It’s up to us as citizens to pull the country back from the edge of Trump’s disaster

Haberman-Hardy-It’s been a year — a long year, especially for LGBTQ folk — since Trump was inaugurated, and so far, his record is even bleaker than I expected.

I doubt if anyone but a Log Cabin Republican could forget the scene at one of Trump’s rallies where he held up a hastily-defaced rainbow flag bearing the words “LGBTs for Trump.” I cannot imagine those handful of deluded sycophants could look at his record and not wish that their Magic Marker had run out of ink.

The Human Rights Campaign pulled together a list of Trump’s greatest hits against LGBTQ Americans. Foremost among them is the creation of a division in the Civil Rights section of the Department of Health and Human Services cynically titled the

“Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.” Most likely, this sham is designed to defend medical personnel who object to treating LGBTQ patients for everything from HIV to gender reassignment.

In other words, it’s open season on “the gays.”

Trump has failed to appoint a director to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. Couple that with his ham-fisted attempts to defund the Affordable Care Act, and it leaves many with HIV/AIDS without anyplace to turn for help and healthcare.

He gutted the State Department’s policy on LGBT rights, and by doing so, he tacitly encouraged places like Chechnya and Indonesia to unleash monstrous campaigns of oppression and murder against their LGBTQ citizens without fear of consequence.

Trump has even reportedly ordered the Centers for Disease Control to stop using words like “diversity,” “transgender,” “science-based” and even “fetus!” Guess we are restricted to only fourth grade vocabulary when referring to epidemics and other health issues?

And did I mention his appointment of Jeff Sessions, a virulent homophobe, as our U.S. attorney general? Or the appointment to the Supreme Court of another right-wing ideologue, Neil M. Gorsuch?

Now considering this litany, hark back to that Colorado rally where he held up that flag and ask yourself: What were those people thinking?

My answer is most likely not going to win me any friends, but here it is:

Trump is not so much a great deal maker as he is a fortune teller. He lures customers into his tent with all the trappings of a Cassandra. He gives the appearance of someone who is successful and thus, by inference, knows what he is doing.

He must have some kind of abilities; after all, he has a crystal ball and all the other trappings of someone who can see and influence the future.

He tells his followers not what is true but what they want to hear. He feeds into their aspirations and hopes and becomes the answer to their problems.

Feeling like your jobs have been stolen from you? Trump will bring them back, as if by magic.

Feeling like what used to be your secure position in society by mere virtue of your pale skin is threatened? Trump will defend you and “Make America Great Again” by subjugating or getting rid of any people of color who threaten that.

Feeling like your authority as a man is somehow threatened by equal treatment of women? Trump understands and will keep those pesky women in their place.

Feeling like politicians don’t care about LGBT people? Trump does! Look at that flag he’s waving!

Now a year later, most of the country has figured out it’s all a con job. Even those alleged “LGBTs for Trump” have most likely woken up and smelled the Magic Marker.

Trump is a world-class fraud, and no matter what he promised, he will deliver only what is good for Trump. He is incapable of caring about anyone but himself, and that means LGBTQ people and all minorities are expendable pawns in his self-serving game.

It’s time we stopped believing he will change, and it’s time we stopped believing the politicians who seem content to go along with his madness just to stay in power. Unless the House of Representatives gets serious about impeachment, ordinary Americans will have to be the ones to change things.

That means we MUST do more than gripe to friends on social media. We MUST do more than attend a march and wave signs.

We MUST get off our collective asses and go out and work for progressive candidates.

We MUST open our checkbooks and contribute to candidate campaigns. We MUST get involved and learn where candidates stand on issues and hold them accountable when they are elected.

It’s time we stopped scribbling our aspirations on flags and started seeing the world as it is. Our country is in dire straits, controlled by liars and grifters. We MUST use the only tool at our disposal: Our vote.

We must vote and get all our friends and relatives to vote. And remember this wisdom my grandfather, a Roosevelt Democrat, used to tell me: “If you ever touch that Republican lever, it will burn your hand!”

The next flag I want to see waving is the one signaling Trump’s surrender.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a board member of the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at