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Soundtracking the Resistance - One Year On

The Anniversary of the Trump Election and a Very Short List of His Accomplishments Since

Nov 10, 2017 CHVRCHES Bookmark and Share

We’ve had a year of a world in which America elected Donald Trump to run the country, so we’re talking about the anniversary this week, while also catching up on local elections, gun control, and repression outside Trump’s America.

The Big Event

This time last year, a good proportion of America, and many of those watching, were reeling from the unexpected failure to smash glass ceilings. It seemed the hopey change thing now lay with the Republicans, or at least whatever it was Donald J. Trump was offering disaffected voters across the country.

Arguments over electoral college and popular vote margins were beginning to take off, and many on both sides remained in general disbelief, but the one thing that seemed clear back then was that nothing seemed particularly clear. Just what a man as unpredictable as Trump might do in power was anyone’s guess. What’s hard to tell now is if it’s still anyone’s guess. There’s a pattern to the madness after all.

If Trump’s presidency to date is marked by one thing, it’s bluster. That’s not to say bluster isn’t important, because when you are the president, words matter. Anyone and everyone has come in for a bashing on Twitter. Given the aggressive tone of much of his tweeting, there have been calls to ban Trump’s account. The social media company would probably fold without him, so there’s little chance of that happening.

Aside from the reality TV show elements of his first year, what has Trump actually done though? There’s an unpleasant list that we’ll briefly run through, by no means exhaustive in all the awfulness involved. So far the 45th Commander in Chief has withdrawn from trade deals and climate change agreements, proposed bans on transgender Americans serving in the military, stoked nuclear war, belittled allies and snuggled up to enemies (we’re looking at you Russia), fired the FBI boss for spurious reasons, attempted to hire a collection of unqualified figures to government positions and then watched many of his hires step down, some mired in scandal, failed to distance himself from white supremacists, picked fights with the London Mayor in the aftermath of terror attacks, had a stab at tearing down the structures of Obamacare, and continued his odd grappling with Gold Star families.

By no means is that complete, but it paints a picture. The achievements column is substantially thinner. Neil Gorsuch has been appointed to the Supreme Court. That’s about it really. A large number of new regulations are being held back, and Trump continues to thrash around in an attempt to destroy anything Obama did. Legislative accomplishments don’t look so rosy though. Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act keep floundering, the immigration ban is held up in courts before it can become anything, and DACA has been attacked with nothing lined up. Tax reform looks like being the big one, and maybe the only one so far, and that hasn’t yet passed.

Trump remains a deeply unpopular president, and election results this week suggest the Republican Party might pay a price for chaining itself to him. It means the next year will probably bring more of the same, but unless the administration can start landing some successes soon, diminishing returns are likely to follow. Legislative achievements will become even harder, and the bluster will increase.

And the protests are going to continue. We can be fairly sure on that last part. Our little corner of the world has seen many figures in the music industry rise up in defiance of a president and a collection of values they despise, calling for something better instead. Some of them are established artists like Mavis Staples and Superchunk, featured above, others are new to the game. We’ve been featuring a selection over the past months, and we’ll continue to do so, because it’s not going away.

What’s Going On

We alluded to election results above. Those elections saw the Democrats comfortably hold onto the Governor’s Office in Virginia, seize it back in New Jersey, and sweep a large number of down ballot races. It’s even possible the Virginia House of Delegates will turn blue. At the start of the night on Tuesday, they needed to gain an implausible 17 seats in the 100-seat body. Having already secured 49, including victory for Danica Roem, the first openly transgender elected official in the state’s history, we await recounts in three seats. Trump came out quickly to blast the Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia for not embracing him fully, but it’s very possible he was the drag. Positive signs for the anti-Trump camp are here at least.

Over in Alabama, a Senate seat election is coming to find Jeff Sessions’ replacement. After an internal battle, the Republican Party ended up with Roy Moore as its candidate, against the wishes of Trump. He now finds himself embroiled in sexual misconduct allegations with claims he initiated a sexual encounter with an underage teenager decades back when he was 32. He denies it, of course.

More shootings last weekend as a man in Sutherland Springs, Texas killed 26 people in a church. The most shocking thing about these mass killings is how unshocking they’ve come to feel. The regularity with which shootings pile up in the news is deeply disturbing. Nowadays a mere handful of deaths doesn’t really count as news. Despite this, nothing ever seems to be done to stop it happening again.

Speak Up!

Lauren Mayberry, who fronts Scottish electro-pop band CHVRCHES, is clearly sick of the lack of action on gun crime. She posted a video on her Twitter account calling out Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and other U.S. politicians for taking no meaningful action following the recent church shootings. Mayberry comes from Dunblane in Scotland, a town that saw the deadliest mass shooting in British history in 1996 with 17 killed at an elementary school. Stricter gun controls were imposed in the U.K. afterwards.

In August The Domestics got themselves in trouble with an ill-thought through Trump-themed publicity stunt for their new record. It involved sending out tapes labeled “Trump/Comey Recordings” with return addresses for the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church. The duo is now releasing the album with the Southern Poverty Law Center. The latter will receive 50% of the profits.

We’re straying slightly from the music world here for the documentary 11/8/16 which followed people across the country and across party lines to gather views during the election last November. The documentary is out now, and a video has been released catching up with some of the participants to gather their views now they’ve had a year of Trump.

Song of the Week: Pussy Riot - “Police State”

Russian band Pussy Riot made clear their concerns over the authoritarian direction the world is turning when they highlighted the detention of a Ukrainian film director with a recent protest outside Trump Tower.

Their new video takes its cue from this message and comes around the centenary of the Russian Revolution which toppled the Tsarist state and ushered in the Soviet Union, changing the shape of world history. In amongst various commemorative events, Pussy Riot has released a video for “Police State” starring Chloë Sevigny. The song plays as an attack on the kind of autocratic rulers now running Russia today, and the video features Sevigny wielding a police baton to put down protestors.

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