Donald Trump: President for All?
by Katherine Opiela ’20
Last Tuesday, March 28, Donald Trump signed an executive order which suspends or calls for review on several climate change laws, including Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. With his Energy Independence Executive Order, Trump is attempting to reverse much of the recent progress that has been made in regards to environmental protection.
After all, our president once called global warming a “hoax” invented by the Chinese. Also, earlier this year, President Trump’s choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, said he didn’t believe carbon dioxide is a “primary contributor” to global warming. Of course, that contradicts the accepted scientific view of the problem, putting Pruitt at odds with the agency he now leads.
Predictably, Trump’s latest executive orders drew praise from business groups, who are happy to have fewer regulations eating into their profits, and condemnation from environmental groups who take a big-picture view of the global warming problem. Former vice president and environmental activist Al Gore called the order “a misguided step away from a sustainable, carbon-free future for ourselves and generations to come.”
Misguided executive orders like this raise the question of whether it’s possible for Trump to govern for the benefit of all Americans rather than the privileged few. In the time that he has been President of the United States, we’ve watched him choose an extremely conservative Cabinet largely comprised of white men. Also, the administration basically ignored the Women’s March. We routinely see pictures of men gathered to determine women’s health issues. Instead of taking a larger picture view of our nation and world, considering everyone’s needs, Donald Trump seems to continually cater to a small group.
There is a need for greater inclusion, debate, and compromise that is so obvious in Washington.
This national issue also hits home in terms of diversity issues the Providence College community faces. Given that PC is made up of more than three quarters of white students, we certainly struggle with the issue of diversity. In a poll on niche.com that asks, “What one word or phrase best describes your school?” 67 percent of the responders from Providence College said, “Rich white preppy kids.” Clearly, this response the lack of diversity at Providence College shines light on the need for inclusion and change.
In the same way that it is important for Trump to consider everyone’s needs as he governs, it is equally as important for Providence College to listen to the diverse perspectives on campus and work to be a college where all students feel accepted, heard, and valued.
An Alternative Presidency
by Katherine Opiela ’20
On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. After the ceremony, he took to Twitter via @realDonaldTrump to highlight some of his promises as President. Pledging to bring back things such as secure borders and well-paying jobs, Trump stuck to his campaign slogan, promising to “Make America Great Again.”
I believe Trump’s narrow-minded view of our world is going to result in much conflict with foreign countries throughout his presidency. With that kind of view of the world, it seems nearly impossible for this celebrity to follow through on his promises and incite the kind of positive changes he says he wants to see for our country.
I worry that our nation will be governed by Trump the divisive campaigner. Last Saturday, day one of the new administration, President Trump visited CIA headquarters where he loudly lashed out at his detractors, blatantly exaggerated the size of his inauguration crowd, slammed the press as “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” and bragged about seeing himself on magazine covers.
His unpresidential behavior incurred the wrath of former CIA Director John Brennan. According to former CIA Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Shapiro, Brennan believes that Trump, “should be ashamed of himself.” In one tweet, Shapiro said, “Former CIA director Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes.”
Oddly, President Trump didn’t seem to understand what he had done wrong. He tweeted about the “long standing ovations” he received at CIA headquarters and described his visit as a “Win.”
Later in the day, in his first White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer rattled off information that wasn’t true. In particular, following up on Trump’s complaints that the press under-reported the size of the crowds for his inauguration, Spicer said, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” Of course, plenty of photos show that this is not true.
It is shocking that Trump’s press secretary would lie when it’s so easy for anyone to uncover the facts. When asked about the discrepancy over the crowds on Sunday, Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway said they had based their comments on“alternative facts”—whatever that means.
It’s also upsetting that Trump seems okay with breaking campaign promises. We already know the wall might actually be just a fence. Also, during the campaign, Trump said he wasn’t releasing his tax returns because he was under an IRS audit. Trump claimed that the IRS does not let anyone under audit release their tax returns, but that’s not the case. However, he pledged to release his tax returns once the audit was complete. Now, the White House says Trump will never release his tax returns, even when the audit is complete—what a surprise.
Many Trump supporters claim Americans don’t care about Trump’s taxes, but a CNN poll found that 74 percent of Americans actually do think Trump should release his tax returns.
It appears as if the Trump administration wants us to believe whatever they say, even though the facts often stand in stark contrast to their messages and they often don’t follow through and do what they say they will do.
Retaining The Rituals
by Katherine Opiela ’20
It’s January. For me, the first thing that comes to mind when I think about January is the NFL playoffs. That is because I root for the New England Patriots.
The Patriots have reached the playoffs for eight consecutive years since 2009. Dating back to 2000 when Bill Belichick was hired as the team’s head coach, quarterback Tom Brady has led his team to win four Super Bowls, six AFC Championships and 13 AFC East titles. What’s not to like about that record?
Growing up in a house where every Sunday from September through January had a football game blaring through the house, I had no choice but to become a football fan myself. Despite being a fan in general, living just 15 minutes away from Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, has certainly contributed to my love for the team.
Every home game I hear the jets fly over my house just seconds before flying over Gillette prior to kickoff. The excitement of rooting for a team that is consistently good each season is something I look forward to in the dog days of summer.
The word “fan” is derived from “fanatic.” And the behavior of Pats fans as the playoffs roll around certainly becomes fanatical.
Admittedly, as far as the Patriots go, I’m a rather superstitious person. Before the first playoff game, I hang a Brady jersey over the fireplace. On each game day, I wear my Gronk jersey, Pats hat, Patriots sweatshirt and some Patriots slipper socks. Once the winning starts, nothing gets washed.
For the past few years, prior to every playoff game I prepare a buffalo chicken dip for the game for my friends and family to enjoy. And for the past four years I’ve watched the games in my basement sitting in the same chair. I invite the same high school crew over and they, too, prepare the same dishes. No menu changes are allowed. We believe we are helping the team, or in the Pats’ terms, “doing our jobs.”
We are not alone in these crazy rituals. According to the “Pats Propaganda” website, more than one-third (35 percent) of Patriots fans sit in the same spot every game and wear the same article of clothing. Also, Patriots fans rank second in the league (22 percent) for engaging in superstitious activities with their friends.
My Patriots gear was the first thing I packed to head back to campus. Although I can still wear my lucky clothes, I can’t help but wonder how not making my famous dip and sitting in my lucky chair may affect the outcome of the game. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how the Patriots do this Sunday against the Steelers as I watch the game sitting on a dingy common room couch surrounded by people who may not all be die-hard Patriots fans like myself.