While you were relaxing on the beach this weekend, taking flicks on whatever new floaty thing is fashionable this summer, and getting that much needed base tan, the Trump administration initiated plans to roll back civil rights agencies and protections across the board, as part of the administration’s 2018 budget plan.
The plan would effectively eliminate the Office of Federal Compliance Programs (OFCCP) a government agency that’s stated mission is to,
“Protect workers, promote diversity and enforce the law. OFCCP holds those who do business with the federal government—contractors and subcontractors—responsible for complying with the legal requirement to take affirmative action and not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.”
The OFCCP ensures that government agencies don’t discriminate against people for any reason based on prejudice. By folding the OFCCP into another agency, the Trump administration is rendering it basically ineffective, unable to perform the duties that the agency was set up to perform.
This is a step in line with many of Trump’s budget cuts, which unfairly target minorities and the poor, through systematic restructuring, flat out elimination of protections for the vulnerable, or installing heads of departments that actively oppose the agency’s core ideas, all in an attempt to run those agencies into the ground.
Take the EPA, for instance.
Trump named Scott Pruitt, a Republican from Oklahoma, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
It is in Pruitt’s best interests, or at least his pockets’ best interests, to ensure that the EPA has an anti-environmental philosophy, removing all shackles on the oil industry so they can freely pollute and drill wherever, however, and whenever they want to.
Pruitt and his gaggle of moneyed oilmen, now in charge of protecting the environment, also plan to eliminate the EPA’s environmental justice program, which, according to the Washington Post,
“Addresses pollution that poses health threats specifically concentrated in minority communities. The program, in part, offers money and technical help to residents who are confronted with local hazards such as leaking oil tanks or emissions from chemical plants.”
Trump is eliminating the part of the EPA that protects low-income or minority areas from natural disasters or ‘local hazards’.
There’s so much more.
The Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights would also see massive staffing cuts, to the point of making the agency basically ineffective.
Again, from the Washington Post,
“Administration officials acknowledge in budget documents that the civil rights office will have to scale back the number of investigations it conducts and limit travel to school districts to carry out its work.”
This step would basically drive the Office of Civil Rights straight into the ground, the department would simply be unable to carry out its duties and investigate when actually called upon.
There’s also an active and direct campaign by the Trump administration to curtail any efforts for LBGT protections made during Obama’s presidency.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, headed by Ben Carson, who claims that gay marriage leads to bestiality and pedophilia, is attempting to eliminate a rule that allows homeless or displaced transgender people to select sex-segregated shelters of their own choosing.
And of course there’s little Jeff Sessions, a very pathetic old man that has made a career off stripping people of their basic civil rights. Sessions, now the head of the United States Justice Department, once ‘joked’ that the Ku Klux Klan “was O.K. until I found out they smoked pot,” is leading an effort to ensure that police have full reign with zero accountability and take away protections from the people that need them most.
Sessions wants to review the already agreed police reforms ordered under Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
Sessions also joined up with the Department of Education to remove guidelines protecting transgender students using bathrooms of the gender that they identify with.
This long list of changes, cuts, or eliminations demonstrate a classic Trumpian philosophy. Quite simply, you can’t have any civil rights violations if you don’t have anyone to investigate them.
By making appointments like Scott Pruitt, whose entire political career has been bankrolled by the oil industry, as head of the EPA, Betsy Devos, who thinks you need to arm school teachers because of… bears (?) as head of the Education Department, and Jeff Sessions, who doesn’t believe in justice, as head of the Justice Department, Trump wants to basically make the federal government useless.
These kinds of appointments exist at every level, too. The acting head of the civil rights office of the Department of Education is a woman named Candice E. Jackson. Jackson has railed against affirmative action and claims that specific initiatives taken up to make student bodies more diverse don’t take into account, “the very real prices paid by individual people who end up injured by affirmative action.”
It’s an entire cabinet made up of incompetent, rich, old, racist white people, but that’s what y’all voted for.
If these cuts do happen and this budget is passed, the most vulnerable people in the country will be hurt the most.
To Trump, these civil rights protections are the kind of bad, wasteful programs that must be eliminated so we can slash taxes on millionaires and billionaires and boost our military to continue the never-ending war on terror and bomb civilians in the Middle East.
Steve Bannon, the devil on Trump’s shoulder, anti-semite, wife beater, alcoholic, and architect of Trump’s most draconian ideas, said back in February that all the administrative appointments were aimed at the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” so it’s not like they didn’t tell us what they were going to do.
But the Trump administration maintains they give a shit about anyone outside the 1%.
The Post quotes White House spokeswoman Kelly Love saying in a statement,
“The Trump administration has an unwavering commitment to the civil rights of all Americans.”
As all things with the Trump administration, these cuts are all more actively evil under a microscope.
Amidst the utter insanity of the Russia investigation, Trump’s weird treatment of our closest allies, sudden embrace of Saudi Kings, and unhinged tweetstorms, there is real damage being done and important initiatives being undone in order to remove civil rights protections for the most vulnerable people in our crumbling republic.
All in the name of cutting taxes for the wealthy.