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Trump’s Bad Ideas Aren’t Un-American After All – OpEd

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By Janine Jackson*

Readers of The Boston Globe were recently treated to an unusual spectacle — a parody front page and insert filled with mock stories of how a Donald Trump presidency might play out.

“Deportations to Begin… Riots Continue,” read one headline, riffing on the candidate’s call to staff up immigration officers and deport all undocumented workers. “U.S. Soldiers Refuse Orders to Kill ISIS Families” read another reference to a real proposal by the GOP front-runner.

It’s easy enough to credit the Globe‘s intention, which editors said was to show that Trump’s “vision for the future of our nation is as deeply disturbing as it is profoundly un-American.” The trouble is, many of these hypothetical future nightmares are very much of the present — if in a lesser or more polite form.

In other words, Trump’s vision isn’t so much “un-American” as it is America on steroids.For example, the Obama administration has deported more than 2.5 million immigrants, leading the National Council of La Raza to dub him “deporter-in-chief.” Civil rights advocates have repeatedly criticized U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, for launching aggressive home raids and running prison-like detention centers.

And lamentably, the U.S. military has in fact attacked the innocent families of its adversaries. According to one estimate revealed by The Intercept in 2015, over 90 percent of the people killed in drone strikes during a one-month period in Afghanistan were not the “intended target.”

Some of those victims were almost certainly family members, particularly when you consider the practice of “double tap” drone strikes. That’s where an attack on a suspected militant is followed by a second strike targeting rescue workers — or, in some cases, the first target’s funeral.

The Globe is far from alone in giving the novelty of Trump’s dystopian ideas too much credit.

For instance, media blanched at Trump’s claim that there should be “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions. A New York Times writer called the remarks “incoherent” while other pundits identified them as a key factor in Trump’s Wisconsin loss.

That show of outrage sat poorly with Jodi Jacobsen of the website Rewire. She pointed out that women are already punished for seeking abortions — from untenable waiting periods and distance restrictions to limits on access to abortion medications. Some even go to jail for allegedly attempting to induce miscarriages when safe and legal abortions are unavailable.

If punishing women for their reproductive choices is alarming when Trump proposes it, isn’t the reality of it being part of the American health care system more disturbing?

Likewise, Trump’s “plan” to make Mexico pay for his fantasy border wall involves seizing the money Mexicans living in the United States transfer to their relatives in Mexico. Pundits chuckled at the idea’s impracticality and unfairness.

If only that had been their attitude last year, when U.S. banks stopped offering money transfers to Somalia, citing concern that terrorists might somehow get hold of that cash. This move cut off funds sent to family members for food and medicine — money that contributed more to Somalia’s economy than foreign aid.

In the heat of election season, reporters tend to focus on the latest comment from the loudest voice. But a press corps focused on personality rather than policy isn’t in voters’ best interest.

One sure sign? The failure to recognize bad ideas unless they arrive on an obvious stream of hot air.

*Janine Jackson is the program director at the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, or FAIR. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

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OtherWords distributes commentary and cartoons aimed at amplifying progressive analysis in the national conversation. It empowers readers to become more engaged citizens.

One thought on “Trump’s Bad Ideas Aren’t Un-American After All – OpEd

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    April 25, 2016 at 6:37 am
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    Ms. Jackson is entirely right. Unfortunately, the media has two aims: one is to cause Trump to fail, the other is to divert attention from the fact that police way worse than those proposed by Trump are in full implementation, albeit secretly: Muslims aren’t allowed to immigrate into the US – well they are allowed provided they pass vetting and vetting takes years. So the end effect is in fact to prevent Muslim immigration. Surveillance of Muslims and mosques: this is ongoing. Just about no Muslim has not had contact with the FBI when he/she arrived in the USA. Mosques are routinely surveilled but it is done in clandestine and by the FBI and the NSA. Just because it isn’t admitted doesn’t mean it isn’t done.

    The outrage at Trump’s proposals is telling: when faced with the reality of their own actions, the pundits are abhorred.

    In addition, Trump proposed some very sane and valid changes to foreign policy: like letting South Korea and Japan build their own nukes and assume their own defense against North Korea. Washington is abhorred, claiming Trump doesn’t know anything about US foreign policy. But that isn’t the case. Trump’s proposal would free Japan and South Korea of US domination and leave them free to define their own foreign policy, especially with respect to North Korea where the US consistently wants to make a mess like in the Middle East and which the surrounding neighbors don’t want.

    Trump in addition proposed that he would get along with Putin and that it would be way better for the US to engage in trade with Russia. Furthermore Trump proposed to break up NATO. Today the US keeps 40’000 soldiers in Germany – 70 years after WW2 ended. For what? Surely, only a war on Russia could justify such troop accumulation. Does anybody want that war? No. Certainly not the Europeans, nor Russia nor the US public. Meanwhile, the US doesn’t have the money for schools and education or universal health care. Breaking up NATO and obliging Europe to assume its own defense would leave Europe free of US dominance. It would reanimate trade and cultural exchange, freedom to democracy and freedom from absurd trade agreements like TPP and TTIP. It would also break the dominance of Monsanto and GMO foods. All of that is in the true interest of all people of the world.

    Trump’s agenda would in fact be excellent for world peace and prosperity. Just as he said: that it will be a much stabler world. Exactly what the people of the world want. Including the American public.

    So why the aversion against Trump? The pundits in Washington are terrified of losing their lucrative relationship with special interests who pay vast sums to Congressmen in return for writing foreign policy doctrines. Just how much money is at stake is clear from looking at financial disclosures of the vast majority of Congress people and Bernie Sanders’ income tax return. Bernie is the only senator who doesn’t accept special interest money. He is the only senator who isn’t a millionaire.

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