February 17, 2017
Embarrassment to America
No foe of America could have imagined the huge damage inflicted on America by an American President. In the first fortnight of his presidency, Trump – through his Twitter tantrums – has revealed himself as a puerile adolescent with poor impulse control.
Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State put it explicitly: “The way he is reacting is not as an American President who understands American democracy. He is reacting in a very juvenile and immature way.”
Trump’s hastily drafted and rushed executive order of January 27, imposing a travel ban on 7 predominantly Muslim countries, is running counter to the US Constitution’s safeguards regarding equal protection, due process, and religion-based discrimination. It is a despotic move unbefitting a democracy, the cumulative effect of which has the potential of sparking a constitutional crisis.
The courts have refused to uphold this arbitrary order. The legal saga can reach all the way to the US Supreme Court, where the matter is complicated as the Court is one judge short of its regular 9-member panel. It could throw a spanner into the confirmation of Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
Trump has not helped matters by pouring scorn on a member of the judiciary who ruled adversely against the ban, calling him a “so-called judge.” It has led opponents to call Trump a “so-called President.” It is quite unusual for the head of the Executive Branch to personally attack a serving judge of the Judicial Branch.
What the Trump administration didn’t anticipate was widespread outrage and demonstrations against the travel ban, whose inhumane and cruel consequences were played out on TV screens, with images of misery and chaos at airports, and the vivid spectacle of America breaking its bond by revoking legitimately-issued visas.
Are these the first palpable signs expediting America’s slide in the global arena?
Muslims are not alone – significant segments of US civil society have rallied in solidarity and protest. Hats off to acting US Attorney General Sally Yates who declined to be a doormat to Trump’s orders. It’s an instructive teaching moment for much of Pakistan’s officialdom who, in their sycophantic over-zeal, vie with one another to placate their bosses, even to the extent of endorsing unlawful orders.
Simply put, Trump rose to power riding a wave of white tribalism – a primeval reaction to seeing a black family ensconced in the White House for 8 years. Demographics prevent America from being remolded into a predominantly white Christian hegemony.
Already, Trump’s authoritarian actions are being widely perceived as a national embarrassment. He has picked no-win battles with the media and the judiciary.
Abraham Lincoln, in his first Inaugural Address in 1861, defined leadership as appealing to “the better angels of our nature.” Trump, instead, is appealing to the basest instincts of hate, fear, and rage.
Gone largely unnoticed during this affront to the Muslim world has been the shameful silence amongst the majority of Muslim governing elites and the OIC.
Trump talks of making America safe and great. Instead, he is making it insecure and small-hearted. In doing so, he himself may be the biggest national security risk for the United States of America.