donald-trump

From America first, mass deportation, racism to fascist tendencies like the ban on Muslims entering America, Trump appears to be rehashing Hitler’s Germany and thus taking America and indeed the world back to the pre-Second War era.


Though rarely applied awkwardly, there is a form of dictatorship embedded in the American brand of democracy. In one fell swoop, and with a stroke of the signature, America’s less than two week old President Donald Trump has put the whole world on high alert, pitting civilisations against one another — a throwback to the world’s ugly past during the Crusades, parts of the Renaissance, the migration to the New World to escape the oppression in Europe, and the subsequent violent suppression of indigenous Red Indians. Also, it signified a reversion to the ugliness of World War II, the persecution of Jews in some parts of Europe leading to the holocaust in Nazi Germany, and their own (the Jews) continued colonisation of the Palestinian people, all reminding us of the power of brute force and the ‘might is right’ phenomenon. The Executive Orders without recourse to the legislature, allowed by the US constitution in a president’s first month in office, confers enormous powers on the president. Power comes with responsibility, and I wonder if Trump is taking cognisance of that.

Trump had on Friday signed an executive order banning people from seven Muslim majority countries — Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya — and refugees from American soil. The backlash has been devastating. Travelers were left high and dry, some arrested, with families trapped in the mix, as spouses were unable to return to loved ones. Students, visitors and green card holders were blocked at airports in US, Istanbul, Cairo and Dubai, with the threat of sending them back the path they came from.

Suddenly the world’s number one salesman and exporter of democratic ethos, the US, is questioning its source of strength —diversity and civil liberties. It was a choice they made and so should live with it. Significantly, there is nothing wrong or new in the ban; the only snag being the timing and manner of its execution, and the fact that this appears more discriminatory and deliberately skewed against Muslims in American and those abroad. Over the years, the US had pretended about its image as a land of liberty that held out promises for all and where all dreams can become realities. People took advantage of this liberal posture, while criminally minded and misguided Muslims engage in terrorist activities.

Then came the Trump presidency. The president made his own choice of ‘rogue states’ sentimentally. He left out countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE, where the business interests of the US and her citizens are domiciled and need to be protected. Trump’s harsh policies are however not directed at some Muslim countries alone. He has been up in arms against Mexico in a grand plan to build an almost two-thousand mile wall to bar Mexicans from the US. His spat with the president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto has created a most disturbing row in the history of US-Mexican relations. For some bigoted individuals who have tied Nigeria’s peculiar religious conflicts to Trump’s war against Muslims, I wish them good luck. Trump is a bull in a China shop and he is unstoppable. Very soon it will be the turn of people of African descent and Cubans. This class of Nigerians reminds me of Martin Niemoller, a protestant pastor who was opposed to the Nazi regime, and made the now classic statement that: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionist, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”, warning that people should not be complicit through their conspiracy of silence.

While we blame Trump for his brazen acts, the Muslim world should do some introspection. What are they doing to contain all the proxy wars being fought in their countries leading to the high turn-over of refugees? The Arab countries’ ruling class needs the US as a bulwark against their draconian regimes and possible ouster. Any wonder then that with all their oil money and splendour, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt have not been magnanimous enough to take in refugees from war-torn Syria and Yemen. Therefore, blaming Trump is not enough. Arabs, Muslims and blacks should be ready to help themselves instead of seeking for sanctuaries in the US.

There have been rallies and protests in at least 30 US cities. Considering the chaos and human misery at airports all over the US, the outpouring of emotions is understandable. To the protesters, here are the plain truths: Trump never minced words when he made immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican and border issues the centre piece of his campaign promises, yet he won the hearts of Americans who voted for him. Now he’s fulfilling these promises; did they expect any less? According to the New York Times, “During the campaign, Mr. Trump successfully mined many voters’ concern about national security and fear of Muslims. He earned the votes of four out of every five white evangelical Christians, and a majority of white Catholics.”

Why did these same protesters not campaign vigorously and vote for the candidate of their choice. In a way, America’s brand of democracy is a dictatorship of the minority; what with the Executive Orders and popular votes versus Electoral College which guaranteed the victory of George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2001 and lately Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. So America may be a country of diverse cultural backgrounds, checks and balances might have helped their democracy to flourish, but there is equally something inherently authoritarian in the same system and which can be invoked anytime.

From America first, mass deportation, racism to fascist tendencies like the ban on Muslims entering America, Trump appears to be rehashing Hitler’s Germany and thus taking America and indeed the world back to the pre-Second War era.

foraminifera

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