President Donald Trump: The American Inquisition begins

Blogger Yamin Zakaria argues that Donald Trump is a typical racist bully who will target those far weaker than him, like Muslims, rather than tackle the real threats that America faces.

When Barack Obama was elected as the US President setting a milestone in US political history, the dominant view considered it progress. One step in the right direction and a significant sign that the US was on the path to making amends for its ugly past, especially its terrible treatment of black people.

For many, the event echoed the words of Martin Luther King: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” That journey seems to have halted and taken a U-turn with the appointment of Donald Trump.

Why has the US regressed from electing its first black leader to appointing a racist semi-literate xenophobe like Donald Trump? Is it a political enigma or a knee-jerk response from an insecure White America which is on course to become a demographic minority?

American Muslims have condemned Trump’s anti-Muslim actions

It appears that the crude rhetoric of Trump appealed to a good section of the American population, in particular, the far right. Going even further right, the White Supremacist movements like the KKK gave Trump an open endorsement. Other far-right groups around the world have also given support to Trump.

Even though Donald Trump is not a fully paid-up Klan member, many would identify Trump as a supporter of the KKK ideology from his statements and followers. Undoubtedly, the KKK see him as part of their family, maybe as a father figure or an uncle or a grandpa.

Accordingly, the KKK types went on the streets, and many clips of these racist xenophobes attacking non-whites and exuberantly shouting Trump’s name appeared online. You may say they are politically empowered now, as they come out of their closets into the open. Similar to what Brexit did here in the UK for many closet racists.

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Still, the stubborn ones say Donald Trump is not a racist but then why does he attracts them like a magnet?  I am sure if you asked some of his supporters in private they would be happy to endorse a climate where non-whites would be subjugated. Some even dared to wave slogans like “Make America White Again,” making reference to its white past when the blacks were subdued as slaves and lynched for public entertainment.

A nation of immigrants

President Trump is a reality that we face now. His pre-election rhetoric echoing the White American concerns about immigrants is perplexing given that America is a nation of immigrants, except the Native Americans population which have shrunk drastically with various historical episodes like the Trail of Tears.

Back in 1987, I was in Texas as an undergraduate carrying out some research.The delivery man asked me where I was from as he was attempting to mount the TV in my apartment. To break the ice, I said we are all foreigners here; it is just that your forefathers arrived few hundred years earlier than mine and I smiled. He paused for few seconds, digested what I had said, and carried on working, and then left quickly. He clearly did not share my sense of humour or is it black humour now?

Trump’s supporters argue they are not immigrants even though they arrived from Europe. The likes of Ann Coulter, the right-wing columnist, explained on LBC Radio Station that the US was born after independence, thus, only those who came afterwards were migrants as the US as a political entity did not exist before.

I am sure the forefathers of many in her camp did arrive after the US independence; the migration from Europe continued well into the 20th Century. As for the Native Americans, they don’t count, the Europeans just wondered in like nomads in this barren continent and decided to set up camp.


Now the thorny issue of torture has come to surface, as Donald Trump advocated using waterboarding, regardless if it works or not because those evil people deserve it. Note, it is called “waterboarding” or “sleep deprivation” or “strenuous positions” which are all classed as “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques,” because in the civilised world they don’t do torture. Moreover, they are busy castigating other nations for such practices. Just remember, others do torture, civilised countries do EIT. Likewise, others do “terrorism” and civilised nations do “war.”

Theresa May has flown to the US to ensure that the Special Relationship remains alive and she faces pressure at home to distance herself on the issue of torturing prisoners. And the pundits ask, does torture work? The question underlines the philosophy of utility, does it bring benefit? One feels also compelled to ask does slavery bring about benefit? Yes, it does, and is that enough justification to legalise it?

Maybe Trump was inspired by the horror chamber of Abu-Ghraib when US soldiers were just letting off some steam according to one nasty US Senator. I guess according to that cultural framework, sodomising a young child in front of their parents and filming it and sharing it later with friends is one way to let off some steam and satisfy some weird fetish!

How can one practice torture and yet condemn other regimes for using such methods? It is only embarrassing if you see and accept the contradiction. Many Americans have difficulty in seeing this inconsistency.

Waterboarding was one of the torture methods used by the CIA

Just look at the nutty religious flock when their TV Evangelist gets caught with his pants down after a fiery sermon. Only the money-making astute preacher expresses shame, and he repents and weeps on stage, but the tears dry up as soon as he sees his flock of sheep continue to pour donations and turn the other cheek, all because the Devil seduced the helpless preacher. Blame the devil, not the preacher who is doing the work of the good Lord.

Similarly, don’t blame Donald, blame those terrorists abroad. However, they are blaming the Americans for their presence and the torture on their lands in the first place.

Let us assume that the US would employ such methods for its security and deterrence. But that works both ways – would America accept that if their citizens are taken captive, they could be tortured similarly by their enemy. I doubt it. Just like when they insult Muslims and Islam it is free speech, and when there is a response it’s incitement to hate and muzzled.

Never mind the enemies of the US, even the allies are told it will be America first, means they can be discarded if the need arises. On a global scale, will that translate to US unilateralism propelled by this exuberance to make America great? Does this mean Trump will challenge the likes of China or Russia?

Highly unlikely, Trump is a typical bully with a track record of targeting people who are far weaker than him, just look at his business “ethics”! Hence, this grand strategy will be confined to the minorities and the most vulnerable members at home. Indeed, the American Inquisition has begun, and the question is how far and how long this will continue.

This article first appeared on Yamin Zakaria’s website. All views expressed are his alone.

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