Trump Is Part of a Global Disease

Date:

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young - RTX1KTWT
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, US, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

Donald Trump is a state of mind, a symptom of the sickness that is fast spreading around the world, from smart Western democracies to the latecomers in Asia. While Muslim countries battle the Daesh loonies with everything they have, they must push their friends and allies in the West and elsewhere to be equally firm in dealing with their own. Trump and Le Pen in the West, Zionist extremists in the Holy Land, Hindutva groups in India and Buddhist militants in Myanmar and Sri Lanka are as dangerous as Daesh. When they all feed on hatred and violence against minorities, how is the extremism of Isis different from that practiced by Christian, Hindu and Zionist extremists?

AIJAZ ZAKA SYED | Special to Caravan Daily

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he problem with political jokes is, said Henry Cate, they get elected.  Donald Trump’s endless rants would be seriously funny, if there hadn’t been a clear and present danger of him clinching the Republican nomination and ending up in the White House. The oafish real estate mogul and TV personality known for his antics in TV series, The Apprentice, makes Bush look positively humane and the very epitome of sweetness and light.

From calling for monitoring of mosques to tagging Muslims with special identity cards, like Jews in Nazi Germany, Trump has now been emboldened to demand a “total shutdown” of America for Muslims.

The Obama White House and British and French governments have swiftly rejected the demand as “cynical and divisive”. Even Trump’s Republican peers like Lindsey Graham, Speaker Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, never known for their love of Muslims, have dismissed the call as unhelpful and ‘not conservatism’.

Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson described Trump’s plan as “offensive” and one that would undermine US security by thwarting efforts to connect with the Muslim community. Fellow candidate Carly Fiorina thinks Trump is Hillary Clinton’s “Christmas gift wrapped up under a tree.” Author JK Rowling compared the brash billionaire to Voldermort, the arch villain in her Harry Potter series.

Trump’s racist rant is so in-your-face and outrageous that even Dick Cheney, the original Darth Vader, the iconic Star Wars villain, is apparently disgusted. “This goes against everything we stand for and believe in,” tweeted Bush’s Vice.

All this while Trump has been treated by many as a big joke, a Falstaffian absurdity to provide comic relief in the cutthroat battle for the most powerful office on earth.  Surely, they said, a campaign riding on an agenda of hate, vitriol and idiotic hysterics couldn’t succeed and was bound to drive away the sane, reasonable majority of voters. It was assumed that he isn’t taken seriously by his own party.

But not anymore. This is no laughing matter. The clown has now emerged as a serious contender for the White House, notwithstanding his venomous rants against the immigrants, blacks, Mexicans, women and now Muslims. With only weeks left for the first primary, he remains the Republican frontrunner, ahead of all contenders for the party nomination.  In Iowa, one of the first states to choose, he enjoys a 13-point lead.

That a racist, unhinged, xenophobic bigot with dangerous tendencies to ‘fire’ at the drop of a hat could end up in the White House by next year with the awesome power that it puts at his disposal now looks a distinct possibility. The joke is on America.

Muslims have become the favorite whipping boys of desperate politicians everywhere.  Caught between a lunatic fringe such as Isis that pretends to speak on their behalf and zealots like Trump and Le Pen in the West and Hindu and Buddhist fanatics in Asia, it is a choice between the devil and deep, blue sea. They do not know where to turn for help. The world is turning increasingly hostile to their kind – especially for those living in Western climes. 

Which says something about the corruption and degeneration of US politics in general and the Republicans, the crucial other half in the two-party system, in particular.  Over the past couple of decades and under the pernicious influence of the neocons, Zionists and assorted lobbies, the Republicans have managed to lurch further right, paving the way for twits like Trump.

No wonder Noam Chomsky thinks the GOP is no longer a normal political party; it’s a radical insurgency. What a fall for the party that was once led by greats like Lincoln!

But this isn’t just a headache of the Republican Party bosses or US voters.  Trump is a state of mind, a symptom of the sickness that is fast spreading around the world, from smart Western democracies to the latecomers in Asia. The scourge of intolerance, especially Islamophobia, is all pervasive and growing fast, from the ‘new world’ to mainland Europe and from South Asia to Southeast Asia.

Muslims have become the favorite whipping boys of desperate politicians everywhere.  Caught between a lunatic fringe such as Isis that pretends to speak on their behalf and zealots like Trump and Le Pen in the West and Hindu and Buddhist fanatics in Asia, it is a choice between the devil and deep, blue sea. They do not know where to turn for help. The world is turning increasingly hostile to their kind – especially for those living in Western climes.

