Muftic: Watching the Chicago rally: is this the kind of country we want?
March 17, 2016
In watching the violent Donald Trump rally in Chicago March 11, I ask myself, if this is the kind of country we want or a leader who gins up the anger and racism that was manifested in the clash. Will this be the hallmark of four years of a Trump presidency?
The person who has laid the groundwork for such incidents is Trump himself, by painting entire bodies of minorities with the brush of a fewer bad apples. Trump has also made an issue of being against political correctness. What that means is that he has given the go ahead to be openly racist and uncivil to others that are not like his supporters. .For him to expect that there would not be a backlash is either naive or calculating.
There have been those throughout history like Trump who exploited anger to gain political support, scapegoated ethnic, racial and religious groups to blame for their troubles, and who incited violence against those who protested. This kind of a campaign conducted by Trump is becoming daily more worthy of comparisons with the rise in Europe in the 1930's of such strongmen. We as voters still have the ability to stop this at the ballot box.
Both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were eloquent in their condemnation of Donald Trump's exhortation to his followers to punch protestors in the nose and condoning other such violent actions. John Kasich was his usual reasonable adult self in his criticism. Of course both Rubio and Cruz had to insert a brief comment that, while Trump himself was the major contributor to such confrontations because of his rhetoric, somehow or other Pres. Obama was a bit guilty, too, alluding vaguely to conducting class warfare. For that I am scratching my head. I fail to see the connection, other than Obama is just being who he is, the first Black president of the United States and a Democrat who has traditionally looked out for the underdog. I will take these brief comments as simply a placating bone tossed to their constituents to make clear theirs is still a partisan race..
The irony of it is that President Obama's job approval has risen to 50% favorability from 47% in the past three years according to a recent Gallup poll, and the pollster's speculation is because in contrast with the candidate field, he looks pretty good to voters. That, by the way, is on par with the polls of President Reagan when he left office. That is not bad for a president whose opponents have called a failure or a divisive figure.
A comment disconnected from reality made by Donald Trump in the GOP debate March 10 was that President Obama was so weak, America was the laughing stock of the world. A recent Pew Research Poll of world opinions found something else. "Globally, Obama's image is mostly positive. Across the 40 countries polled, a median of 65% say they have confidence in Obama to do the right thing in world affairs" and he polled higher than his predecessors.
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The US is not being laughed at but world reaction has been one of shock and disappointment at the tone of the Trump campaign inciting hate, fear and disrespect of nearly everyone who is a minority, from Hispanics and Muslims, and African Americans. For a review, visit http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/28/opinions/presidential-election-international-views-roundup/. This is not the America that has before this set the standard of civil democratic behavior world wide. Shame on us if we do not stop this kind of campaign.
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