Coffee, Cocktails & Conversation With Felicia

The Trump Effect: Threats to Democracy and the Urgency to Unite

Can’t sleep at 2 am. Thoughts are racing as I quietly toss and turn, hoping not to wake my sleeping husband. The article from The Atlantic titled “Americans Are Oblivious to a National Crisis” wouldn’t allow me to rest. The article begins with the statement, “The United States of America is facing a danger from a sometimes violent cult while a nuclear armed power wages war on the border of our closest allies. And yet, many Americans are oblivious, behaving as if they are living in normal times instead of in an ongoing crisis.”

Unfortunately, I completely agree. What is happening to this country? Can we still claim to be The “United” States of America when the fundamental values that have been taught for decades are now widely debated? Our “united” states certainly seem divided. No matter where one looks, the reality of our dire situation haunts me. Why aren’t more people outraged about the state of our union?

In the aftermath of the Trump presidency, the world witnessed a series of events that posed significant threats to democracy. From the erosion of basic human rights to the polarization of societies, it became clear that unity was crucial for creating a stronger and more inclusive future. The so-called “Trump Impact” not only affected the United States but had far-reaching consequences beyond its borders. It emphasized the urgent need for individuals from all walks of life to come together and defend the principles of democracy that serve as the foundation of a free and fair society.

The Trump Effect: Democracy in Peril!

The Trump administration presented numerous challenges to democracy, raising concerns that reverberated globally. With policies that fostered division, undermined the free press, and targeted marginalized communities, there was a genuine risk of compromising democratic institutions. The rise of populist movements and the dissemination of misinformation further exacerbated these dangers. The Trump Effect underscored the importance of safeguarding democratic values such as freedom of speech, equality, and the right to protest. It served as a wake-up call for citizens everywhere to remain vigilant and take action to protect the democratic foundations that we hold dear.

Mainstream media continually gives the disgraced twice impeached former president a pass. Despite this, Trump currently faces 91 indictments, thousands of lawsuits for felony and civil crimes, a deadly insurrection of our nation’s capital, and a gag order request…yet roughly half of Americans want him back in the White House.

Today, Gen Mark Milley is retiring after a career spanning over 40 years in the military and was honored at a farewell tribute. He served under multiple administrations, including Pres. Biden and VP Harris who were present at the event. General Mark A. Milley is the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military officer in the nation, and the principal military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council. Before becoming Chairman on October 1, 2019, General Milley served as the 39th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.

Last Friday, the former president incited violence against the nation’s top general, Mark Milley, and entertained the idea of executing him. On his social-media network, Truth Social, Donald Trump wrote that Mark Milley’s phone call to reassure China after the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was “an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH.” (The phone call was, in fact, explicitly authorized by Trump-administration officials.) Trump’s threats against Milley were made following The Atlantic’s publication of a profile of Milley by this magazine’s editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, who detailed Milley’s efforts to protect the Constitution from Trump.

But most media outlets surprisingly ignored Trump’s post. No one discussed Trump’s call to have General Mark Milley assassinated in the second GOP debate. Why isn’t his comment causing concern among the masses? Are we as a country really that desensitized?

In an interview with CBS on Wednesday night, Milley stated, “I have adequate safety precautions. I wish those comments had not been made, and I’ll take appropriate measures to ensure my safety and the safety of my family.” It is terrifying to know that a general in the United States military needs to take such measures. Milley served closely by Trump’s side after becoming Joint Chiefs chair in 2019. However, he is not the first government official to have their life endangered by a post from the former president. Vice President Mike Pence’s life appeared to be threatened by his boss during the storming of the Capitol in 2021.

Throughout the first 234 years of the nation’s history, no American president or former president had ever been indicted. That changed this year. Former President Donald Trump has been charged in four criminal cases over a span of four and a half months. In New York, he faces 34 felony counts in connection with hush money payments to a porn star. In Florida, he faces 40 felony counts for hoarding classified documents and obstructing efforts to retrieve them. In Washington, D.C., he faces four felony counts for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And in Georgia, he faces 13 felony counts for his interference in the election in that state.

This week, a New York judge found Donald Trump and his family business guilty of inflating the value of his properties and other assets through fraudulent means. The trial is scheduled for October 2, 2023. In May 2023, Trump was also found liable for battery and defamation in a lawsuit brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. A jury awarded her $5 million, and a second defamation trial begins on January 15, 2024.

