Donald Trump has never been a man to shirk the limelight. He manages to make headlines virtually every time he opens his mouth, and an attentive media are ever happy to supply him the oxygen of publicity. He is a self-made billionaire (with more than one bankruptcy behind him, he does not always get it right) and is by far the most high-profile runner in the campaign for the American presidency. The elections are still almost a year away and there are caucuses and primaries to get through and he may not survive them, but if he does then he will in all likelihood be the Republican Party candidate for the American presidency.
Trump is a racist bigot and a misogynist. He is also exceedingly dangerous as his comments regarding the exclusion of Muslims from America exemplify. It has taken time for the import of his words to sink in, and there was a sense of incredulity at them on part of both the commentariat and his fellow Republican Party members, including candidates for the presidency. Far from being contrite, Trump was quickly on the talk show circuit justifying what he said, and the vox-pops conducted by American news channels revealed a high proportion of random members of the public not only agreeing with Trump but going even further — “Bomb them all,” said one armchair foreign policy expert.
A petition to exclude Trump from the UK, where he has considerable business interests, gathered 250,000 signatures in a matter of hours, and is likely to be the subject of parliamentary debate. Politicians and governments are scrambling to disassociate themselves from Trump and American Muslims have thus far reacted with dignified and entirely justified outrage. America was founded on the principle of religious freedom by Christians fleeing persecution in their homeland — England. The American Constitution enshrines religious freedom at its very core. And if Trump does gain the Republican nomination, then millions, many millions, are going to vote for him because they believe in what he says and what he represents. A fact that ought to be profoundly disturbing to people of all faiths and persuasions.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2015.
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