Recently I’ve stopped seeing Donald Trump as a comic sideshow and woken up to the fact that something fundamentally disturbing is happening in the Land of the Free.
Trump, of course, is the bombastic billionaire who stood the U.S. political establishment on its head to emerge as the Republican frontrunner for president.
With government approval at an all-time low in the U.S. his blustery individualism and outsider status have proven irresistible.
But, increasingly, Trump is sounding xenophobic, bigoted and downright dangerous.
I confess I’ve watched the Republican presidential debates just to hear what wild and crazy stuff he’d say next. But as the weeks pass and his status as the GOP frontrunner solidifies the smile is fading.
Trump said he wanted Muslim-Americans to register with a government database, backing off only after being accused, correctly, of mimicking the laws the Nazis imposed on Jews.
But he’s determined to impose increased surveillance on the nation’s Muslims and hasn’t ruled out warrantless searches or shutting down mosques in the event “bad things” happen.
“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before,” Trump has warned ominously.
He claimed to have seen thousands in New Jersey cheer as the World Trade Centre came tumbling down, then retweeted a graphic that claimed blacks are responsible for killing most whites in America.
The first never happened and the second proved wrong but his popularity never waivered, which is equally disturbing.
This is the same Donald Trump, remember, who fanned the flames by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, and whose “core principals” of immigration reform include building a wall across the southern U.S. border.
Trump isn’t the first to blame minorities for all the country’s problems and he won’t be the last. But he is the frontrunner of the Republican Party, and it’s time Canadians took notice.
At a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Nov. 21 Trump supporters attacked a black activist who showed up to protest what he called “the rise of the next Hitler.”
When Mercutio Southall Jr. tried to get close to the stage a scuffle broke out and the crowd assaulted him.
“They called me n*****, monkey, and they shouted ‘all lives matter’ while they were kicking and punching me,” he said.
The next morning Trump told the hosts of Fox & Friends that Southall is a troublemaker who deserved what he got.
Donald Trump the amusing blowhard is morphing into Donald Trump the rigid demagogue. And what’s most troubling is the more the billionaire businessman plays on people’s fears and prejudice, the better he does in the polls.