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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump presidency: thoughts on the immediate and distant future

We begin this composition with a confession, and that is-simply put- that we never imagined that the Trump campaign was little more than a bad joke that had no chance of success due to the numerous accusations, outright racism and clear personality problems that are displayed in his recorded statements and behavior.

The success of the Trump campaign has essentially blindsided all of us, it has negated all the predictions of the pundits and it feels like we are now living in a parallel universe that Science Fiction programs such as Star Trek and Fringe have displayed, a world that is very similar to the world we know and are accustomed to, yet filled with glaring examples of differences, enough to make one panic and desire a quick escape.


Why is Donald Trump so troubling?



His entire platform has been one insult after another. However, our focus is not simply on this. His campaign has been one which tells the voters what they want to hear, however upon close examination there is actually no substance at all behind his rhetoric.


Whether it is call for  building a wall between Mexico and the Southern United States [which he asserts that he will make Mexico pay for], threatening Muslims, insulting African Americans, or an unclear plan to strengthen the US economy, any of these things, which are well documented, should be sufficient enough to find his election to this nation's highest office to be a frightening turn of events.

The following link has a good summary of why this is a terrible development. http://reverbpress.com/politics/seven-reasons-donald-trump-make-terrible-president/

If he's so bad, then why was he elected to the highest office?

The answer to this is even more troubling. Despite Trump's many issues in terms of not having any substantive plans and his crass statements regarding women, the handicapped, immigrants, minorities and the like, he has been successful. Those things did not work against him, rather, they worked for him.

I recall an interview I heard on NPR, the one being interviewed was a Gay Latino from New York. He thought of Donald Trump as a personal success story, narrating about the latter's homes, wealth and all the trappings of success he already displayed.

A succinct article in The Guardian [ Anti-Intellectualism taking over the US] explains this very well. This is increasingly becoming a culture that places no value on education [except of course in the practical fields such as Engineering].

Education is more than a piece of paper or the ability to count numbers and decipher symbols . Education is meant to instill respect for certain values and to nurture- at the least- a foundation for understanding the world around the student.

Yet, despite the presence of universities and the Internet, ignorance of even basic facts still is the prevalent situation. An economics professor doing work while taking a flight was pulled off a plane and interrogated by authorities. Apparently, he was mistaken for an Arab and his work notebook's contents "strange writings" was simply math equations. [ https://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/penn-professor-booted-from-plane-after-passenger-identified-him-as-a-terrorist-for-doing-math/#.Vy6cfuYVTDw.facebook].

This utter ignorance and dismay for personal and communal growth breeds irrational fear and unsubstantiated beliefs, particularly for the "other". African Americans have long been the victims of this thread of thinking, and are thus generally more understanding of this side of America!


The other unspoken reason that Mr. Trump has now become our president is that the demographics  are rapidly changing from the White Anglo Saxon Protestant equation. There is a great deal of growth of Non-White communities, and this of course translates into political and economic changes, not to even mention the social impact.

Indeed, the demographer William H.Frey in his book Diversity Explosion predicts that after 2040, whites will no longer be the majority population in this country. This is a future that is not pleasant to think about for many Americans.

We have ignored Mrs. Hillary Rodham-Clinton up to this point. Many analysts have explained her failure to win the Oval office due to the E-mail scandal or a frustration with the system in general. It is the view of this writer that those issues are only a minor part of it. In other words, it would not have even mattered if Jesus Christ himself was the candidate of the Democratic party, the chance to stem the social changes and to express deeply-held sentiments was simply too much to pass up.

What should Muslim do?

Since the issue of Muslims' religion and presence in this country was a campaign issue for President-elect Trump, it seems prudent to direct this to Muslims, however, this is equally valid for all Americans who feel that we have now entered seriously dangerous political territory and fear for the future of this nation!

Our response to this should include, but not be limited to:

[1] Coalition building: This means more than an occasional dinner. Muslims-particularly the leadership, have to become better involved in their local communities and become stewards of universal justice, which is itself a Quranic command [Q 4: 135]. This means that -for example- when a person is unjustly killed by law enforcement, Muslims have to be there standing for what is right. This means greater civil involvement.

[2] Become deeply involved in other parties: Currently this nation is dominated by a two party system. While other parties do exist, they have little to no influence at all. We have to join the voices of those seeking real change, and not simply hope our few dollars to entrenched politicians will produce results on our limited interests. Our interests must be bigger than Palestine, Hijaab and holidays.

As a whole, disaffected Americans can take a lesson from other nations such as India [the most populous Democratic nation as it likes to call itself]. It has about eight big active parties such as AITC and INC, but arguable hundreds of smaller ones.

We don't have to limit ourselves to this two party system. We have to think bigger and in longer terms.

[3] For Muslims, to do more to  have  our voices heard. Write to the local newspaper when stories are published. Become educated enough to answer questions on Islam. Share the Qur'an or Islamic materials with people, refer them to the mosque or to accurate websites.

[4] Americans, both Muslim and Non Muslim alike, should be encouraged to travel, in order to broaden their horizons and perspectives. This is also a Quranic teaching [ Q 29:20 is just one example]. Keep a valid passport at all times.

I hope this brief article generates much discussion and deep thinking. After all, this is the time to be rational and calm. Actions born out of frustrations and anger almost never produce a positive outcome.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

well said. all good people should work together and stand up for justice and respect