Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s latest outburst proposing to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. is an insult to the history of our country, which has been based on the premise of religious freedom from the first pilgrims until today.
This proposal disqualifies any candidate aspiring to be in the White House. It remains to be seen if this will be the remark that finally puts a dent in the millionaire’s popularity. Still, it is possible that it will earn him points among the most extremists, because “he says what he feels.” For his followers, this makes Trump criticism-proof.
The candidate has the ability to take ideas that were already circulating around among the Republican base to their most absurd consequences. An example is his posture on immigration. Now, the same is happening regarding Islamic terrorism.
Before the San Bernardino attack and Trump’s proposal, the GOP-led Congress proposed to ban Syrian refugees from entering the country. Soon, someone chimed in saying that the country should only allow Christian Syrians in. There is currently a proposal in the Senate to prohibit the entrance to refugees coming from war-torn countries for three years. These ideas put forward by legislators and presidential hopefuls came accompanied by a hateful rhetoric that Trump has taken to an intolerable extreme.
Intolerable, except for Sen. Ted Cruz, who does not share Trump’s idea about Muslims but doesn’t mind it much. He told a conservative network yesterday that he will hire Trump as part of his team if he gets to the White House and that the millionaire would be taking care of trade and immigration.
For his part, Sen. Marco Rubio said on Sunday that there is no evidence of discrimination against Muslims, and tepidly criticized Trump’s reckless proposal by deeming it “offensive and outlandish.” Sen. Lindsey Graham stooped to the proposal’s level by sending Trump and his plan “to hell.” An idea of this sort does deserve an outraged reply, but both Cruz and Rubio are being careful not to offend Trump’s extremist supporters.
Trump’s candidacy takes an increasingly fascistic tone, creating an authoritarian intolerance that has no place in an open democracy. The candidate and those who paved the way for him by building the slippery slope that allows him to appeal to anti-democratic extremism are to blame for this.