Either I’m crazy or Trump is not extreme. Far from it. Despite the fact he is constantly compared to Adolf Hitler his platform should be somewhat familiar to Americans. Trump’s actual policies are bipartisan, supported by the majority of US states and are largely currently in place. From immigration to mosque surveillance to torture, Donald Trump is actually mainstream.
By most political measures I am a liberal. A drugs-should-be-legal-focus-on-rehab-not-prison type of liberal. A Bernie liberal. A liberal who can’t understand trillions for war but not for health care or education. I am obligated to defend Donald Trump, not to support him, but to rather highlight the uncomfortable truth about how Trump-esque America really is. Or conversely, to show how non-liberal America is.
Many of his criticized polices revolve around immigration: building a wall across the border with Mexico, deporting illegal immigrants and a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the US, including refugees. However, none of these policies should shock America’s moral conscious.
Building a wall across the border is hardly extreme simply because the US government already does this. A few people named Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders voted to help pass the Secure Fence Act of 2006. It calls for 700 miles of double layered fencing across the border. Pictures of it are here: The Great Wall of America.
The current construction is shoddy, overpriced and not effective; smugglers routinely use hydraulic lifts to raise their cars over the barrier. If it is not extreme for Hillary Clinton, likely the next US president to boast “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in” it cannot be considered extreme that Trump wants to extend and improve an already bipartisan agreed to concept that for the meantime has just wasted billions in tax money.
Sorry America. Building a border wall is what we do.
Trump has also called for the deportation of all illegal immigrants. However, this is not extreme because actual US policy and practice is obviously to deport all illegal immigrants. Don’t forget, one of President Obama’s nicknames from the Hispanic community is Deporter in Chief due to him deporting more illegal immigrants and at a faster rate than any other president. More federal money goes towards deportation than any other law enforcement program. President Obama has deported millions of illegal immigrants and to borrow a phrase from this campaign season, Trump cannot be extreme for simply wanting to ‘build upon Obama’s legacy.’
Either I’m crazy or part of President Obama’s deportation legacy is that his Department of Homeland Security announced this past Christmas that they have begun a mass deportation of women and children who fled violence in Central America. These ‘tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to’ not die came to America seeking asylum. It is the US equivalent of the European refugee crisis and our response has been a pathetic attempt at immigration court that ultimately, and predictably, results in these mass deportations.
Hillary Clinton, who Americans will likely elect as their next president, has agreed with these deportations and has advocated for deporting these children, even when pressed about their safety. For a related and fun time, I recommend you play Who Said It: Hillary or Trump.
Sorry America. Deporting people is what we do.
Donald Trump could advocate to change US policy to stop some deportations. Or advocate for policies such as the Dream Act or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. However, the executive actions taken by President Obama to allow certain groups to remain in America were blocked and rejected by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals after a majority of US states sued the federal government. Mr. Obama acted after Congress failed to pass the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill. While hailed as immigration reform, the path to citizen it outlines takes 19 years. Regardless, the bill still did not pass Congress, which Americans support by rewarding its members with a 96% re-election rate.
Trump has also been criticized for stating he would ban Syrian refugees from coming to the United States. Again, it can’t be considered extreme since the majority of US governors also support this position. In all actuality, so does President Obama. To date, the US has taken in a paltry 1,500 Syrian refugees. The US has also promised to only take in 10,000 by September 2016. To put this into perspective, Canada, roughly 1/10 the size of the US, has taken in 25,000. Germany has helped over 1 million. Sweden, with a population under 10 million has taken in over 100,000. The difference between Donald Trump and President Obama is only 1,500 people. This is hardly extreme. Either I’m crazy but I doubt that Americans have been calling their elected officials to increase the number of refugees allowed in.
Sorry America. Not allowing refugees from the Middle East into the US is what we do.
Trump has also called for a temporary ban on all Muslims to the US. This is not completely unheard of. President Carter banned Iranians from entering the US, and deported Iranians, in response to the US Embassy Hostage Crisis. Additionally, the US has recently enacted the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. If the name was not clear enough, the law’s premise is that anyone who is a citizen of, or who has traveled to, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria could be a terrorist. And by leaving out countries such as Saudi Arabia or Belgium (places where terrorists actually came from) the US is currently restricting Muslim travel purely for political purposes.
And of course America already illegally spies on the mosques of Muslims who are already in America. Heck, a simple reading of the PATRIOT Act makes it pretty clear the American government does not have qualms about spying on anybody.
Donald Trump can hardly be considered extreme in regards to immigration / refugees for advocating current US law and the policies that are supported by the majority of Congress, federal courts, and the majority of US states. In addition, these are also policies that the Democratic Party endorses given their support of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, the latter who has consistently advocated for more compassionate and liberal immigration policies.
