and they have more information than ever coming at them in the run of a day — this can make reaching the students in an impactful way quite difficult.

I must come up with ways to effectively engage students on the subject of social justice. In a liberal, democratic society such as Canada’s, it is important for students to learn proper, socially sensitive terminology to reduce the chances of triggering anyone. Words can hurt, and it concerns me that the 45th president so poorly chooses his most times, whether it is speaking in public or tweeting at 4 a.m. Think of the children, Donald: young, impressionable minds are watching and listening.

Jonathan Hiscock
St. John’s

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