Prosophobia: America’s New Normal

Because any Hispanic, undocumented or not; any LGBT person; any minority living in this country should feel concerned over the character of people chosen to lead agencies that affect the everyday lives of Americans

Marriage equality supporters celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry at the Supreme Court in Washington June 26, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Trump is now President-elect and the entire world is reacting, one way or another. Protests continue to erupt throughout the country, Donald Trump’s Twitter feed is on overdrive, and people around the country are either rejoicing or depressed — especially in Washington, DC, where folks are bracing for an influx of Trump supporters making their way to the nation’s capital for the inauguration.

Throughout his campaign, he has placed the blamed of the rise of ISIS, the lack of respect abroad, and the lack of economic growth, squarely on the shoulder’s of one man: Barack Obama. But, for many of us Obama isn’t the root of all evils, rather a leader who blazed paths for our most vulnerable. Thanks to President Obama LGBT people now have the right to legally marry in all fifty states, undocumented youth are leading productive lives because of the enactment of DACA/DAPA, and millions of people who couldn’t even go to the doctor for a routine check up — let alone get a major health issue treated — now have access to quality health insurance.

All this, and he didn’t even get caught up in any sordid scandals.

To the President-elect, however, these accomplishments need to be undone. He threatens to repeal and replace many of Obama’s executive orders, but with what? We have yet to find out.

The ambiguity of his stances and the character and credentials of the people he chooses to surround himself with is worrisome— particularly for the Latino and LGBT communities who are fearful of the prospects he is considering for key posts in his Administration. Point in case: the nomination of Senator Jeff B. Sessions for Attorney General has many people wondering how a “President For All” can bring in a man into his tent who has a history of voting against voting rights, civil rights, and immigration. As far back as the early 80s Sen. Sessions unsuccessfully prosecuted three civil rights workers, including a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr., in a voter fraud case.

Sen. Sessions isn’t particularly a supporter of immigrants’ rights, either. In one instance, during a speech on the U.S. Senate floor he claimed “almost no one” coming from the Dominican Republic had beneficial skills. This led to a backlash among Dominican-Americans living in this country, including City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) who stated his comments were “offensive.”

The National Review even named him “Amnesty’s Worst Enemy” in an article published back in 2014 due to the numerous attempts at blocking any type of immigration bill that came to the Senate floor, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. This type of pushback didn’t just apply to the undocumented, however. In 2007, he proposed an amendment aimed at banning employers from receiving any government contracts who were caught hiring undocumented migrants. The amendment passed.

Fear of Trump’s nominations extends to the highest court in the land. This past May, Trump shared the list of judges he would nominate to the Supreme Court — all of them conservatives with horrible LGBT/immigration voting records. For example, there is Texas Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett who, just as Trump, is very active on Twitter. During the 2015 marriage equality hearings, he tweeted “I could support recognizing a constitutional right to marry bacon.” He also made disparaging comments about a transgender student in California.

Any Hispanic, undocumented or not; any LGBT person; any minority living in this country should feel concerned over the character of people chosen to lead agencies that affect the everyday lives of Americans.

The policies that Trump’s chosen cabinet will enforce are a threat to the progress we’ve already made: undocumented immigrants brought here through no fault of their own and who are making meaningful contributions to the society they consider their own thanks to work permits provided by DACA; people of the same sex marrying and attaining the same legal benefits heterosexual couples receive; and folks who had been banned from health care coverage due to pre-existing conditions or outrageously expensive premiums can now receive the health care they need to be productive citizens.

Looking back, President Obama didn’t do such a bad job as Commander-in-Chief: incomes are high, unemployment is down, the stock market is way up, and the economy has grown.

Before we decide to simply “give Trump a chance” we should be vigilant about his incoming Administration because their decisions will impact the progress we’ve achieved over the last eight years, one way or another.