Trump’s presidency bears a striking resemblance to an oil spill. I discovered this uncanny likeness in a recent read, where the author intended to describe the effects of this tragic disaster. Unknowingly, he illustrated the caustic results of four years under Trump’s leadership.

Trump is like an oozing barge. He floats on the surface, projecting confidence and exclaiming his worth. All the while, he stunts growth with his inadequacies and septic leakage. The fabric of our country suffocates in his wake.

When oil mixes with water during a spill, it forms a new substance that is difficult to remove. As such, the oil loses its value and becomes challenging to clean from wherever it sticks. What’s more, many species find this substance attractive, some even mistake it for food.

Trump’s rhetoric is like the toxic mousse of an oil spill, a hateful platform disguised as an enticing delicacy. His provocative words and behaviors attract a large number of people who are drawn to his promises. They shockingly consume his agenda for sustenance. His word choice permeates society with a stench of self-importance and bullying. As a result, we suffer.

Ingestion of oil causes toxins to form in the system with an effect reaching up the food chain. With Trump, we experience the seepage of these toxins as marginalization and verbal or physical attacks. Supporters may survive after absorbing his malevolence and voting him into office. However, the systemic changes will have negative impacts for generations to come.

Much like an oil spill, Trump’s term harms the human condition and the environment on a global stage. His policies and new rules deny human rights and defy the logic of climate change. From health care to immigration, this president has tainted resources and prevented our country from flourishing. Trump has proposed rollbacks to LGBTQ protections and isolated migrant children from their families. As of August 2019, the Trump administration has attempted to repeal more than 80 environmental protection rules. Equity, diversity, and the planet drown in his slick.

Our country is facing a crisis with detrimental, long-term effects. When an oil spill occurs, the associated risks of this fuel source come to the forefront; people acknowledge the related dangers. Accordingly, the public perceives a lack of control and fears the consequences. Unfortunately, Trump manages to avoid this result among his followers, thanks to a political entourage that diligently polishes the surface and plugs leaks with bubble gum deflections. While some of us live in wide-eyed dismay, too many bathe proudly in the “MAGA” muck.

Countless people work tirelessly on containment. Nonetheless, much like an oil spill, clean up will require an enormous effort. The overall cost will mean decades of dredging. Beyond fiscal, recovery must be measured in the repair of inequities, relationships and cultural tolerance.

Since 2016, Trump has maintained a façade convincing enough to persuade the public that there is no spill. He calls it “fake news.” Meanwhile, murky contamination festers beneath the surface. We cannot afford to allow continued leakage from this barge. Instead, we should insist upon the restoration of transparency and trust. With the 2020 election fast approaching, we are charged to prioritize clarity and parity. It is time to recognize that sometimes an oil slick can beguile with a rainbow, a poison disguised. And that is what we call a “fake.”

Dawn McGrath is a Salem resident and founder of Well Together Now. Find her blog at


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