Opinion | Politics

Doug George-Kanentiio: Donald Trump and his campaign of hatred






Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, fourth from left, with family and running mate Mike Pence, fifth from left, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. Photo from GOP Convention

Trump's Hatred Cannot Be Sustained
By Doug George-Kanentiio

The recently concluded Republican convention in which Donald Trump was nominated as its candidate for president was remarkable for its anger, its animosity and outright hatred directed towards former US senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

There was not even the slightest effort to appeal to the generosity and compassion which have long been a part of the American spirit whether expressed in the Marshall Plan after World War II or the idealism and hope in programs such as the Peace Corps.

The Republican delegates not only called for Ms. Clinton's arrest but went as far as accusing her of treason and a demand for her to be executed upon conviction.

Speaker as speaker attacked her as a woman, a former senator, as Secretary of State and as the spouse of former president Bill Clinton. Their passion was heated as they blamed her for every instance of confrontation and violence in the world during her tenure as the nation's director of foreign affairs. From Libya to Syria it was all Ms. Clinton's fault.

Then came the July 21st acceptance speech of Donald Trump in which he spent an hour painting a such a gloomy picture of the current state of life in America that one would think it was either the depths of the Great Depression or crippled by the internal divisions of the Civil War.

Chaos, crime, corruption has, according to Trump, now become endemic and only he has the ability to restore law and order in the US. Give him dictatorial powers and he will, on his first day as president, bring an end to violence. Make him the singular power and he will bring prosperity to all law abiding Americans, end unfair trade agreements, halt illegal immigration and begin a massive expansion of the American military which will be used to expand attacks upon all of the nation's enemies.

By citing "radical Islamic" terrorism and the denial of entry into America by visitors from unnamed nations where Islam is paramount followed by threats of military assaults Trump clearly wants to provoke an attack on US soil. He can then exploit this by challenging Hillary Clinton's ability to protect the US and offering himself as the only one with the ability to make America safe.

All he needs is for Americans to surrender their freedoms and their reason to him. In times of crisis, fabricated or otherwise, most citizens of nations under stress will voluntarily give up their rights to dissent, qualify freedom of the press, suspend personal liberties if they can be assured that their physical well being is being shielded from dangers real and imagined.

This is a real factor in human history and in countries across the planet, industrialized or developing, rural or urban. As has been demonstrated in places such as Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan having an educated populace or an aggressive media is no guarantee against the rise of a despot, all it takes is the ability to exploit fear and to create a common enemy, to use the media to repeat lies and exaggerations.

In contrast to Trump's description of America in decline the truth is that for all of his charges the truth is that by every objective standard the US is better off now than it has been in many years. Unemployment is down, there has been 6 years if steady economic growth, crime is on the decline, the stock market is headed to historic highs, illegal immigration has been radically reduced, there is new innovations in all areas of industry, the environment is cleaner, the people more secure in their homes and jobs.

Running an entire campaign on suspicion and fear cannot be sustained. Voters, in the absence of a real threat, will cast their ballots to that candidate who has a vision, a compelling message based upon the nation's potential and its goodness.

Hatred cannot hold the nation's attention beyond the wild, irresponsible speeches of a man who has nothing to offer the country by demonizing ethnic and religious groups and play the ends against the middle.

As for the Mohawk people his attacks on Akwesasne in an effort to undermine the Catskills casino plans were nothing short of insulting. That proposal was a terrible deal the people elected to reject but the bitterness lingers.

Doug George-Kanentiio is an Akwesasne Mohawk currently residing on Oneida Territory with his wife Joanne Shenandoah.

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