If all of the above doesn’t break your heart, in the past few months, Mr. Trump has argued that federal laws about classified documents don’t apply to him, floated the idea of pardons for his supporters who attacked the Capitol, claimed that judges he disagrees with are unfit to preside over cases against him, and has been accused of threatening to prejudice the jury pool in one case. A judge decided to shield the identity of jurors in another case after Trump supporters posted the names, photos, and addresses of grand jurors involved in issuing an indictment in that case. He is also pushing for a government shutdown to halt Justice Department investigations, to force a show of loyalty, and to try to manipulate our political system to his liking, even when he is out of office.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden asked in a press conference, “Do we still believe in the constitution?” He also stated that MAGA threatens the character of our nation.

I used to believe that Trump supporters were mostly white racists who were angry about the Census news and “The Browning of America,” but as time goes on and the campaign season heats up, it has become clear to me that Donald Trump has supporters from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. My question is why? What is so appealing about him? Yes, there was a time when the Trump name was synonymous with wealth and prestige. The 2016 Trump presidential campaign was a miracle for some Americans. A seemingly successful businessman, casino owner, friend to the wealthy, and owner of New York real estate bearing his name would become POTUS.

I remember so many people saying “It’s great that he is not a politician, the country doesn’t need another politician.” A lot has changed since then… or has it? According to USA Today, Donald Trump and his businesses have been involved in thousands of legal actions in federal and state courts over the past three decades. These range from disputes with casino patrons to million-dollar real estate lawsuits to personal defamation lawsuits.

As the legal cases against Mr. Trump have increased, “so too have threats against law enforcement authorities, judges, elected officials, and others,” The Times reported this week. “The threats, in turn, are prompting protective measures, a legal effort to curb his angry and sometimes inflammatory public statements, and renewed concern about the potential for an election campaign in which Mr. Trump has promised ‘retribution’ to result in violence.”

Mr. Trump’s targets extend beyond Democrats to other Republicans as well. In a biography set to be released next month, Senator Mitt Romney revealed that he is spending $5,000 per day on security for himself and his family due to threats from Trump supporters.

This volatile combination of heated political rhetoric, unfounded conspiracy theories, anti-government sentiment, and a militant gun culture has created fertile ground for political violence. The country has the power to halt the spread of lawlessness, but it requires addressing the precursors to violence.

Many of these elements were present during Mr. Trump’s recent visit to a gun store in South Carolina that sold an AR-15-style rifle to a man who later carried out a racist mass shooting at a dollar store. During his visit, Mr. Trump held up a custom Glock handgun with his face etched onto the handle. Although he expressed interest in purchasing one of the weapons — as he mentioned, they are big sellers! — it is unclear if he could legally do so since he is under indictment.

Mr. Trump’s impulsive and erratic online posts should not be dismissed as “Trump being Trump.” Consider his call this month for House Republicans to shut down the government. Mr. Trump encouraged them to stand their ground and demand nothing less than their full set of demands, including forcing the Justice Department to end its investigations into him. He referred to it as “the last chance to defund these politically motivated prosecutions against me and other Patriots.”

Defeating Mr. Trump at the ballot box will require more political courage than merely including flashes of honesty in memoirs. The former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson is the latest in a long line of memoirists who have declared that Mr. Trump is the “most serious threat we will face to our democracy in our lifetime, and potentially in American history.”

Let’s Rally Together for a Stronger Future!

Amidst the threats to democracy posed by the Trump Impact, the need for unity and solidarity has become more evident than ever. Through collaboration and collective action, we can counteract the forces that aim to divide us. We must rally together, regardless of our political affiliations or backgrounds, to build a more robust future. This means engaging in constructive dialogue, actively listening to differing viewpoints, and finding common ground. By embracing diversity and inclusivity, we can work towards a society that values democratic principles and respects the rights and dignity of all individuals.

In our efforts to strengthen democracy, we must also empower the next generation. Education plays a vital role in shaping democratic societies, and it is our responsibility to ensure that young people are equipped with the knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to navigate the complexities of the political landscape. By fostering a culture of civic engagement and encouraging the voices of the youth, we can cultivate a generation committed to upholding democratic principles and effecting positive change.

The Trump Impact serves as a powerful reminder that democracy is not guaranteed, but rather a fragile construct that requires continuous vigilance and collective action to uphold. By acknowledging the threats to democracy and uniting for a stronger future, we can pave the way for a world where democratic values thrive. Let us embrace unity, solidarity, and inclusivity as we work towards a society that cherishes the principles of democracy and ensures the rights and well-being of all its citizens. Together, we can overcome the challenges presented by the Trump Impact and forge a path towards a brighter future for generations to come.