March 28, 2017

Trump rally reveals disconnect between message and action

By Kyeland Jackson —

Thousands gathered March 20 for President Donald Trump to rally support in the bluegrass state. His messages were good. His delivery – better. But between chants of “USA” and “build that wall,” supporters didn’t realize they were being lied to.

Trump’s policies are no stranger to anyone. Pro-American, nationalist rhetoric backs his support for policies constricting immigration, changing trade deals and bringing back American jobs.

He said coal jobs will come back. Then why did he propose slashing funding for federal programs promoting coal states like Kentucky?

Reuters reported Trump’s suggestions would cut funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, two federal programs training and retaining coal workers in Appalachia and coal counties across the U.S. ARC expects to create more than  23,000 jobs and to train and educate over 49,000 students and workers.

“Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred investments in the Appalachian Region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing and transportation,” Reuter’s website said. “These projects create thousands of new jobs; improve local water and sewer systems; increase school readiness; expand access to health care; assist local communities with strategic planning; and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses.”

Coal jobs are not sustainable – especially with the progression of clean, renewable energy. That doesn’t mean coal miners should be forgotten. The industry has funded Appalachia for generations, and it deserves equatable finances to support its workers as energy reliance changes. But with possible cuts to support for coal counties and passage of right-to-work legislation – promoting the de-funding of unions –  Trump supporters are shooting themselves in the foot.

It’s not the first time Trump’s words hid actions flying in the face of his supporters. Look at his promise to repeal Obamacare, force Mexico to pay for a wall and bring back jobs. But without critical thought into the president’s attractive words, supporters don’t even know they’re being lied to. Worse yet, they’re told the liberal media lies and leads them astray. With a rabid supporter base eager to relive a nostalgic past and quick to discredit traditional news, Trump is free to continue passage of bills and policies hurting his consumers.

Another bill promising pain for supporters and detractors alike is his tax plan and efforts to bring businesses back to America. The tax plan promises tax cuts to the middle and upper class, encouraging spending into the economy. While it sounds good on paper, independent economists anticipated the plan would cost trillions to implement. Costs for such proposed cuts would need to come from elsewhere, likely increasing taxes on food or gas. The costs would further increase with Trump’s proposal to incentivize businesses in order to keep them in America.

It’s a typical bait and switch tactic, but with broad impact on supporters and detractors alike. Regardless of ideological differences, Trump’s ideas sounded appealing during his rally. But someone who’s untrue to their word is either a coward, liar or unaware of the impact their words have. As president, his words are important. For Trump’s supporters, banking on his words to shepherd them into the nostalgic promised land, his word is all they have.

Whether it’s through more critical processing or more caution, something has to change. For the benefit of news reporters, it will mean more transparency from the federal government. For his supporters, it means realizing his promises were not kept. In fact, those promises were used against them.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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