Every single sensational sound bite and polarizing press release showcasing Donald Trump's latest racist, homophobic, xenophobic or sexist remark highlights how his beliefs cut right down through the core of the social work perspective. At times it appears that Trump may even be going so far as to carry a copy of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics and a pen in his back pocket, ensuring that he can scribble a check mark next to all of ethical principles and core values of the social work profession he has stomped on and violated for the day. With March being nationally recognized as Social Work Month, there is no time like the present to look at how some of Trump's rhetoric lines up with a few of the ethical principles that every one of the over 650,000 social workers in this country have pledged to uphold.
NASW Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice.
Trump: "I think the institution of marriage should be between a man and a woman."
NASW Ethical Principle: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.
Trump: "I would bring back waterboarding and I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding."
NASW Ethical Principle: Social workers recognize the central importance of human relationships.
Trump: "I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
NASW Ethical Principle: ALL of the above mentioned Ethical Principles.
Trump: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States..."
"Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living." - NASW Code of Ethics
As I prepare to march down the aisle in May to join the ranks of over 650,000 social workers across the nation, I can't help but find myself thinking about the responsibility that comes with that title. I think about the commitment to social justice that our profession has held near and dear in this country since the days of Jane Addams in the late 1800's. I think about the magnificent impact that all of us upholding this commitment could have in the current political climate.
As we carry on through the rest of National Social Work Month and beyond, I look forward to all social workers remembering the pledge that has been made to combat racism, homophobia, xenophobia and sexism no matter where it shows up, including in the form of a leading presidential candidate and his followers.