Political incorrectness — Trump’s undoing?

Apparently being politically incorrect in the game of politics is still not all that fashionable in USA. Not just yet


Bisma Tirmizi September 29, 2015
The writer is a storyteller at heart and a journalist by profession. She is based in the US

I’ve never been a Donald Trump fan, but his initial entrance into the Republican presidential race left me intrigued. Repulsive and egoistical, he nevertheless appeared somehow less of a hypocrite than the seasoned politicians he was challenging. I started paying a bit more attention to him and some of his policies, namely on immigration, and his repeated stance of not accepting money from lobbyists started making a little bit of sense.

Immigration, you say? Yes, immigration! To become legal citizens, immigrants go through a tedious process. All who enter the US with legal documentation go through a rigorous system. They do their best to hold on to jobs and/or education, submit hundreds of documents and finally after years of hard work become naturalised citizens. Their struggle and toil is real, hence illegal immigration makes a mockery of the people who have acquired legal citizenship after putting in a lot of hard work. So, Trump insisting that illegal immigration into a sovereign country must be deemed unacceptable is not so unacceptable. His style of asserting the same is wrong, but his policy, not so much.

There is also the issue of lobbyists. Candidates rely heavily on funding from lobbyists during their election campaigns, and then on being elected, end up catering to the demands of the same, shelving the concept of working for the greater good. Hence, the sudden upsurge in Trump’s rating is actually understandable. Repulsive he is, but he also makes just a wee bit of sense, and more so to the right wing citizenry when he talks about less government, less immigration, lower taxes, and much more money in the pockets of ordinary folks.

But then came the town hall event in New Hampshire and the question that may eventually signal the end of Trump’s campaign, and perhaps even Ben Carson’s too, even if they are still being deemed as front-runners among the Republican presidential candidates. One of the audience members at the event made the following statement while asking Trump a question: “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. He’s not even an American.”

Trump’s inability to correct the man, or call him out on the statement, and thereafter defending himself for not doing so, will be his downfall. And for that I credit Americans. Later, Carson’s remarks, implying that a Muslim cannot and must not become president of the US, will be his downfall. And for that I credit Americans too. The outrage here is palpable, and this isn’t so because of a few million Muslims raising a hue and cry. There has been an uproar by the centrists and by the left. And to their credit, some on the right were offended too; however disingenuous, they stand steadfast by their Constitution — granting the right of freedom of religion — and hence believe in not judging someone on their belief system, but on the merit of character.

Reasonable Americans, and there are many, understand that visceral statements such as the one made in New Hampshire must be shot down; and not because of their lack of merit and substance, but because they encourage a dangerous rhetoric, which contradicts the principle of ‘liberty and freedom for all’, the very pillar America stands on. Statements made against Muslims, if tolerated, could create a backlash against an American minority that is mostly viewed as hard working and law abiding; there are of course exceptions, but this kind of racism, if left unchecked, may give rise to a dangerous precedent of openly condemning minorities and getting kudos for it.

One must remember that Muslims living in the US, when compared to minorities living in Arab countries, the Middle East and South Asia have much more freedom to practise their religion. Yes, once in a while, we are reminded that we are a minority when a bigot makes a controversial statement, but for the most part there is still room for Muslim minorities in the US. Apparently, being politically incorrect in the game of politics is still not all that fashionable in the United States of America. Not just yet.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2015.

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COMMENTS (5)

Mir | 6 years ago | Reply @Birooni Haath: Why is it that when an American makes comments against India (a la Obama et religious intolerance) Indians shriek and moan about ignorance whereas enjoy listening to Trump make prejudiced and ignorant statements?
Parvez | 6 years ago | Reply I thought you summed that up pretty well.....the Trump ' show ' is a good example of American democracy at work......the serious people may dismiss him but they also LISTEN to what he's saying.
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