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LETTER: New presidency is indicative of turbulent times

In its first days, President Donald J. Trump's administration has been in a rush to change many of their campaign promises into executive orders. Be it the revival of the Keystone XL Project and the Dakota Access Pipeline, or the multi-pronged anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim directives, these orders are causing many to become fearful and anxious. While the political climate toward the end of former President Barack Obama's administration was extremely divisive, no one could predict such a hurried change of direction for the nation. Instead of attempting to unite the country during these turbulent times, the new president not only continues his hate-filled rhetoric that garnered him such vast populist support during the election but is now acting upon it, giving us an ominous and dark picture of the days to come.

But in contrast to the gloomy aura radiating from the White House, we are seeing unprecedented coalitions of once-divergent groups coming together to combat the forces of rancor. The very next day after the presidential inauguration, millions came out onto the street to express their disapproval of the new administration’s policies. The Women’s March on Washington was nearly all-encompassing — black, white, Hispanic, Jewish people, Muslim people, Christian people and other groups were all well-represented. Similarly, large protests are continuously taking place throughout the United States, to an extent unseen since the Civil Rights Movement. For the first time in decades, the American opposition is now being lead from the grassroots instead of the politicians in Washington.

Nonetheless, it seems that this nation is heading toward an extraordinary clash — a clash that pits the American majority who did not vote for Trump against his near-unanimous control of the federal government. While the day is still young, it remains to be seen whether the lawmakers and enforcers win this fight or if the common people will prevail. However, Dr. Martin Luthur King Jr’s exhortation that "one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws," may, in fact, be a forecast for what is to come.

Shabbir Abbas is a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies.

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