E pluribus Trump

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

If a fart could be analyzed, Americans would analyze Donald Trump's fart as well. The billionaire Republican presidential aspirant has so driven Americans nuts that he is now all they ever talk about -- on tv, in bars, churches, at dinner, even dreams. If the US elections can be moved back a year, the extra time could quite possibly spark another civil war. Over Trump.

This hyperanalyzing of Trump is a symptom of something perhaps uniquely American. Maybe Americans have become too educated. Too much education has driven Americans into thinking everything has to be broken down and figured out. Not that it is wrong to do so, only that if a person spends all his time trying to understand the heat, chances are he will miss the beautiful sunshine.

Trump has been called every derogatory name in the book. And that is a truly poor and miserable way of responding to some of the valid points he has raised in this great marketplace of ideas called democracy that America supposedly symbolizes and is expected to guarantee. Well, here is this guy, the face of free enterprise and American swagger. And everybody wants him gagged and lynched in the market square, for no other fault than speaking his mind.

Quite laughably, Britain, now mostly playing only second fiddle to America, refused to pass up the chance to reinforce the dubious distinction. The venerable British Parliament, in an unprecedentedly disappointing move, demeaned itself by actually debating a possible ban on Trump should he come to visit. Why? Because Trump suggested banning Muslims - not from entering Britain, because he is not British, but from entering America, because that is his country.

Thus infected, now it is everybody on both sides of the Atlantic jumping in on the suggested Muslim ban, tearing it to as many pieces as anyone would care to bite. In so doing, everyone missed the big picture completely - that Trump is not imposing, just suggesting, because he is not yet the president, that if they do not want him as president, all they need do is not vote for him. And that would be it. Muslims can then still gleefully enter the US at Trump's expense.

Trump never suggested banning Muslims as a permanent policy. He qualified it by saying that while not all Muslims are terrorists, virtually every terrorist there is today is a Muslim. So, until America figures out a way to deal with this deadly fact, Trump said his temporary ban will buy America time to secure the safety of all Americans.

More importantly, Trump never said it as a matter of religion. To suggest that he did is to lay bare what everybody in America probably feels but just could get around to voice - that it is no longer possible to utter the word Muslim in America without bringing religion into the conversation, much like saying the word bomb in an airplane is now by law an act of terrorism.

But Muslims and bans and America and Britain are not just one burst Trump bubble that Americans and Brits are ashamed to recall. In 2004, as America still struggled to deal with 9/11, the popular British singer Cat Stevens, who on converting to Islam took on the name Yusuf Islam, was banned from entering America for no other reason than that his Muslim name sent red flags waving all across the US security apparatus.

If you really get down to it, can you still trust America if the suggestion Trump made as a private citizen exercising his right to free speech is causing more Americans to lose sleep than when the US government banned Cat Stevens for no other reason than that he has a Muslim name? Analyzing a fart, Trump's or otherwise, may not be possible anytime soon. But can you keep a straight face now that America has actually started debating Trump's hair?












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