Our tweeter-in-chief’s call to another country to sanction his domestic political foes (and our duly elected representatives) is a business that we, as Americans, strongly and uniformly condemn as anti-American, against constitutional free speech, and a path down which we never want to tread.
Fact is, in Trump’s world everything he touches creates an unstable whirlwind of bad decisions that are then amended or reversed after public anger and outcry. People can’t keep living like this.
In an explicit act of crushing dissent, Trump urged that two law-abiding members of Congress, who are Muslim women of color and his outspoken critics, be barred from entering Israel. But the irony is that just a few days before, Trump bent over backwards to bully Sweden to release ASAP Rocky, a famous rapper who was rightfully arrested and in no danger, because Kim Kardashian and Kanye West asked him to intervene!
>> Read more: >> Trump has made it official: He is the greatest anti-Semite of our age | Opinion ■ To please Trump, Netanyahu turned Omar, Tlaib and BDS into prime time news | Analysis ■ Nixing Tlaib and Omar visit, Netanyahu harms Israel to assuage Trump’s ego | Analysis
There used to be a time when Netanyahu could stand in front of a joint session of Congress and criticize U.S. policy and our sitting president without one Republican denouncing his actions (in fact they invited him). But now we have a sitting U.S. president who attempted to block the visit to Israel by a congressional delegation of his political rivals.
It just doesn’t make sense. Trump’s petty vindictiveness has no bottom, yet his desperate need to be liked utterly consumes him. Does no one else see how mentally unfit he is to be the president? He is unstable and too quickly and easily influenced by his ego and emotions, which creates chaos and makes him vulnerable to manipulation from outside forces (just in case you were wondering, he colluded with Netanyahu). Too often those forces are not in the interest of American democracy.
Barring these two representatives was a shortsighted move on the part of the Israeli government too. Israel now has more in common with Saudi Arabia than it does with Western democracies, which might dissuade folks, including me, from ever giving another dime to any Israeli-based charity, while leading them to actively campaign against giving such charities, or Israel, any funds from any source.
If Netanyahu were smarter, he would have allowed Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to come to show the world that he can navigate with those with whom he has differences. Now, he just looks weaker and more malleable than he already is.
There is not a passport in the world that does not request that the bearer thereof be “allowed to pass without hindrance or delay.” Like currency, the value of a passport is backed up by the prestige, power and authority of the issuing government. For close to a century the most valued passport was the dark blue one issued by “Her Britannic Majesty’s Government.” After the second world war, U.S. passports took their place. In either case, the citizen could be absolutely sure that the government had his or her back.
When the bearer is a diplomat or an official, they not only have the government at their back, they represent the United States to the extent of their brief. In the case of a congressperson, what is represented is national sovereignty itself. Only the president can “speak” for the nation, but what he speaks on behalf of is the sovereignty which each senator and representative actually embodies.
What Trump has prostituted to his demagogic and partisan ends is not simply the value of a U.S. passport, not simply the prestige of the country that issues them, but the sovereign dignity of the country itself. The only thing worse is the sovereignty’s supine tolerance of this demagogue and, now, its acquiescence in its own debasement.
The repulsive novelty of the Trump administration is not in the horrifying actions it takes; all governments, including that of the U.S., have throughout their histories been guilty of initiating actions of cruelty because their system permits it. Many millions of people throughout the world have and are suffering under this unacceptable behavior. However, this reprehensible behavior has always been accomplished under various social camouflages to disguise their horror under proclaimed and false necessities to make them acceptable. Trump’s unacceptability, which has troubled us all, is that he entirely lacks the desire or capability to create these social masks to make these frightful performances. People are repelled not by the behavior, but by the total lack of any effort to indicate any social justification. His whole administration is constructed to brutally shove the entire world towards self-destruction and he does this openly, which makes it unacceptable. It’s an affront to our nation.
In my America, everyone gets to voice their own opinion. In Trump’s America (and apparently Netanyahu’s Israel) only the people who support them get an opinion. A second term will end our democratic republic and the rule of law. That is why we must get rid of Trump.
As for Israel, you gotta do what you gotta do. But you are on your own.
Ryan Morrison is a political science student at the University of Oklahoma.
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