Last July, I wrote a piece detailing Donald Trump's extensive history of thievery.
On the opening night of the Republican Convention, Melania Trump gave an address that clearly plagiarized Michelle Obama's "One Nation" speech. Irrespective of whether it was written by her with a little help, as she claimed, or penned by a speechwriter, it should have been thoroughly vetted by her husband's campaign. The buck stops with Donald.Now that he is president, his wanton thievery continues apace, as he exploits the office for personal gain via his business interests from which he refuses to divest and robs taxpayers of millions of dollars to fund his golf trips and private security for his family in New York City.
When he came onstage to introduce her, Donald made a dramatic entrance set to Queen's "We Are the Champions," despite the fact that the band has repeatedly asked him to stop using their music.
This is, of course, only the beginning of Donald's illustrious career of thieving.
His Trump Institute plagiarized materials. Donald himself plagiarized his former primary opponent Dr. Ben Carson earlier in this very campaign. He spent decades stealing people's labor, refusing to pay them for their work. He has stolen people's homes from them. He has stolen people's money via the giant fraud that was Trump University. He has stolen from vendors by wriggling out of compensating them in full.
This is a man who has zero compunction about stealing. He is an unrepentant thief.
He wants to own everything, except responsibility for the wreckage created by his exploitation and larceny.
Every stroke of his pen robs people of their rights. Just this week, he signed another Executive Order which "revoked Executive Order 13673, signed by President Obama in 2014. That order, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order, required that companies receiving large federal contracts be able to demonstrate that they have complied for at least three years with 14 federal laws, several of which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender stereotyping, or gender identity."
He has stolen the right of women, trans people, and LGBTQ folks to not be discriminated against by federal contractors.
Which is but one of a number of rights rollbacks that the thief-in-chief has overseen less than ten weeks into his presidency.
These are measurable thefts. But Trump has also stolen a great deal more.
I imagine that each of us who did not support Trump, who did not vote for Trump, and who currently resist his administration with everything we've got has their own list of things Trump has stolen from them. This is mine.
Trump has stolen my sense of security. Not only has Trump's presidency precipitously eroded national security by replacing diplomacy with belligerent posturing in global relations, his empowerment of violent bigotry has made me decidedly less safe. During one recent weekend, I had to block more than 300 explicitly Nazi-identified Twitter accounts, many of whose proprietors were overtly threatening me. I have never been (or felt) completely safe, but I am even less so now. And I am deeply concerned for the people who have less privilege than I do.
Trump has stolen my peace of mind. I have never been a person who could tune out of politics ("No shit, Sherlock."—You, probably), but, during President Obama's tenure, I didn't feel a vibrating urgency to stay tuned in at all times, out of a persistent fear that he was going to do something terrible. If I don't look at Twitter for an hour, I dread what I will find upon my return—and there is, inevitably, something that rocks me. I feel perpetually unsettled; my mind never rests.
Trump has stolen my time. Relatedly, I spend much more time working than I did during the Obama presidency. At all hours, there is breaking news of some fresh new hell. On Monday night's show, Seth Meyers made (not really) a joke about Trump's golf schedule, saying that his (Meyer's) job is just to make fun of the president and even he doesn't have time to golf. That resonated strongly with me: It takes me enormous amounts of time just to understand the nuances of all the issues, which now include things like the Emoluments Clause—something I never had to study during previous presidencies.
Trump has stolen my national pride. I've never had what one would describe as undiluted patriotism. But what pride I did have in my country has been significantly diminished by the overwhelming humiliation of a president who trades in aggressive nationalism, bigotry, and lies. And who treats foreign leaders like dirt.
Trump has stolen my sense of humor. The one thing that got me through this work every day for 13 years was my sense of humor. But I don't find much to laugh about when it comes to Trump. I see memes meant to be funny, and I cringe. I hear jokes about his policies, and I cannot laugh, because nothing about them is funny to me. It is damn difficult to find any mirth at all in documenting what feels like the end of our democracy.
Trump has stolen my optimism. I have previously written: "Democracy at its best is, after all, unlimited optimism shot through with a cold streak of cynicism. ...That is the way I have always practiced democracy. That is the way I will always practice democracy." But, if I'm honest, that isn't how I feel now. That equation has reversed. I now feel like I'm practicing unlimited cynicism shot through with a bolt of optimism. Which makes me feel very off-balance, for a start, and quite profoundly sad.
But then, and finally, there is this:
Trump has stolen every last lingering trace of self-doubt I had that this is what I am meant to do. Resist, with all my might.
He can steal a lot from me, but he cannot steal my resolve to resist his thievery.
[Graphic used in my image care of Pixabay.]