by Michael K. Smith
He's "unhinged, offensive, reprehensible," and "ridiculous." His proposals are "unconstitutional." He's a "racist, xenophobic, religious bigot" who doesn't understand "our laws" or "our history." He must be rejected by all "real" Americans.
Wow. What accounts for such an emotional outburst from U.S. politicians and media commentators? Mostly it's that Trump is not simply repeating focus-group tested sound-bites and bumper-sticker slogans pre-approved by slick media managers, but is saying what he actually thinks about the U.S. being subject to continual terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists. The proposals themselves leave much to be desired (he says nothing about U.S. foreign policy crimes continually carried out against Muslim populations abroad), but he is at least paying us the compliment of honestly commenting on a serious problem, and not merely articulating a consensus of wealthy funders of his campaign. So far, he is the only Republican candidate to do this, which the talking heads in the corporate media find incomprehensible, so accustomed are they to the parroting of official cliches.
The pinhead pundits and bought candidates are particularly upset at Trump's calls for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, and the surveillance of Muslim mosques inside the U.S., proposals that offend the tender consciences of those who have accepted torture, preventive detention, mass killing of civilians (dismissed as "collateral damage") and nearly universal surveillance of communications, among other Bush-Obama policies manifestly inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution and "the rule of law" they claim to revere and uphold. Nonetheless, there is a certain unfairness in singling out Muslims for attention, given what is going on in synagogues and churches around the U.S. Do we really need to remind anyone that synagogues raise huge sums of tax exempt funds for Israel to degrade, rob, torture and murder Palestinian civilians on a daily basis, which has long been a major Muslim (and Christian) grievance against the U.S.? Apparently, we do. Have we forgotten that Christian evangelicals cheer these racist murderers on, convinced that such policies are the prelude to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and God's eternal paradise? Apparently, we have. And does anyone really know the full extent of Catholic sexual terrorism against children, long defended by the church as a private matter, best remedied by "healing" and prayer? Probably not.
So would the hysterical anti-Trump mob be any less upset if Trump proposed a general crackdown on organized crime in religious institutions? Of course not. The problem is not Trump per se, but the fact that he has the nerve and the money to say what he thinks without fearing the consequences. This is intolerable to establishment politics, which depends on an elite consensus imposed on the country by massive propaganda backed by force. Now that consensus has lost the confidence of the Republican base, which to its credit wants real change, not more of the phony "change you can believe in."
As the chorus of denunciation rises, Trump appears to grow ever stronger, while the GOP candidates condemning him fade into obscurity. A parade of political "experts" is then trotted out to proclaim his base marginal, though the plain fact is that many in the Cruz and Carson camps do not find him loathesome (Cruz conspicuously declines to condemn him) which means that his popularity still has plenty of room to grow should either or both of those candidates exit the race. In any event, he continues to hold double-digit leads both nationally and in Iowa, which must mean that everyone hates him except the voters.
For months now we have been told that Trump's public support will evaporate once subjected to "rational" scrutiny (by increasingly hysterical experts) or "likely voters" contemplating actual ballots they will cast in the no-longer-distant primary elections. But the opposite has occurred, and today Trump is the solidly entrenched front runner nationally and in Iowa. His approach may indeed be the "politics of fear," but then, after decades of Washington treating Muslim-dominant regions of the world like free-fire zones, there is plenty to be fearful about. How long will it be, for example, before an ISIS inspired terrorist group figures out how to construct and detonate an atomic bomb in a U.S. city? (Plenty of fissionable material is unaccounted for around the world, and construction of an atomic bomb is not technically difficult).
The problem is not Trump's appeals to fear, but rather that he aspires to be "tough on terror" without recognizing (let alone doing anything about) the wholesale terrorism the U.S. has long practiced throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, from where our insurgent terrorist threat in "the homeland" originates. This cannot work, of course, any more than peace in Northern Ireland could have been achieved without addressing British colonialism. Throughout the Muslim world serious grievances against the U.S. exist, and must be addressed, but neither Trump nor the chorus of fools ignorantly denouncing him recognize this.
This can only eventuate in further catastrophe.