The US is a powerful nation, and despite its multi-ethnic and multi-religion inhabitants, over time it has evolved into a country with a sufficiently cohesive populace that drives the Union with positivity. Yes, the1990s saw the events of Ruby Ridge (1992), Waco (1993), Oklahoma City (1995), and Fort Davis, Texas (1997), and recently too, there have been racial tensions in some areas. However, across the political divide, politicians and their supporters have rejected hatemongers, especially those with religious overtones. People generally dislike divisive forces, and in this backdrop the rise of Donald Trump is nothing but an aberration.
While Trump appears to wheedle voters who are scared by actions of terrorists, it is clear that he’s treading on the settled American principle of freedom to all to practice their religion without discrimination or fear. This freedom is not a new phenomenon in US history. The US has never been at war with any religion. In the case of Muslims, its second president John Adams categorically recorded in the treaty of Tripoli signed by him: “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen.”
Trump’s ascendance is music to the ears of the so-called jihadists, be they hail from ISIS or elsewhere. It aids their propaganda through which they want the common Muslim to have the myopic vision of the world where there is a Christian bloc headed by the US working to eliminate Muslims, and these so-called jihadists waging the struggle to counter this onslaught. These extremists have so far not been able to get this deceitful message across to the common Muslims. However, people like Trump who stigmatise a religion and posture to persecute its followers unwittingly do the job for the fanatics.
Had Trump been wiser he would have fathomed by now that the past US policy of financing and assisting clerics in its war with the then Soviet Union to be the prime factor that caused the deviant and violent strain of the religion to gain political power much beyond its numbers. Yes, the Soviet Union was defeated, but the seeds of a deadly virus were profusely bred. While the USA cried victory, the religion that promoted peace and universal brotherhood was made to be seen as believing in and promoting violence. Pakistan and Afghanistan were the initial victims, while similar shortsighted policies that were later followed have put countless people in Syria, Iraq and Libya into a life of hell.
Trump’s tirades are typical of a clever opportunist leader who senses his followers’ mood, and rather than guiding them onto a just path like a true leader follows them. Trump’s is the politics of a speculator who was helped by the weaknesses in the system to build his wealth and who now plays the fear card to gain ultimate power. Forced by people, Trump has lately used the word territories instead of Muslims when he talks of restricting immigration. In an interview to Fox News Trump said, “I’m talking about territories now, People don’t want me to say Muslim. I prefer not saying it frankly, myself. So we’re talking about territories.” This statement of his proves that he is swayed by public mood and not by any principle.
Like a true capitalist Trump has tried to expand his wealth by any means possible, and has faced legal challenges for violations of federal laws. In one of these he was prosecuted for violation of the Clayton Antitrust Act on account of failing to disclose his intention of acquiring voting rights in two corporations. In that instance, Trump agreed to a consent decree where without taking of any testimony and without trial or adjudication of any issue of fact or law therein he agreed to pay the United States, pursuant to the relevant section of the Clayton Act, a civil penalty of $750,000.
In June 1975, the Trump Management Corporation reached an agreement with the government promising not to discriminate against blacks, Puerto Ricans and other minorities. The Justice Department called that agreement significant because of the “amount of affirmative relief” it provided. This followed the 1973 Justice Department federal court suit charging that the Trump concern followed racially discriminatory rental policies, violating federal laws.
In early 1990, an administrative trial began into allegations that in 1986, 1987 and 1988 Trump Plaza removed blacks and women from craps tables because officials sensed that those were a high rollers preference. The casino officials denied the charge. However, in 1992, New Jersey state appeals court upheld a $200,000 fine against the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino for removing black and female employees from tables when a high roller known for racist eruptions gambled. This proves that when a choice was to be made between money and principles money was picked. This should worry the American people. When Trump says “America First” he may actually be meaning “Trump First.”
Trump’s handling of the fallen US soldier, Humayun Khan, whom the people regard as a hero is proof that he can take up a feud without thinking of the consequences. Such social behaviour in a possible president of the US is a cause of worry all around the world. The man could potentially set off a nuclear war if such behaviour worsens. Trump is indeed a global liability and not an asset for the USA. When people make their choice they need to keep all this in mind. Ivana Trump’s deposition can be brushed away as sleaze or accusations of an estranged divorcee, but the fore-stated events should be a cause of concern.
Whether Donald Trump gets popular support or not only time will tell. However, history will judge people’s intellect with the choice they make. When small nations make a bad choice the damage is limited, but when great nations make such a choice the damage is huge. The xenophobic leaders of Europe brought great distress to countless during the Second World War. Currently, standing as the world’s sole superpower, should the people of the US make a bad choice the damage to the world would be boundless.