An unequal society is like tinder, dry and just waiting for a match to set it off. In the US case, add multi-ethnicity, a surfeit of guns, joblessness resulting in the blame game, and the environment is not only virulent but dangerously explosive.
Early last Sunday morning in New Orleans one man was shot and killed and nine injured in the touristy French Quarter. A few days later, a student at Ohio State University used his car to run over pedestrians on campus until it ran into a concrete pillar. He then stepped out of it with a butcher knife stabbing and slashing until killed by the police. He was a Somali Muslim who felt persecuted in the prevailing climate. He, of course, was here because his country has been devastated since the Ethiopian invasion fostered by the US. The country continues in civil war — as do Libya, Iraq, Syria and Yemen with the hands of the usual interventionist clearly stained.
A report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identifies almost 900 incidents of minority harassment following Donald Trump’s election victory. Of these the most are directed against immigrants (about 275) followed by the expected targets: anti-black 175, anti-Semitic 100, anti-LGBT 90, anti-Muslim 50, and anti-women 40 constitute the significant victims.
The climate has infected schools. In a related survey of 10,000 teachers, more than a quarter had witnessed incidents of bigotry and harassment including fights, threats of violence and swastika graffiti. In addition, fully 90 percent noted the negative impact of the ‘Trump effect’ on their schools. The president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingartner, has called on President-elect Trump “to use his voice to effectively and unequivocally denounce these hateful acts that are done in his name.”
A map of hate groups on the SPLC website shows there are 892 in the US. They have been re-energized by the Trump victory. Donald Trump’s rhetoric has for the haters legitimized hate. Randi Weingartner is right. He now has to backpedal fast and repudiate these haters for the cost of poisoning the young minds of children is too high in a civilized democratic society.
While North America and most countries of the north exhibit a form of closet racism, Donald Trump’s contribution has been to let it come out. Bad idea. It is an ugly genie that needs to be put back in its bottle and quickly.
Even the CIA director, John Brennan, has warned the Trump team to be disciplined in the language they use because it can be “exploited … to portray the United States and the government as being anti-Islamic … .” He has also labeled ending the Iran deal as “disastrous” — it being one of Mr. Trump’s repeated promises on the campaign trail along with the trade tariffs on Chinese goods unless he got a better deal!
Such pledges betray a naivete in foreign policy that can only come from a man averse to acquiring basic knowledge. His touted experience of building resorts and hotels in Scotland or Qatar ill prepare him for the world stage. The hope is he will have sage advisers who can fill in the gaps — or more appropriately chasms — before he enters the Oval Office.
For example, laying a 45 percent tariff on Chinese manufactures would put an end to any hopes of an economic surge countering and more the proposed $1 trillion expenditure on infrastructure. Oddly enough Walmart, the working class shopper’s paradise, accounted for a huge $49 billion of imports out of the US trade deficit of $324 billion. Messing up Walmart would not make Mr. Trump’s principal constituency very happy. Clearly a conflicting agenda not seriously thought through … but then how many election promises are actually kept?
Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor. A frequent contributor to the print and electronic media, his work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.