Trump and Americans’ trauma
When people make bad decisions, weird remarks or just plain silly mistakes, the results are sure to haunt them. But when these things happen to the president of the US, they can change the course of history.
The US faces a critical time now: the country is at the mercy of a septuagenarian who doesn’t have even a smattering of statesmanship; a ‘big liar’, who lies about statistics (like the unemployment rate and the crime rate) and who lies about foreign policy (he said President Obama is “the founder of ISIS”).
He’s an ‘unproductive narcissist’ who keeps bragging about his wealth and business acumen often exaggerating his accomplishments.
Since being sworn in January 20, Trump has been named in 52 federal cases in 17 different states, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Comparatively, Barack Obama was named in three and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were each named in four cases between January 20 and February 1.
Had Richard Hoftstadter (known for the 1948 classic The American Political Tradition and the men who made it) been alive, I wonder how he’d react to Trump’s idiocies.
Trump has found himself in the Oval Office through sheer money power (thanks to the system that the US follows in electing presidents).
Seventy-four per cent of Americans want Trump to publicly release his often promised tax returns. Even there are serious questions about his conflicts of interest, and whether the Russians have undue influence over this administration.
Walter Shaub, the nonpartisan director of the federal Office of Government Ethics, has said that Trump’s conflicts of interest have put democracy at risk with decades of tradition.
Trump says he plans to return to his company after presidency. Ethics experts have contended that the only real solution is a blind trust: Trump should sell his properties and allow someone else to invest the proceeds from the sale so that he doesn’t know what he owns. Trump’s lawyer says a blind trust would essentially be too difficult and expensive, since it would require Trump to sell large amounts of real estate.
It’s hard times for the US, especially those who has made the US their homes!
Homeland security secretary John Kelly’s “deportation force” has turned sensible immigration policies upside down and backward. For how they seek to make the deportation machinery more extreme and frightening (and expensive), to the detriment of deeply held American values.
The Obama administration recognized that millions of unauthorized immigrants, especially those with citizen children and strong ties to their communities and this country, deserved a chance to stay and get right with the law. It tried to focus on deporting dangerous criminals, national-security threats and recent border crossers.
Kelly has swept away those notions. He makes practically every deportable person a deportation priority. He wants everybody, starting with those who have been convicted of any crime, no matter how petty or old. Proportionality, discretion, the idea that some convictions are unjust, the principles behind criminal-justice reform — these concepts do not apply.
He wants to ramp up programs deputizing state and local law enforcement officers as immigration enforcers. When state and local officers untrained in immigration law suddenly get to decide who stays and who goes, the risk of injustice is profound.
He plans to publish data on crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants, and to identify state and local jurisdictions that release immigrants from custody. Why? To promote the false idea, as Trump has shamefully done that immigrants pose particular safety risks and to punish so-called sanctuary cities that, for reasons of public order and decency, are trying to disconnect themselves from ICE.
This is how Trump’s rantings about “bad hombres” and alien rapist terrorists have now been weaponized, in cold bureaucratic language.
Kelly promised before his confirmation to be a reasonable enforcer of defensible policies. But immigrants have reason to be frightened by his sudden alignment with Trump’s nativism. So does every American who believes that the country is, or should be, committed to the sensible, proportionate application of laws, welcoming to immigrants, and respectful of the facts.
Fears have escalated within the Indian American community that has been grappling with rising insecurity since Trump’s presidential victory.
On February 22, a 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead in Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas by a 51-year-old white man who shouted “get out of my country”.
An Indian man from Telangana, Vamsi Chander Reddy Mamidala, was shot dead during a carjacking in California in early February. A Gujarati American man, Harnish Patel, was killed on March 2 in South Carolina.
On March 4, a masked gunman shot at a Sikh man in his driveway in Washington state evening after allegedly shouting “go back to your own country”.
Surely, some people must have been emboldened by the outrageous comments by the current leadership combined with the issue of immigration. This corrosive mix must be nipped in the bud before it turns into an inferno across the US.
Americans are worried about his agenda. Trump wants to spend hundreds of billions more on the military, blow $1 trillion on infrastructure stimulus, and spend billions of dollars on a pointless and symbolic border “wall”.
Trump’s videotaped remarks about groping women are shocking! Sarah Hurwitz, speech writer and former White House wordsmith, said: “It has shaken me to my core … The shameful comments about our bodies, the disrespect of our ambitions and intellect.”
His remark on personal liberty is alarming: “Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech,’” Trump scoffed, “These are foolish people.”
Instead of remaining passive observers, it’s time right-thinking Americans rose in revolt against the threat to liberty and Trump’s language of hate, bias and racial slurs.
(Cartoon by Suparno Chaudhuri)