A nation divided against itself cannot survive

The President’s words are single handedly destroying the states’ unity during the pandemic

By Miya Liu

Our country is currently living through the COVID-19 pandemic together. Regardless, we seem to be growing apart. 

Throughout America’s history, tragedies have brought the country closer together. From the Orlando nightclub shooting to the 9/11 terror attacks, the humanity in our communities is brought out through countless selfless actions. 

Unfortunately, contrary to historical patterns, this lack of humanity during this pandemic is mainly due to the leadership of our president. Trump divides the country with influential opinions, through encouraging violence by promising to pay the resulting legal fees, targeting minorities and mainly praising himself, instead of encouraging the country to build unity.

Since the start of the pandemic, Trump’s attempts to appeal to national unity amount to only a quarter of the number of times he complimented himself, according to The New York Times

This does more harm than good. Leaders in other countries no doubt rely on encouraging language to comfort their residents when facing an existential threat. It identifies the domestic virtue worth defending and mobilizes aggression against the enemy, according to The Atlantic.

Although there are many afflictions spreading across the country, Trump is tearing it apart. (Illustration by Miya Liu)

Trump famously tweeted on March 17, and other occasions, about the “Chinese Virus,” clearly dividing the Chinese racially, isolating them and promoting racism. In fact, there has been a significant increase in discrimination targeting Asian Americans caused by fear of the virus, led by Trump.

Despite the increase of xenophobia because of these comments, Trump attempts to justify his comments.

“It’s not racist at all,” he said in a White House press conference. “It comes from China, that’s why.” 

Other White House officials have also made racist references to the virus, such as calling it the “Kung Flu”

Instead of disapproving of the comment, he responded by saying the “Chinese ‘probably would agree’ with the coronavirus as the ‘Chinese’ virus.”

Trump has also created dissent between the citizens of Michigan and their governor, Gretchen Whitmer, by publicly undermining her. 

On March 17, he referred to her as the “Failing  Michigan Governor” and insulted her by saying that she was way in over her head and was blaming “everyone” for her own ineptitude, according to Trump’s tweet.

Trump even tweeted, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and undermined Whitmer’s control over her own state. 

Three days later, protesters in Lansing waved Trump flags and signs, showing their support for the president, according to ABC 57. The protestors, some armed, said their constitutional rights were being violated through the shelter in place. Trump not only continued to support them through his tweets the next day, but he also criticized Governor Whitmer, saying she should “give a little.”

Trump continued to fuel protests against the shelter-in-place orders. He tweeted “LIBERATE Minnesota,” which prompted protests the following day. He also stated that “some governors have gone too far. Some of the things that happened are maybe not so appropriate.”

After this vague statement, he specified the Virginia and Michigan government, both run by democrats. Curiously, he has given support to similar protests in Florida, Idaho and Ohio, which are all run by Republican governors.

Clearly, Trump’s words are tearing apart the nation, causing people to fear each other and also doubt the actions of their own capable leaders, leading to conflict and unrest. 

His prominent leadership role empowers people, and when he speaks against other leaders of the nation — like Governor Whitmer — he generates opposition against them, creating conflict with those who support the leaders. These conflicts grow to eventually divide the nation.

Trump has also attacked other democratic governors, like Virginia Governor Northam and New York Governor Cuomo. Trump is taking advantage of his influence to generate more support for himself from the Republican Party. Instead of promoting bipartisanship and unity during America’s vulnerable state, he is pitting the American people against each other, simply to help himself. 

To counter his actions, we will all have to put in effort and work towards a shared goal, instead of focusing on what divides us. Ignore what President Trump says, and focus on supporting those around you, through promoting unity and justice.