Some of Donald’s Trump recent controversies revolve around torture and targeting the families of terrorists. But once again, none of this should appear extreme to Americans.
Am I crazy or have we forgotten Abu Grahib already? And if you play that off as just service members acting improper, am I crazy or did the majority of Americans vote for George W. Bush in 2004, after it was well known that the US engaged in torture? Am I crazy or did the US Department of Justice approve torture measures that were clearly against international law? Am I crazy or does Hillary Clinton, the person most Americans will vote for as the next president, support the use of torture in certain instances? America, Trump cannot be extreme for wanting to bring back policies, that by the most optimistic scenario, potentially ended just over 1 year ago (Does America Still Torture?). And Trump cannot be considered extreme for advocating for torture when 58% of Americans believe that torture can be justified.
Sorry America, torture is what we do.
Trump’s stance that the US should target the families of terrorists is the reason I have a scene from the Godfather at the top of this post. To remind you:
Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.
Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.
Michael: Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?
Do Americans think the United States does not kill innocent people? Really? In the days prior to Trump’s statement, leaked documents show that 90% of people killed by US drone strikes were not the intended target. And of course we specifically target the families of terrorists, even when they are Americans. Am I crazy or did this article appear in the New York Times: The Drone Strike that Killed My Grandson? To refresh your memory, the US killed a 16-year-old American and the only reason it has given is that he had a “irresponsible father.”
Of course the United States kills and targets innocent people. If former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright thinks that women who do not vote for Hillary will go to Hell, I wonder where she thinks she will end up, given her view that the sanctions against Iraq that killed 500,000 Iraqi children “was worth it.” You can watch the video of her comments here.
Has Donald Trump proposed anything more extreme than killing half a million children? Has Donald Trump said anything more callous than killing half a million children was worth it?
Of course the US kills innocent people. Every president for the last 25 years has bombed Iraq using munitions that contain radioactive depleted uranium. The birth defects, premature births and cancer caused by these weapons is more extreme than anything Trump has proposed.
Sorry America. We kill innocent people all the time. And the examples I just gave only involve 1 country, yet alone the over 3 dozen countries in the last 50 years that the US has killed people in. I could unfortunately, and to my point, diverge greatly on just how many innocent people the US kills. Instead, I’ll refer you to read Robert Kennedy Jr.’s article titled Why the Arabs Don’t Want us in Syria.
I’m still not sure what Trump has said in regards to foreign policy that seems crazy. Surely it was not this quote: “Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake. George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.” You can quibble if he was against the war before the invasion or in late 2003. Either way, he recognized it was a mistake about 1 decade before Hillary Clinton.
Having a presidential candidate argue for a less interventionist foreign policy should hardly be considered extreme. Especially compared to Hillary Clinton’s record as a war hawk. Heck, has Trump said anything crazier than Hillary Clinton’s support of Henry Kissinger?
As long as everyone is lessening the true evil of the Holocaust by comparing Trump to Hitler, I’ll give my own hyperbolic slant on the current situation: Americans who cannot name the 7 countries we currently bomb are no different than the Germans living next to Auschwitz who claim they knew nothing.
Is Trump crude? Yes. Is he vulgar? Yes. Remember, after Muammar Gaddafi was sodomized and killed by US backed fighters Trump said, “We came. We saw. He died” and laughed about it? Oh, I’m sorry, Hillary Clinton said that. Or how about the time that Trump said foreign policy should simply be “don’t do stupid shit” and that our NATO allies are “free riders” and are to blame for failed state of Libya? Or when Trump said “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun, because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl.”
Sorry again, those last ones were from President Obama.
Look. I get it. He talks odd. He is not a great orator. He says things that people hyperventilate about. He is not a refined politician by any means. He makes the mistake of giving actual answers and many of them sound horrible. But relative to actually US government practice, the only thing extreme about Donald Trump is that he is the most successful candidate in modern politics not to take campaign contributions. And maybe this is what is causing the establishments their true anxiety.
Build a wall? We already are. Deport illegal immigrants? We already are. Spy on mosques? We already are. Torture? We have, reserve the right to and the majority of Americans want to. Kill innocent people? By the millions. Ban Syrian refugees? We’ve taken in only 1,500 and helped cause the wars that destroyed their country let alone the entire Middle East.
Donald Trump has been called an immigrant bashing carnival barker, a fascist, a racist, Hitler, a bloviating ignoramus among other terms. He has been widely pilloried by the media. Call him what you’d like. But don’t forget, Trump is not extreme. Trump represents America. America represents Trump. The policies he proposes are largely in place, not far from actual practice, and are supported by the majority of states. Don’t be fooled because he says them out loud. And don’t be fooled if he wins.
Who is naive now?
Thank you for reading and sharing. Be sure to click the hyperlinks – Nick