THURAVIL: Trump has created (White) House of lies


Opinions Column: Sip on Your Chai


Friday’s great health care debacle with H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017, was not only a source of troubling anxiety for many people (myself included) during the better part of the day, but also a poignant moment in history that will be remembered for years to come — the beginning of the end of the streams of incessant and rampant lies and empty, question mark-filled promises that are thrown out to the American people.

So far, President Donald J. Trump has successfully managed to con America by maintaining a vicious cycle of frivolously spending taxpayer money for personal and unnecessary causes, then deflects the subsequent blame by either tweeting out a ridiculous conspiracy theory cooked up by right-wing personalities and TV networks or blaming the Democrats for failing to support a half-hearted attempt of his to make good on one of his many nationalistic and toxic campaign promises. This cycle is not only exhausting and harmful to those who want to unify under an anti-Trump movement (but find it difficult to pick any one single issue to focus on and unite under because there are just so many), but detracts from larger issues at hand such as Russian involvement in the U.S. election, the unbridled corruption,  nepotism at play within the administration and the unprofessional and petty attitude that marks Trump as a national embarrassment.

And, of course, nearly all of what is mentioned above involves the president lying to us.

For almost 63 days, and the entirety of his campaign before that, the Trump camp has spit out lie after lie in the hope that Americans would blindly trust and support him. And it worked. Neglected Midwesterners welcomed the change of scenery and claimed that his lack of political experience would be the refreshing reboot that American politics needed.

This handed him the election victory.

Post-election, doubt about Russian involvement began to emerge, more unhinged and faster than before, and that’s when Trump doubled down on the news networks and intelligence agencies that reported about and investigated it, quelling the hesitance of his supporters and once again excusing him from a questionable and vulnerable position. His web of lies remained untangled as, despite his approval rating dropping exponentially, his supporters proudly cheered for him as his inauguration approached.

Now, ever since his inauguration, possibly the stress of being president and taking office has led Trump to lie more and more, outlandishly claim that his predecessor and former President Barack Obama had him wiretapped in Trump Tower and that thousands of voters were bused across state borders to vote multiple times in widespread voter fraud, exaggerating to a petty and childish extent the size of his inauguration ceremony crowd, his electoral college victory, the time it took to assemble his cabinet, and so on and so forth. While on the surface these lies may seem insignificant to his handling of international relations and foreign policy, they represent an underlying plot that looks eerily similar to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire fell due to many reasons, but corruption within the government, economic difficulties, the succumb to overarching Christianity and overspending on the military were four major ones. In the case of corruption, it involved a lot of underhanded deals to arrange assassinations, backstabbing (literally and figuratively) and lying not just to lower governing bodies but also to Roman citizens. The closest parallel that one can draw between then and today is that the Romans began to lose trust in their government when they realized that the emperor no longer cared about the citizens and more about protecting his own life, which almost always led to some form of compromise on the governance and protection of civilians.

That is what the American Health Care Act (AHCA), and its failure, represented.

The AHCA’s introduction raised doubts — first among the Democrats, but then, slowly, the Republicans. Trump had promised even more affordable and expansive healthcare than what the Affordable Care Act already offered. Bill H.R. 1628 detailed none of that, instead covering the bare minimum, skimping on reproductive and women’s health and providing a shaky ground for those with pre-existing conditions. Soon, even the very working-class Americans that voted for Trump were rallying against the bill — they wanted an Affordable Care Act replacement, but not at the cost of less coverage. Once Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pulled the bill off the table just before the vote, it signified something important. The moment when Americans, or those who placed their blind trust and faith in Trump, realized that their utopia of benefits and positive changes that they felt had been taken away under a Democratic administration was not going surface just yet.

Slowly, more and more Republicans are pulling their support, both in Congress and out, and it will only be a matter of time before Trump is simply a shady piece of paper with questionable motives that nobody, in good conscience, wants to vote for.

Neeharika Thuravil is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year majoring in computer science and astrophysics. Her column, "Sip on Your Chai," runs on alternate Tuesdays.


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Neeharika Thuravil

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