Donald Trump: An International Problem

If you are American you should be ashamed. Successful politicians have long been said to stand for whatever other people will fall for. But the American people seem to be falling for a lot.

A Dark Past

It is difficult to see what makes Trump particular adept at politics. For a man who is interested in money only insofar as it helps him to “keep track” of the “game”, he seems to has tarred himself with a series of dubious brushes. There are three vital parts to his character that I want to deconstruct.

1. Morality

Trump’s involvement with ACN is something that has been buried. Here is a link to his role in the company’s promotional video. But it should have been one of the first flags that warned as to the frightening lack of morality that the man exhibits.

ACN is a telecommunications company. It conducts sales through independent business owners (IBOs). But the company has been mired in multiple scandals. Take Trump’s promotion of the ACN video phone. At the same time as he was promoting it, the lack of compatibility with other phones meant that the company had had to slash orders. It was a flop. This was never brought up in Trump’s promotional video. It seems difficult to square with his reputation as a straight talker.

In general, this brings one to doubt his business ability. Attention should be drawn to the fact that Trump would be richer today if he had retired 30 years ago and simply invested his money.

2. Discriminatory

Trump’s ambition to build a wall across the South of the US is one that belongs to the 2nd century before the Christian era, in China, not an enlightened 21st century democracy.  Firstly, the Chinese built it in an effort to stop invasion. Mexicans today are not invading America – they are crossing for socio-political reasons. Secondly, Trump’s blanket statements that the individuals coming from Mexico are “bringing crime. They’re rapists” fails to capture the diversity of problems that are pushing Mexicans into America. This effectively stops solutions from being adopted.

It is representative of someone who fails to see the bigger picture.

3. Religious

Following recent comments about the way in which he would deal with Muslims (i.e. banning them from the USA), outrage has flooded traditional and new media. It is a point of historical note that there is a deep irony in Trump’s comments. Muslims dragged to the America were forced to convert in Christianity during the 18th and 18th century; but now that they could freely enter they are deterred. It seems completely at odds with the vaunted principles of the American constitutionalism.

Trump is just wrong. Most pertinent to this article is his erroneous understanding of the Muslim demographic in the USA.  Trump’s Muslim fetish seems to blind him to the real situation. For example, only 20% of all Muslim’s in the world live in the Middle East/North Africa area. By far the majority therefore, live in other areas. 62% of all Muslims live in the Asia Pacific region. Only around 1%  of American adults are Muslim.

Why should this matter?

Of course, at first glance, the opening of this article might see to be distinctly unfair – that every American is tarred with the same brush as the Trump supporter. But this criticism, fails to appreciate the way in which politics is linked to society. As an Italian, I felt an acute shame at both the actions and the re-election of Mr. Silvio Berlusconi. The reason I felt this shame was not that I had supported him and he was now betraying my trust.  No, my shame resulted from the fact that I was part of a society that was so broken that it would turn to a grand-standing figure as its saviour. I felt I had a duty to correct this. And I know feel the same duty to write this article.

Amusement is the wrong reaction. Firstly, it hides an awful truth. These individuals are much closer to power than they appear to be. No one now needs reminding of Berlusconi’s reign. And the latest polling shows that Trump is leading the Republican nomination race. The odds on his winning the presidential race seem scarily high, when compared to others. The approach taken by the UK, to ask to ban Donald Trump from their territory  is incredibly popular. It is not legally impossible to ban someone from the UK. Whilst there are problems with this approach, it certainly takes ‘Trumpania’ seriously. And there is much to commend a more serious reaction.

Personally, I cannot decided whether Trump is merely blissfully ignorant or wilfully misleading. What I do see, however, is that the amusement which is derived from his antics this side of the Atlantic is dangerous, much like I found the amusement in British newspapers regarding Berlusconi as dangerous. Governments should be willing to crack down on political grandstanding because cult figures can have all too dangerous consequences.

Elaboration would require a thorough historical analysis. But it is indubitable that all those who have risen to power on the back of speeches of hatred have been retrospectively condemned. McCarthyism, in its original narrow sense, referred to the practice of spreading a campaign of fear against communists  in America. Look how that turned out. And this is not the first analogy drawn between the treatment of the ‘other’ then, and now. Haynes Johnson compared the abuses “suffered by aliens thrown into high security U.S. prisons in the wake of 9/11” (J. Haynes, The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism. [2005] Harcourt. p. 471.ISBN 0-15-101062-5) to the period in which McCarthy held dominance. Let us not forget that Mr.Jospeh McCarthy was backed by popular support: a Gallup poll found that 50% of Americans favoured McCarhty’s approach.

I am just as worried by an America where it is Donald Trump’s hand which is in the nuclear cookie jar, as I am by a terrorist militant death cult which is targeting the countries in which I live.

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