Sound extreme and paranoid? It happens there’s a disturbing pattern that provides a clear window to the mentality of Trump and his followers’ urge to purge.
The tactics to impugn and intimidate are varied. They will question your patriotism. They will threaten retribution. They may fire you. They may even invade your community with federal police.
The recent controversy over Trump’s call for NFL owners to fire players who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and inequality is just a visible tip of a threat that goes much deeper. (Instead of firing players, owners locked arms or knelt in unison with their players during the national anthem in the next round of NFL games.)
Civil servants have become a clear enemy to be feared as much as immigrants and Muslims.
Not long after Trump’s rallying cry to fire football players for exercising their First Amendment rights, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told an advisory board composed of oil and gas executives that 30% of Interior Department employees were “not loyal to the flag” as he promised to make “huge” changes so he could relax regulations.
In a disturbing move to establish a favorable political apparatchik, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) reintroduced legislation to classify all new federal hires as “at will” employees. “Such employee may be removed or suspended, without notice or right to appeal, from service by the head of the agency at which such employee is employed for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all,” the legislation says.
Disguised as an efficiency measure, it’s clearly a way to politicize the federal workforce by installing people who’ll do their bidding. Raise questions of legality, provide unsettling information, or reach an inconvenient conclusion and you could be gone. Very Soviet-like.
Federal civil service isn’t an act of allegiance to an ideology or person. Federal employees take the same oath as Members of Congress.
The Air Force breaks the oath to its civil servants this way: “You are not swearing to support the President, the Country, the flag or a particular service, but rather the Constitution which symbolizes all of these things. “
The Trump administration is also ratcheting up threats against states and cities that don’t want local law enforcement to act as federal immigration agents. Pleas by those jurisdictions that doing so would actually have a negative effect on public safety have been ignored.
The Acting Director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has warned California and other jurisdictions with so-called sanctuary laws that “ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at work sites …”
If Congress gives Trump the 10,000 additional immigration officers he’s requested, we may see communities torn apart as they become beachheads for large-scale assaults by ICE officers.
Always at war with the media, Trump has gone so far as to suggest the Senate Intelligence Committee investigate the media for “Fake News,” a euphemism for critical news he doesn’t like.
Republicans aren’t immune either. Vice-President Mike Pence’s chief of staff told the Republican National Committee they could purge the handful of Republicans in Congress who have bucked Trump’s approach by encouraging donors to recruit primary opponents and max out their contributions to them.
There is a “Resistance.” Take comfort in that and but understand your fellow workers, your neighbors, your public officials, your friends, your family, may end up being part of it.
Understand that Trump and his loyalist have a broad brush and there’s a good chance it can sweep you or someone you know up in their attempt to get others to bow and submit.