We’ve all heard the term “ugly Americans.” It seems almost quaint to consider that until quite recently, these words were most frequently used to describe U.S. tourists behaving badly while traveling abroad. But now the term has a new and chilling significance, attaching itself to Donald Trump and the advisers he has chosen to shape his appalling agenda. The events of this man’s first few days in office have been so despicable, and the rhetoric so divisive and petty, that the word “ugly” hardly seems adequate.

But is it really surprising? Donald Trump launched his political career as one of the leading voices of “birtherism,” a premise that is inherently racist. He has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault. His campaign was a vile succession of insults directed at women, Muslims, the disabled and a host of others. He has chosen as one of his closest advisers Stephen Bannon, an anti-Semite who is aligned with white nationalism.

The type of president he would become – impetuous, arrogant and vindictive – was clear to see from the first day of his candidacy. He is exactly who we thought he was.

In such times, it becomes ever more important for those of us who are alarmed by the ominous implications of Donald Trump’s presidency to register our dismay. Righteous anger alone is not an effective response. More is required to ensure that this administration’s brand of ugly Americanism does not become normalized.

Take action. Write to your elected officials. Donate to progressive causes. Exercise your right to free speech and peaceful assembly. And recall the words of Teddy Roosevelt: “The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Lincoln Peirce


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