Trump’s electoral upset is a victory for Republicans in name only. In promoting non-interventionism, opposing free trade and rejecting the idea of American exceptionalism, his platform represents a stark departure from the historical and modern beliefs of the GOP.
As a proud Republican woman it was incredibly disheartening to see my party get infiltrated, and ultimately run, by nothing more than a populist in disguise.
However, it is Trump’s blatant disregard for press freedom and his affinity for retaliation that makes him truly unique.
While I’ll concede that Trump may find some common ground with his fellow Republicans as he cries out against the “crooked” liberal media, Trump efforts to obstruct press freedom are truly unprecedented.
From ejecting reporters from his events, to completely rescinding their credentials, Trump is actively, albeit legally, limiting the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of the press.
Much like he played to the xenophobia that lies in the shadows of American culture, Trump tapped into the fallacy of a dangerous, “liberal” media that acts in the interest of the corporate establishment.
In doing so, Trump has created the justification he needs to stifle political speech and have the American public deem it acceptable.
It would be foolish to label this pattern of behavior as anything other than an affront to civilized democracy.
It is equally as foolish to assume that Trump will be more restrained in these endeavors as president than he was as a presidential nominee.
But what does this all mean for the non-journalists?
It means that now more than ever we must voice our refusal to stand for such injustices.
We must tell the president-elect, and the rest of the nation, that limiting the freedom of the press, and by extension, the freedom of speech, is the first step in tyrannical rule and that it has no place in the American political landscape.
It is up to the American people to refuse to be complicit as the rights of their peers are trampled over. After all, if the watchdog’s rights are being trampled over, what’s to say that the everyday American isn’t next?
Frankly, the onus here falls on millenials. While no one can change what has already happened, young people have the best chance of keeping it from happening again. It is the coming generation that can, and must, tell our elected officials that these infringements upon our mostbasic enumerated rights will no longer be tolerated.
The future of America must recognize the tremendous leverage they have in determining which behaviors will be tolerated, and which are unacceptable.
It is more important now than ever for citizens to recognize that they have their own bully pulpit, and to raise their voices above those who try to silence them.
Americans can no longer allow politicians on either side of the aisle to frame the press as an oppresive force just because it holds leaders accountable for their actions and calls them out when they lie.
The real enemies of freedom are not in the media. The real enemies are those who try to stifle dissent just because they can.
But refusing to speak out against those who take advantage of the very institutions that make American society so great is doing ourselves and our country a great, and ultimately unforgivable disservice.
The views and opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors.