Trump: A Terrorist Dupe
(VANCOUVER ISLAND) Donald Trump has played his role as a hate-filled buffoon to the hilt. Revelling in the adulation he receives from his ragtag following of misanthropic, marginalised, ignorant social outcasts he has based his campaign on saying outrageous things and avoiding being called to task on them by simply upping the ante and being more outrageous in the next 24-hour news cycle. Utterly indifferent to being caught lying through his teeth time and time again, he either repeats known lies or denies he ever said them. Using the rather puerile rhetorical device of apophasis as protective colouration for his more insane conspiracy theories, he feels free to say things or to insinuate things that, if said out loud in a normal social situation, would earn him a punch in the face or, at the very least, an ejection from whatever event he was attending. But with his insistence that President Obama employ the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” or resign in disgrace, he has crossed another line.
In the midst of suggesting that the President of the United States is involved in a conspiracy with the nation’s enemies, he has managed to give aid and comfort to those very enemies; he is specifically working to help them achieve their agenda. Now, Trump is far too stupid to understand that, and he wouldn’t care as long as it earns him his fix of attention from the media. Nevertheless, by his incessant disparaging of Obama’s reluctance to paint all Muslims with the broad brush of “terrorist”, he is perpetuating the very hatred that inspires atrocities like 9/11 and possibly Orlando.
Obama is very clear. He does not like to use the phrase that Trump insists on employing because it suggests that the acts of terrorism carried out by fringe groups of fanatics are representative of the inclinations of all Muslims. Where Trump likes to conflate Islam and terrorism, Obama would like to differentiate between the vast majority of Muslims and the small fringe groups of radicalised mujahidin. Just as when a Mafia murder is committed, it would be irresponsible to call it murder by “radical Italians”, he wants to be clear that the murderer’s distinguishing characteristic is the mayhem created rather than the incidental aspect of religion.
What Trump is accomplishing by his insistence on conflating Islam and terrorism is precisely what ISIS is trying to do: ISIS wants the world to see their twisted and radicalised tiny minority of Muslims as representative of the entire nation of Islam. ISIS wants America and the non-Muslim world to hate all Muslims because that serves their recruitment aims. While Obama and all reasonable people are trying very hard to avoid playing into the hands of terrorists by insisting on distinguishing between the vast majority of Muslims, the peaceful and moderate followers of the Prophet Muhammed, Trump is dedicated to lumping every Muslim in with fanatical, indiscriminate murderers. For just a moment, consider which of those two approaches is likely to find more Muslims radicalised. Which will make it easier for Muslims to feel separate and distinct from the insane suicide bombers who kill with sickening regularity?
Donald Trump’s first instinct in the aftermath of the Orlando slaughter was to send out a tweet congratulating himself on being the only person who saw this coming (another lie) and implying that only he is tough enough to stop these outrages. But mostly what stood out in his response to the horrific massacre was his overt accusation of Obama being involved in it. Of course he resorted to apophasis in an effort to avoid accountability, his standard cowardly tactic; nevertheless, he jumped right into the ISIS playbook. The more hatred, the more suspicion of those in whom we have placed our trust, the more division that can be sown, the further their aims are advanced. Far from being a tough guy, or a strong leader, Trump has proven himself over and over to be a cowardly, lying, opportunist. He pretends to want to make America great again, but his actual actions all serve to diminish the country; to weaken it by undermining whatever solidarity is left after the Republicans’ eight-year mission to divide the country. Trump knows something his followers don’t. He knows that it is easier for a divisive hatemonger to assume leadership of a divided, ignorant, suspicious, fearful rabble than to be elected to lead a strong, confident, knowledgeable, thinking body politic. He is trying to create the former because he knows that he would be summarily rejected by the latter.
Trump is too stupid to grasp the nuances of the position he instinctively assumes. But he is sufficiently blessed with a low cunning to recognise that the more broken the country is, the better his chances of seizing power. Donald Trump cares so little about the country and so much about his own place in the world that he is willing to do as ISIS wants him to do. He is willing to tear the country apart to make it easier for him to gather the shattered pieces into a pile he can squat on top of.