Divide

Surprise, surprise. Donald Trump has done it again. He continues to promote discrimination and vulgarity, as the 2016 Presidential process brings great dissent among Americans. At a recent rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, for instance, Trump encouraged a woman to repeat invective against Ted Cruz, current U.S. Senator from Texas. “She just said a terrible thing,” Trump said, smiling. “Shout it out” (Johnson). Trump encouraging his supporter to call Cruz a “pussy” is simply unprofessional and immature; his vulgarity and rudeness is not a quality presidential candidates should condone.

This harsh invective contradicts American public school’s efforts to mitigate bullying. When political leaders direct insults at one another, it signals to younger generations that it is okay to direct vulgar language at others. One can argue that young people don’t vote, and therefore, their political opinions don’t matter, but children are likely to reflect their parents’ attitudes. For instance, nine-year-old Ava Lovely shed tears of joy after her mother told her they were going to see Donald Trump in person (Mills). Regardless of your political affiliation, would you want your president to be someone who uses invective to make his candidates feel inferior to himself? You don’t have to be a supporter of Ted Cruz to understand that what Donald Trump did at the New Hampshire rally is not an attitude our future president should reflect.

While invective against other GOP presidential candidates is encouraged at Trump rallies, peaceful Americans have often been escorted out of these events. These people are notably followers of Islam and Sikhism. For instance, at a rally in South Carolina, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab was escorted out of a rally while conducting a peaceful protest (Diamond). Similarly, a group of Sikh men holding a banner that read “Stop Hate” were also asked to leave (Wang). “You don’t have to be a Muslim to stand against anti-Muslim bigotry,” they argued. Why should an American who is shouting vulgar language at a Trump rally be encouraged to repeat her insults, but peaceful attendees be asked to leave? And why should we amplify the voices of those who condone vulgarity but suppress the voices of peaceful religious groups?

This issue is a divisive matter of race and religion that does not align with American values of peace and justice. It scares me to know that, as a Muslim, I would be forcefully escorted out of a Trump rally because some people wrongly associate my religion with the words “un-American” and “dangerous.” Contrarily, if I were Caucasian, like the majority of Trump supporters, I would be a welcome guest at these rallies. President Barack Obama said, “There is not a white America or a black America and Latino America and Asian America. There is the United States.” It’s unfortunate that the 2016 Presidential process has served to divide us as Americans. We continue to promote prejudice and bigotry while forgetting the values that built this nation, such as justice, equality, and liberty for all. Let’s think about those last two words: “…for all.” American rights and values are not limited to any one race, gender, religion, or nationality, and the framers of our Constitution did not intend for them to be exclusive. So while thousands of Trump supporters may have laughed with the woman who called Senator Ted Cruz a “pussy,” we certainly should not smile at the fact that our American values are in jeopardy because of the widespread bigotry and discrimination that politicians promote. Don’t accept bigotry as a norm in America. Do something about it. Say something. Otherwise, America will remain divided. We will forget what it’s like to be truly united as one nation.

 

Works Cited

Diamond, Jeremy. “Silently Protesting Muslim Woman Ejected from Trump Rally.” NBC News. N.p., 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. <http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/08/politics/donald-trump-muslim-woman-protesting-ejected/&gt;.

Johnson, Jenna. “Donald Trump Repeats Crowd Member’s Ted Cruz Insult: ‘He’s a Pussy.’.” Washington Post. N.p., 8 Feb. 2016. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/02/08/donald-trump-repeats-crowd-members-ted-cruz-insult-hes-a-pussy/?tid=sm_tw&gt;.

Mills, Emma. “Young Girl Cries with Excitement about Meeting Donald Trump.” The Telegraph. N.p., 27 Jan. 2016. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/donald-trump/12124464/Young-girl-cries-with-excitement-about-meeting-Donald-Trump.html&gt;.

Wang, Frances Kai-Hwa. “Sikh-American Protester Removed from Trump Rally.” NBC News. N.p., 25 Jan. 2016. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. <http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/sikh-american-protester-removed-trump-rally-n503971&gt;.

