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Donald Trump’s anti-Americanism

| Monday, February 29, 2016

Donald Trump’s slogan for his campaign this year is “Make America Great Again.” A clear, simplistic and admittedly politically savvy slogan, it is supposed to define what his presidential campaign is all about. He believes our country is in shambles and needs to be brought out of this ruin with some great deals and a big, beautiful wall. He believes he will restore America to its past greatness, which Barack Obama (and George W. Bush) have crushed. Yet, when I look at his policies and all he stands for, I know he will not make America great, good or better whatsoever. Rather, I see someone whose values oppose all that America has stood for and continues to stand for today.

As part of his plan to make America great, Trump wants to deport the millions of illegal immigrants currently in our country and build a big, beautiful wall that Mexico will pay for. I agree with his idea that the country desperately needs immigration reform; undoubtedly, our borders do need to be secure in order to keep our country safe and to preserve some sense of law. But the idea of immediately deporting millions of people who came to America seeking a better life is directly opposed to the idea America stands for. All of the illegal immigrants came to America seeking a better life for themselves and for their families; what could be more American than that? For years, thousands and thousands of people have come here because they know it is the best place to make their lives better. We can’t be blind to the fact America is a beacon of hope and freedom to the entire world. It’s a place where people can come to have the opportunity to better themselves and shouldn’t be faulted for wanting to do that. Figuring out what to do with the millions of illegal immigrants currently here won’t be easy, but we cannot simply discount the motives behind the majority of people coming here illegally.

Trump also unabashedly espouses the use of torture and tactics such as killing the families of terrorists in order to stop evil regimes such as ISIS. There is no doubt ISIS is a terrible thing for the world, and we must do all we can to stop innocent people from dying. But we cannot justify horrible, evil actions ourselves in the name of stopping evil. America has always been a force for good. Even poor and ill-informed decisions such as the Iraq and Vietnam Wars were done in the name of spreading human rights, freedom and the autonomy of each individual person. We have never stooped to the level of even the most evil people we have confronted. We didn’t resort to the racist and anti-Semitic tactics of Hitler or the genocidal mindset of Stalin. Rather, we were firm in our beliefs and trusted that in the end, goodness will prevail. We cannot compromise our democratic American values in order to stop the evil that so many perpetrate around the world.

Finally, Trump threatens some of the most important American values: freedoms of speech, religion and the press. Recently, he claimed he would open up libel laws in order to make it easier for politicians to sue and make money from prosecuting news organizations for libel. This would threaten publications, preventing them (out of fear) from publishing stories the public deserves to hear. Our Founding Fathers put the First Amendment into the Bill of Rights to ensure the people were able to speak their minds and that the press wouldn’t be afraid of the government. This, along with his assertion to temporarily ban Muslims, threatens the American values the founders of this country fought so vehemently to preserve.

I don’t know if Donald Trump is a total racist, bigot or sexist. He may be doing all this for publicity, and I hesitate to define someone in such terms unless I know for sure that they are. I do know, however, that his pursuit of the presidency is rooted in ideas and values that dismantle the core principles our country stands for. Not only is his rhetoric divisive, but his ideas are anti-American. They fail to consider the ideals for which America has proudly been the standard-bearer for the past 200-plus years. Our values, our promotion of good and our ability to provide hope for all people has been what has made America great and will continue to make us great in the future. Nothing else.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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