Today as I write marks the first 100 days of President Donald Trump's administration. It's almost an abomination of equating the concept of 100 days to Trump, since this comes from President Franklin Roosevelt's first 100 days in office in 1933. That was a remarkable beginning of his administration, when a variety of economic programs were enacted to confront the severity of the Great Depression. He set the standard for the beginning of any administration, and few, if any, subsequent ones have come anywhere close to the mark with the exception of Lyndon Johnson's first full 100 days after his election in 1964 following the Kennedy assassination. By comparison, Trump is a joke, since, in his first 100 days, instead of pursing policies to help people, his proposals have been aimed at hurting people. For example, the Republican health care plan that tried to change Obamacare would have thrown millions off of their health insurance.
Trump's first 100 days have been further filled with attacks on our constitutional liberties and an assault on federal programs that provide a safety net for Americans. Instead, as seen in both his version of a new health insurance program and in his proposed tax cuts, everything about his administration is to support the very rich. Trump's beginning is largely a failure with respect to any achievements. On the other hand, he continues to succeed in polarizing the country and emboldening the extreme right including anti-immigrant nativists and those harboring racist views to people of color. Trump stands for an America of the past with all of its troubling aspects and is totally against the reality of the new diverse America that is the future of the country.
One other success can be linked to Trump's first 100 days: He has helped to create a new progressive opposition that is involving millions of Americans who will not succumb to Trump's authoritarian state. The massive demonstrations throughout the country and the confrontation at congressional town hall meetings are all testimony of a new political movement to first defend our rights and the federal programs that support people.
However, this defensive movement has to also begin to go on the offensive looking forward to the 2018 elections and the defeat of the Republicans in the House and Senate. The system may be corrupt and failing, but progressives still have to work through it, especially with respect to the electoral system. As César Chávez said, we can work in the system but not with it. People power can make a difference in changing the entrenched institutions of power, and we have to take advantage of it. Progressives have to remember that their aim is not just to change people in power and their hate speech, but also to begin to change the institutions. We need to keep our eyes on the prize. It is not just getting rid of the Trumpities but the system that gives rise to Trumpism. We have to remain optimistic that this can be done and that it will be done.