 

 

 

Liberty and Justice for All

Every day at public schools nationwide, students and teachers rise to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. This routine has been engrained into our daily schedule for decades. It represents our patriotism. Observing students around me, I see some of my peers idly muttering the Pledge, sending texts, or simply staring at the American flag. As an American, I strongly value the last few words of the Pledge, which are representative of this nation’s ideals: “…liberty and justice for all.” I feel so proud to stand alongside other members of this nation as we remind ourselves of the values that built this great country. But these same values are slowly being replaced by bigotry as anti-Muslim rhetoric increases and hate crimes are directed against African-Americans.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, stated that Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigration is “not what this country stands for,” as there are thousands of Muslims who are serving in the armed forces to protect this country (Walsh, Diamond, & Barrett, 2015). Despite Ryan’s public condemnation of the proposal, Trump gained widespread approval at a rally in Iowa. Supporters explained that they support the ban on Muslim immigration because they see it as a preventative measure for future domestic bombings (Diamond, 2015). A couple also asserted their approval of the ban at a rally in Mechanicsville, Virginia, because they want to “take their country back.” Trump has targeted areas of the United States where the number of Muslim Americans is limited. Thus, these supporters do not have the opportunity to see the contrast between peaceful Muslims and radical extremists who wrongly use Islam as a justification for terrorism. The great majority of Muslims worldwide do not share the extremists’ beliefs. However, a double standard exists. Craig Hicks, a man who shot three Muslims in North Carolina last February, does not represent every Christian or Caucasian male (Winter, 2015). Generalizing about a group of people on the basis of race, religion, or nationality, is a form of injustice and ignorance that has fueled a false sense of paranoia in this nation for decades.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942, over 127,000 Japanese Americans were interned (Japanese-American Internment, 2015). Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order to relocate all Japanese Americans to internment camps. But their relocation only spurred fear and paranoia instead of peacefully integrating people of all backgrounds. It is wrong to assume that one’s race, religion, or ethnicity automatically deems them dangerous and “un-American”. How can we recite the words “liberty and justice for all” from the Pledge of Allegiance, yet order a vast number of people to be placed in internment camps?

Not only have Americans faced injustice based on their ethnicity and religion, but they have also been discriminated against for their race. Take for instance Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy who was shot by a police officer in November, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. The officer assumed that Rice’s toy gun was a real firearm and killed the boy after judging the scene for mere seconds (Fantz, Almasy, & Shoichet, 2015). Even though the officer’s snap judgements cost the life of a child, prosecutor Tim McGinty states that evidence does not indicate criminal conduct by police. It’s no coincidence that Tamir is African-American. Everyone can easily think of several names of black Americans who have faced injustice at the hands of a police officer. Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice. When will the list end?

When I return to school on Monday morning, I will gladly recite the Pledge of Allegiance. But the fire in my heart will continue to burn with the hope that one day, there will be liberty and justice for all.

 

Works Cited

Diamond, J. (2015, December 8). Donald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S. Retrieved from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/07/politics/donald-trump-muslim-ban-immigration/

Elmir, R. (2015, December 28). Stop asking me to condemn terrorists just because I’m Muslim. Retrieved from The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/12/28/stop-asking-me-to-condemn-terrorists-just-because-im-muslim/?postshare=951451343737761&tid=ss_tw-bottom

Fantz, A., Almasy, S., & Shoichet, C. E. (2015, December 28). Tamir Rice shooting: No charges for officers. Retrieved from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/28/us/tamir-rice-shooting/

Japanese-American Internment. (2015, December 31). Retrieved from U.S. History Online Textbook: http://www.ushistory.org/us/51e.asp

Walsh, D., Diamond, J., & Barrett, T. (2015, December 8). Priebus, Ryan and McConnell rip Trump anti-Muslim proposal. Retrieved from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/08/politics/paul-ryan-trump-comments-not-who-we-are-as-a-party/index.html

Winter, M. (2015, February 16). N.C. man indicted in slayings of 3 Muslim students. Retrieved from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/16/chapel-hill-killings-muslims-parking/23514293/