In October 2008 I had the opportunity to go on a month-long study tour in the United States (US) under the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) just before the presidential elections that ushered President Barrack Obama into office. The visit afforded me and some 19 or so other journalists from Anglophone Africa a life-time learning experience about how the world’s strongest democracy conducts its presidential campaign and elections.
Our stay in Washington DC, Mississippi, Louisiana, Nevada and New York afforded us an opportunity to interact with people of various political hues and cultural backgrounds. Since then I have been to the US three more times mostly New York and Washington DC. One of the things I have come to like most about the US is its openness to a host of people of different nationalities, cultures, races and religions. America is teeming with people from all parts of the world.
It is against this background that, although I am a Christian, I get very disturbed with Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s repulsive views on Muslims. His views on banning Muslims from entering the US are not in sync with the American psyche which is very tolerant of religious affiliation.
I wouldn’t also imagine that a serious American presidential candidate would be doing the right thing insulting people of other nationalities such as Mexicans, Latinos, African-Americans et cetera, or even women, as Trump has been doing.
Trump may have the financial wherewithal to muscle his way to the White House but he is surely hurting his fellow Republicans who want the next American president to be from the Republican camp.
Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration, if he becomes president, indeed as many others have rightly argued, is wholly impractical. Religious affiliation is largely invisible and any would-be terrorist could simply lie about being Muslim. Nor would new border controls address the problem of radicalised U.S. citizens.
The killing of 49 people in Orlando, Florida, last week by a Muslim which has reignited Trump’s anti-Muslim sentiments is a toxic habit of conflating the fanatical few with millions of mainstream Muslims throughout America and more than a billion worldwide. Apart from being an affront to American values it does not help the cause of democracy and his party’s bid to reclaim the White House.
A ban on Muslim immigration would actually make the United States less safe as it would undercut the nation’s ability to work with Muslim nations to battle the scourge of radical Islam. It would also endanger millions of Americans outside the US. What I don’t understand is why his fellow Republicans, if they are serious to win the presidency, can’t stop him from voicing out his pathological hatred for Muslims and people of other races. Why is Trump oblivious and indifferent to the danger of implying that all Muslims are America’s enemies?
In addition to banning them from entering the US, Trump has also talked about closing and even creating a national registry of Muslims. Who is poisoning his mind with such funny ideas?
I don’t care who will win the US elections on November 8 between Trump and the Democrat presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton but I have a serious problem with Trump’s proposed policies which once made into law would do more harm than good to American values and the world at large.
Well, I have no meaningful way of influencing the American elections, and all I can do is hope that this man will be stopped from becoming the world’s strongest man at all costs. But this also behooves Bernie Sanders who has vowed to take the fight for the Democrat presidential nomination to the convention in August to relook at his chances of overturning the tables against Clinton. The best that Sanders could be remembered for is to work towards enmeshing the cream of his policies with those of Clinton as she did when she supported Obama in 2008, a move that helped unseat the Republicans.
Back home, the shenanigans in Parliament are reminiscent of the ‘Section 65 Number One, Budget Number Two episode’ of former Malawi Congress Party (MCP) czar John Zenasi Ungapake Tembo (JZU) and then Leader of Opposition which catapulted MCP’s attrition in the House with JZU at its helm.
The national budget is for all Malawians and as representatives of the people it is only fair that reason should prevail over emotions and personal benefit. Admitted, Parliamentarians may be entitled to what they are agitating for. But that should not go to the extent of derailing proceedings in the House which will hurt the very people they represent. MPs should realise that the ‘subsidies’ they are prodding government to give them are from the very people they represent.