Regular readers of The Scroll may wonder how articles get assigned. Sometimes a writer has an idea for an article and asks to write it. Sometimes an editor assigns articles to the writing staff. And sometimes, there’s an article that no one wants to touch with a 10-foot pole, but someone will inevitably point to the one writer who has shown an interest in the topic in the past. This is one of those times, and I am that writer.
Full disclosure: I actually suggested this topic, but that doesn’t mean I actually wanted to be the person to write it. The topic of Trump’s first 100 days has been covered in virtually every way possible — 100 days of lies, 100 days of insanity, 100 days of failure. The editorials just keep coming, and it feels difficult to add something unique to this discussion.
But just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 100 days (or, you know, just being a Deerfield student studying for your AP exams), Donald Trump’s presidency hasn’t gotten off to a great start. Since day one, he has attempted to strip women and immigrants and many other minority groups of their rights. He has continually attacked and attempted to defund Planned Parenthood. In his new healthcare plan, sexual assault may be considered a “preexisting condition.” He attempted the well-known “Muslim ban” and has made life harder in practically every way for immigrants living in the United States. What does it say about Trump if he is content stripping women of healthcare and splitting up families who have lived in the United States for as long as they can remember?
Trump has picked fights with our allies, including Germany and Australia, and has jeopardized our fragile relationship with China and provoked North Korea. He has started ridiculous Twitter wars in the middle of the night. He has appointed people to head agencies whose beliefs are at odds with those agencies’ very purposes. He has hired his own family members as top advisors, a hallmark of authoritarian regimes. He has continually attacked members of the media, labeling anything that he doesn’t agree with as “fake news.” Who would have predicted that electing a reality T.V. star with no government experience to the highest office in the land would be such a disastrous idea?
Along with problematic policy decisions Trump has made, his hypocrisy about how citizens should react to his first 100 days is striking. Over the years, Donald Trump has frequently used a president’s first 100 days in office to assess their effectiveness and talent. He criticized how “little” Obama had accomplished during his first 100 days in 2009, using this to discredit him as a president. Yet in late April, he said, “It’s a false standard, 100 days, but I have to tell you, I don’t think anybody has done what we’ve been able to do in 100 days, so we’re very happy.” In just one sentence, Trump both contradicted everything he once said about the importance of a president’s first 100 days and then attempted to appeal to those people who will, in fact, judge him by his first 100 days. In fact, what’s remarkable about Trump’s first 100 days is the continuous contradictions between what he once said and what his actions now reveal.
During the Obama administration, Trump tweeted dozens of times to attack Obama for golfing as president. Yet Trump went golfing 19 times during his first 100 days while Obama golfed only once during the same period. Ironically, Trump himself said in August 2016 that he was “going to be working for you… [and] not going to have time to play golf.” I guess he got that one wrong. His golfing obsession coupled with his frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago are costing taxpayers millions of dollars while he is cutting funding to necessary programs such as Meals on Wheels.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. We, as citizens, do have a little bit of control and we have a duty, not just a right, to protest at this point in our country’s history. People across the country are jamming phone lines and leaving voicemails for their Congresspeople, Senators, the Secretary of State, the Department of Justice, and more. People are rising up and asking that GOP Congresspeople hold the Trump administration accountable for everything from the healthcare bill to the Russian hacking. We at Deerfield forget that we still have a voice and that even though many of us are not yet of voting age, words can matter.