Throughout his presidency, former President Donald Trump created stark division, ultimately causing corruption to ripple throughout the American government. One prime example is the attack on the Capitol held on Jan. 6, 2021, where Trump had previously told those who voted for him that the election was rigged. This moment represented the influence that Trump had on far-right conservatives to the point where they physically attacked the Capitol, imposing their own view that the election was rigged, ultimately revealing how much corruption can be found within America as a whole.
Similarly, as we continue to often identify as solely anti-Trump or pro-Trump, I feel the general American public continues to forget that we can listen to one another's opinions without having to defend our own.
Trump’s indictment on April 4 created varying feelings of excitement or anger toward the question of his own innocence. Trump has been indicted for 34 counts of falsifying business records, one of which being a hush money payment to an adult film star to keep quiet about his affairs.
Not only does this news coverage put him under the spotlight once more, it exposes the larger problem of American corruption. Examples of this corruption include the inability of America’s two-sided politics to listen to one another rather than letting Trump further divide them.
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During his 2016 presidential campaign, a provocative video was leaked, in which Trump talks with his friend about the woman they are meeting. In their discussion, Trump says that as a star, he feels he can do whatever he wants with women, including kissing them whenever.
When I went to the comment section of the video, there were people stating that locker room talk is worse or that some men could be found saying much worse things. I was surprised to see all of the defenses, but part of me was also not sure what else to expect. This video brought to light the normalization of sexism within America, as he was still elected for president that year.
Not only does this reflect his ability to represent the overlooked aspect of sexism within America, but he has also proven the prevelant use of money to silence people within America with his court indictment.
As Trump continues to fade in and out of media coverage, I can only think that there is more that Trump could be hiding from us. It is well known that throughout his presidency he refused to release his tax returns. Now, with being found for financial fraud and paying hush money, he is being exposed for continuously using money for his own advantage.
Whether or not he is guilty of financial fraud doesn’t concern me as much as the idea that this man could be reelected, and even defended, with his long line of corrupted history. Trump still having a large amount of support reflects how America is headed toward a future where financial fraud and sexism will be even more accepted than they already are.
Since Trump’s presidency, I have learned about all of the different kinds of far-right extremist organizations that still hold power in America, such as the Proud Boys, Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. These groups have continuously shown their support for Trump and participated in the insurrection.
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Really, these conservative organizations are anti-government militia groups who have a long history with criminal and terroristic actions.
If it hadn’t been for Trump, I don’t think I would have paid as much attention to these groups. However, now that he has had the ability to empower these people, I think the U.S. and myself, may be realizing just how many people are still living in the past with beliefs that include things like lack of women's rights, an increase in gun rights and racism.
Trump has said that he will still run for the 2024 presidency, and I can only hope that America as a whole can pull together and look at the history of this man. His actions speak for himself, and the people who believe in him also speak to what kinds of values Trump brings out in the U.S. Overall, the future is in the hands of everyday U.S. residents. It’s up to us to decide if we will continue to look away from the corruption within our government, or finally say that enough is enough.
Carolyn Marshall is a sophomore majoring in English and media studies with a focus in digital, TV and film production.