Dear Donald
Dear Donald

Dear Donald, Your Presidency is Reminiscent to "The Handmaid’s Tale"...and That's Bad

Why does the presidency resemble a dystopian novel/television show?

Dear Donald, Your Presidency is Reminiscent to "The Handmaid’s Tale"...and That's Bad

Dear Donald,

I was never interested in what you had to say when you were campaigning for the presidency. Until this year, I never considered myself a person who was interested in politics. I had causes that I believed in, and I had opinions about those in office, but I never really paid too much attention...until now.

I guess I should thank you for bringing my attention to all the hate and prejudiced people in this country, because I did not not know the scale of this issue before. Your rhetoric has encouraged all the racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, and sexist members of our society to reveal their true colors. It has opened my eyes to the harsh reality of what the world can be these days - a hateful place.

It is your presidency that is now making me fear for the loss of my rights, and ones that I did not know could be brought into question. Recently I have been watching the television series, The Handmaid's Tale, released on Hulu. The show, based on the 1985 novel written by Margaret Atwood, tells a fictional story of America's future - a toxic environment that leaves many infertile, and poses the issue of underpopulation. Women are forced to stop working, have their bank accounts frozen, and are kidnapped and forced into a form of slavery if they have the ability to bear children. Rich and powerful couples who cannot conceive take in a handmaid (one of the fertile women), whose job it is to have a baby for them. Now while we definitely do not have an underpopulation issue right now, there are aspects of the tale that seem to be a potential possibility.

The Environment is in Danger

Firstly, our environment is under distress. Mr. President, climate change has been proven by scientists time and time again, and yet you still disregard it as a major issue. You pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, sending the message that you essentially plan to undo all that previous legislators have done to limit the effects of global warming. It is possible, and likely, that climate change will negatively impact the health of humans. Many regions are already feeling its effects.

Taking Away the Rights of Women

In The Handmaid's Tale, the government takes away women's rights gradually at first, and then all at once. Male leaders in the show claim that women have become too highly educated and that they have strayed from their so-called original purpose: reproduction. This reminded me of your opposition to abortion, and your push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provides full coverage for contraception methods. The society portrayed in the show highly discourages female sexuality and having sex for non-reproductive purposes. It would appear that you too sympathize with this notion. Why else would you want to prevent women from receiving birth control or terminating their pregnancies? As a woman, I feel personally victimized by the way you speak about other women, too. You use foul language and refer to us as if we are sub-human, just like characters in The Handmaid's Tale.

Homosexuality as a Sin

Your contradictory and hurtful messages about homosexuality additionally parallel the TV show. You claim to not discriminate against gay individuals, yet you openly oppose marriage equality. Along the same grain of eliminating non-reproductive sex, The Handmaid's Tale strictly prohibits homosexual relations. Members of the society are forced to focus on repopulation, despite how they sexually identify. If you encourage building a society that does not support homosexuality, you are similar to the totalitarian government in the novel and TV show.

A National Religion

The religious overtones of the show also parallel the religious persecution that you have encouraged during your presidency thus far, Mr. Trump. Your since-declined Immigration Ban, a poorly veiled piece of anti-Muslim legislation, goes directly against the US's fundamental ideal: the separation of church and state. Your order sought to prevent people from entering the US from predominantly Muslim countries. Newsflash: the United States does not have a national religion. The Handmaid's Tale depicts a nation overwhelmed by religion, where the Lord is referenced in every greeting between people, and prayers are said in a ceremony preceding conception. Mr. Trump, are you and your associates trying to convert the United States to one religion? By limiting one religion due to personal bias, you are moving in that direction.

Where Does This Leave Us?

Some of this might seem a little far-fetched, but that is because the story of The Handmaid's Tale is not meant to be realistic. My claims are far from perfect, and none of these issues are black and white. However, I do think it could serve as a wake up call for your administration. The way you treat women and minorities is not acceptable. Continuing to use hateful language will further encourage people to be discriminatory. I disagree with your political ideology, Mr. President, but furthermore I abhor the way you treat the Earth and the people you are supposed to be representing. I fear a future United States where human rights are limited as if we were living in a dystopian novel or TV show. Please do not bring us to that place.

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Madeline Basirico

When she's not interning, Maddie loves eating food, going to the beach, and looking at pictures of dogs wearing people clothes.

See all posts by Madeline Basirico