Donald Trump’s call for a ban on all Muslims entering this country runs contrary to what America stands for.
His latest braying about the evils of Muslims is pushing the envelope even beyond the limits of previous Trump-isms. And just when you think he can go no further, he does.
In a presidential election season, this has to be one of history’s all-time lows. What Trump is talking about has all the markings of McCarthyism. In a sane year, it would mark the end of his campaign.
Maybe it’s his poll numbers slipping just behind presidential hopeful Ted Cruz? Trump’s call for the United States to bar all Muslims from entering the country until this nation’s leaders can “figure out what is going on” following the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., is simple grandstanding and pandering to his base.
Without a doubt, this country must be smart about immigration. The troubling events surrounding the mass shooting in San Bernardino by a couple who had drawn an allegiance to the Islamic State has to be probed and dissected. The husband was born here. His wife was from Pakistan and arrived in this country under a K-1 (fiancée) visa. President Obama has called for greater scrutiny of travelers coming to this country without visas.
What Trump is talking about goes directly against the president’s statement: “We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam.”
This is exactly what Trump is doing in ginning up the deepest, darkest instinct of mankind to retreat and shut all others out. It’s a misguided and manipulative way to go about salving the fear and concern over terrorist threats. Never mind that there have been other mass shootings unconnected to terrorism and that one just occurred at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood.
Both Republican and Democratic presidential rivals criticized Trump for this miserable proposal, some severely. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said it proved Trump should not be president, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio called it “outrageous divisiveness” and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said his rival “had finally lost it.” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, “Trump is a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot.”
But perhaps the most telling criticism has come from far-right conservatives. Even former Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking to the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, said, “Well, I think this whole notion that somehow we need to say no more Muslims and just ban a whole religion goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean religious freedom’s been a very important part of our history and where we came from.”
Trump is tapping into something, and maybe that is some Americans’ desire to do something – anything – about what they perceive as the growing terrorist threat. Consider that gun sales increased dramatically following recent terror attacks. Since Obama’s speech, gun company stock prices have risen, no doubt because of the pervasive, but false, belief that this president would try to take away people’s guns.
It didn’t happen. Obama has called for rational gun laws that keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill and those on the terrorist watch list. He hasn’t been able to get any traction from an intractable Republican House majority.
Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country has stirred anger among many, but there are those who think it is a reasonable idea, even if some lawyers have said it would be challenged as unconstitutional. But among the candidate’s desperate supporters the idea plays. Big.
America was built on religious freedom. Trump would savage one of the country’s founding precepts and brand an entire religion as suspect. It’s revolting.