It’s no secret that one of the unifying motivators for Trump and his administration is a hatred for former President Barack Obama. The evidence of this hatred, from the chief on down, is overwhelming, dates back many years and is also still growing today. It’s only natural to ask whether or not it’s that same hatred behind Trump’s decision to repeal the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Someone in defense of Trump might say, mapping out a best case scenario, that he regretted his intentions (or gave into pressure from the majority of Americans) and is trying to make amends for that by giving Congress a chance to save it. Unfortunately, there are early signs that Congress won’t preserve DACA, and I suspect there’s a deeper motivation that, if true, reveals an even deeper level of this irrational hatred which could alter our country in a way that has barely been speculated on thus far.
I first heard of DACA’s impending demise through a Facebook friend, who speculated early on that as time progresses that Trump — with a GOP controlled Senate potentially giving him another Supreme Court Justice— could make a move to challenge birthright citizenship in the Fourteenth Amendment.
This would fall perfectly in line with the current political and cultural war engaged by Trump and his not-so silent partners in the the alt-right. The Fourteenth Amendment is responsible for monumental decisions in cases regarding segregation, abortion and same sex marriage (I call it the Republican trifecta of old grudges). Most importantly, this is the amendment which allowed Barack Obama to be America’s forty-fourth President for two terms, something his opponents still can’t countenance today.
The idea of repealing the Fourteenth Amendment was brought up a couple of years ago in a publication with less than three degrees of separation to Trump. More recently, it was brought up again in a Fox News editorial. It’s a fantasy that’s not going away anytime soon.
Essentially, if they can’t dismiss Obama’s legacy and they can’t disprove he’s an American citizen, they’ll just de-legitimize his legacy retroactively. Moving forward, they’ll be able to dismiss his presidency as a mistake, something that never should have happened.
When you welcome perspectives of people outside America (and not just the billionaires that run everything), you have the potential to bring different ideas into this country’s public forum. Those ideas can have a longer-lasting effect than some world leaders. Obama, being born to a Kenyan man on land colonized by the United States less than a century ago, undoubtedly brought to the White House an outlook that contributed to many people’s almost xenophobic reaction to him.
When the Hawaii courts began giving Trump a hard time — a hard time that continues to this day — I made the snarky comment on Facebook that maybe America should stop colonizing territories like Hawaii. Trump may not see the irony of Hawaii being the moral standing ground for Trump’s anti-immigration policy (as well as the birthplace of the one man he could never beat), but he understands the threat of outside perspectives to his way of life.
While it’s easy to elevate Obama to the level of savior when comparing him to who he followed and who now follows him, it’s also easy to argue that his biggest Legacy was the contribution of progressive ideas into today’s society. Ideas on race and gender equality to name the most obvious. Ideas that many in our youngest generation see as givens and/or have taken up as banners in a variety of social crusades.
These ideas continue to inconvenience people such as Trump’s loyal voting base. Then there are the many politicians who opposed progressive ideas such as gay marriage and today seem forced to concede the fight, for now.
This hypothetical agenda, if true, would go along with Trumps ideas on trade. He is not only trying to impede the export of goods into this country. He also wants to hold the export of ideas. Given the growth of America as a nation through outside contributions, the loss from any successful stoppage would be incalculable.
Photograph by Chad Parenteau
If alterning the 14th amendment is one of Trump’s many end goals, it will say more about his psyche than any of the numerous speculation pieces. It will speak of his immense hatred for Obama, whose only perceived slight against him was not lowering himself to a troll battle on Twitter. He will not just “win” the fight. He will scorch Earth the life work of Obama and countless others. He will salt the Earth regardless of who has to live on it for however many generations we have left.🔷