This is no laughing matter. The clown has now emerged as a serious contender for the White House, notwithstanding his venomous rants against the immigrants, blacks, Mexicans, women and now Muslims. With only weeks left for the first primary, he remains the Republican frontrunner, ahead of all contenders for the party nomination.  In Iowa, one of the first states to choose, he enjoys a 13-point lead. That a racist, unhinged, xenophobic bigot with dangerous tendencies to ‘fire’ at the drop of a hat could end up in the White House by next year with the awesome power that it puts at his disposal now looks a distinct possibility. The joke is on America.

It was only to be expected, I suppose, when rabble-rousers like Trump and Le Pen have shining examples of India’s Modi whose unique selling point has been his ‘special relationship’ with Muslims. One hardly needs to go into the history of how a provincial politician grew from strength to strength and took the “leap of faith,” as it were, to capture the reins of the world’s largest democracy.

So just as Modi in the run up to the 2014 elections called for throwing out “all Bangladeshis” (read Muslims) and welcoming Hindus who migrated to foreign lands in the past couple of centuries, and just as Myanmar’s first “free and fair” elections locked the country’s Muslim minority out, Trump wants total “shutdown” of America for Muslims, including those who have been living in the country for generations.

The huckster extraordinaire knows he needs to sell the idea by qualifying it. So he’s kind enough to bar Muslims only temporarily, “until we figure out what the hell is going on.”

Muslim mourners hold candles and a sign reading 'Prayers and Love' during a candlelight vigil for mass shooting victims in San Bernardino, California, USA, 03 December 2015. EPA
Muslim mourners hold candles and a sign reading ‘Prayers and Love’ during a candlelight vigil for mass shooting victims in San Bernardino, California. EPA

What is going on is that the chaos that the repeated Western interventions and disastrous policies of successive US administrations have sowed in the Middle East all these years have come back to haunt the First World.

While everyone in the West goes ballistic about the threat of the so-called Islamic terrorism, especially since the rise of Isis, few are willing to revisit the policies of willful ignorance and criminal complicity that have given birth to it.

After all, groups like Al Qaida and Isis did not descend from the skies one fine day. No one had heard of the so-called Islamic terrorism till the end of the last century.

More important, the world cannot fight forces like Daesh by demonizing Islam and Muslims. While the gathering threat posed by Isis and other fellow travelers rightly remains a concern of governments everywhere, little attention is paid to the clear and present danger of intolerance and Islamophobia.

Trump and Le Pen in the West, Zionist extremists in the Holy Land, Hindutva groups in India and Buddhist militants in Myanmar and Sri Lanka are as dangerous as Daesh. When both feed on hatred and violence against minorities, how is the extremism of Isis different from that practiced by Christian, Hindu and Zionist extremists? They are all one and the same and speak the self-same language of intolerance and hate.

While everyone in the West goes ballistic about the threat of the so-called Islamic terrorism, especially since the rise of Isis, few are willing to revisit the policies of willful ignorance and criminal complicity that have given birth to it. After all, groups like Al Qaida and Isis did not descend from the skies one fine day. No one had heard of the so-called Islamic terrorism till the end of the last century. More important, the world cannot fight forces like Daesh by demonizing Islam and Muslims.

Xenophobia of the kind represented by Trump hasn’t grown in a vacuum. Since 9/11 attacks, there has been a surge in anti-Muslim sentiment and rhetoric across the Western world. It may have slowed down in between when America elected a black man with a Muslim father but it has always been there, just below the surface. In successive elections across Europe, politicians have successfully exploited a “Muslims-are-coming’ fear to ride home to victory.

From France’s Front National to Austria’s Freedom party and from Swedish Democrats to Denmark’s People’s Party, Muslims are a fair game for just about everyone. Incidents like the California shootings do not exactly help.

While Muslim countries battle the Daesh loonies with everything they have, they must push their friends and allies in the West and elsewhere to be equally firm in dealing with their own. Stop indulging fruitcakes like Trump. Intolerance is not cool. It doesn’t somehow become acceptable because it’s flaunted by a presidential hopeful. Hatred must be made unacceptable no matter who peddles it.

theclarionindia
theclarionindiahttps://clarionindia.net
Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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