What are people ignoring today?
Does the focus on the new President mean that people are missing opportunities to stop local efforts to undermine our democracy? Are all the outrageous cabinet nominations and hastily scribbled executive orders making it difficult to know where to focus your resistance?
Consider the successful maneuver by North Carolina Republicans to strip their incoming governor of numerous powers immediately upon taking office. Consider the Arizona bill that would ban schools from teaching about social justice—which was killed in committee, but will likely be revised and re-introduced. Consider the governor of Mississippi signing into law a bill that allows businesses to refuse service to gay couples.
The new President’s executive order restricting aid to foreign organizations that offer abortion-related services has frightening international implications. Yet this should not allow people to ignore the new bill in Ohio that prohibits abortion after 20 weeks—with no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal anomalies.
The executive order that bans immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries resulted in demonstrations. At the same time, Idaho legislators proposed a law that cuts off funding for sanctuary cities and heightened the requirement of law enforcement officers to check immigration status on people who get arrested.
There are so many more examples of this type of legislation in play that Human Rights Watch has claimed that the United States “poses a dangerous threat to basic rights protections while encouraging abuse by autocrats around the world.” And all of this is happening even as the new administration is taking every effort to undermine the work of the media responsible for keeping the public informed—another tactic used in Gilead. The “newspapers were censored and some were closed down,” and the news that was available could not be trusted—“who knows if any of it is true? It could be old clips, it could be faked.” (Yes, Margaret Atwood wrote of fake news decades before Mr. Trump hurled the phrase at a CNN reporter.)