We have witnessed many a crude and hate-filled attempt this year to win over voters in Republican primaries. Donald Trump has built an entire campaign based on fear, racism, nativism, and xenophobia, The more that some Americans can feel pitted against others in the nation the stronger Trump assumes his chances are at winning the White House. (Polls, of course, show that is not working.)
Sadly, it is not only Trump who is making a plea for narrow-minded voters. The Republican challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan has proudly stated this nation should debate deporting all Muslims.
It is simply one of the most undemocratic and low-brow attempts for votes I can recall being uttered from a congressional candidate in this state during my lifetime. It is indeed a sad time to be a politico while such antics play out.
Republican candidate Paul Nehlen wants a discussion about deporting Muslims and added when asked whether he would support deporting every Muslim from the country. “I am absolutely suggesting we figure out how do we, we — here’s what we should be doing. We should be monitoring every mosque. We should be monitoring all social media.” He added that Muslims could not be trusted to abide by the U.S. Constitution
There are so many things wrong with his views I am not sure where to start.
First, one of the strengths we have is that our nation assimilates Muslims into all layers of society and welcomes them as citizens and residents. The problem in some European countries is the lack of such social binding which can then breed mistrust and deep anger.
By sowing seeds of separation we are also cutting cords with those in the Muslim community who wish for modernity to further develop among those of their faith, and who wish to work with law enforcement in our country.
We must not allow for the idea that this nation is at war with Islam to in any way gain traction. But the ideas of Trump on the national stage and with the mimicking language from Nehlan poses dangers to our nation. If those two rabble-rousers were serious minded individuals they would know such political rhetoric endangers national security and emboldens the militants of the Islamic State.
But they do not care as the only mission they have is to stir the pot in hopes of securing a few more votes.
The rest of us know that such rhetoric violates the Constitution of the United States. Such thinking and campaigning have no place in America and it must be stressed that these bigoted views represent a small and ever-shrinking pool of angry white males who feel they have somehow lost control of their personal goals, social norms, and demographic standing. So to compensate they lash out at ‘the other’ among us.
I am old-fashioned enough to still firmly believe that our politics should draw from the deepest values of the people in this nation. Doing so means we never play to fear, hate, bigotry, raw nationalism, or the base nature of man. Instead we always look up, out, and forward.
The morning after the election when Nehlan is left with only a headline in the paper reporting him a loser he still must face himself in the mirror and know he played dirty and small. That will surely sting more than the outcome of the votes cast.
And it will be his legacy, politically speaking.