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Maryam Hassan / Staff Photographer

It is, most certainly, in the best interests of the American people for President Donald Trump not to succeed.

If he accomplishes what he promises to do—bring back jobs, make the nation more secure, and make America great again—it will validate him in the eyes of the American people. When America voted in Trump, America voted all of him into office. All of the controversies: the “grab them by the pussy,” the Mexican “rapists,” and the mockery of disabled people. And if he succeeds, all of him succeeds. This is something we cannot afford.

No, I’m not a disgruntled protestor hoarsely screeching “Not my president!” from the steps of Low Library, still in shock over Trump’s upset electoral victory. He won. I’ve accepted this—and so must we all. With the help of the absurdity that is the Electoral College, Trump managed to spark what many believe will be an era of helping “the forgotten men and women” of America.

They are, without a doubt, wrong.

It appears that Trump does not care about the people of this country, and after his first few incredibly unstable weeks at the helm, his true goal has been made abundantly clear: He seeks to enrich himself and those around him by abusing the office of the presidency.

A recent Washington Post exposé revealed that U.S. taxpayers footed the nearly $100,000 bill for Eric Trump’s business trip to Uruguay. While the security of the First Family is important, it is also critical that Trump separate his obligations as president from his former role as head of the Trump Organization. With foreign diplomats already frequenting Trump’s hotels, it is apparent that the president holds severe conflicts of interest that are near impossible to mitigate.

Despite these impeachable offenses, much of the public seems content to give Trump a free pass. And, now that a few months have elapsed and Trump has been inaugurated, many people who claim to despise him have “wished him success” in his endeavors.

Why?

Sure, it makes sense to hope that he doesn’t screw up so poorly that nukes go flying or that an innocent country ends up on the receiving end of an unnecessary carpet-bombing. No rational person would wish that those actions occur.

However, barring the most severe of situations, I believe it will be better for America if Trump leaves the country in a relatively worse place than where it was when he took office. Perhaps this is too severe of an indictment, but I hope the people who placed their faith in him this election don’t get what they want.

This isn’t meant to be spiteful, and it’s not because I disagree with them ideologically: I want people—all people—to be happy and prosperous, to live in peace with one another, and to feel as though they are valued, regardless of who they cast their ballot for. But it has become apparent that many Americans must learn that nationalism, populism, and ethnocentrism are not ways of thinking that will make our lives and, more importantly, the world, better.

Let’s take a look at what Trump has already accomplished as president: He has managed to remove key regulations from the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in the wake of the financial crisis; (attempted to) ban immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries; remove the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the National Security Council, replacing them with a white supremacist; and call into question the legitimacy of a (Bush-appointed and unanimously confirmed) federal judge.

While some of these changes are just political posturing, some of them are blatantly unconstitutional and destabilizing actions. Trump’s first few weeks should strike fear into any reasonable American, regardless of party alignment. He does not respect the pillars of our democracy—the things that make us American. If the executive branch does not respect the checks and balances set on it by the other branches, then the system falls apart. If Trump proceeds to act in this manner, the America as envisioned by our founders will cease to exist.

The only remaining mechanism to stop Trump from succeeding, if checks and balances fail, is the people.

And here at Columbia, because we represent so many different places across this country, it is especially imperative to keep fighting, keep agitating, and keep from normalizing Trump’s abnormal presidency. We’re better than this—and now we must get to work. It’s not the time to sit in Butler, focusing only on getting an A in every class and ignoring what is happening in our nation’s capital. Now we have to stand up, speak to our neighbors, explain to them why this is not the America that we’re meant to live in, and strive to ensure that it’s not the America we become.

The author is a GS/JTS first-year studying American studies and Jewish law. He is a member of Columbia Mock Trial and hopes to pursue a career in law or politics.

To respond to this op-ed, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com

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