Monday, 30 January 2017

Stop Appeasing Trump Now!


Stop Appeasing Trump Now!

All democrats everywhere, political leaders and ordinary citizens, must stop appeasing Donald Trump now.  They must condemn his racist policies as strongly as they can. They must stop pretending that he is a normal, democratically elected leader. They must stop being diplomatic.

When we think of appeasement, we think of Neville Chamberlain going to Munich in 1938 to sign an agreement with Adolf Hitler and returning to Britain, saying, “peace in our time.”

But the appeasement of Hitler started in 1933. Politicians and diplomats in the democratic Western world treated him like a normal political leader. They ignored his persecution of communists, socialists, trade unionists, liberals and Jews. Many people in Britain, the United States, and Canada even thought he had a point about communists and Jews.

It’s not sensible to make public policy decisions purely by analogy to past events. There’s also the old joke that the first person to invoke the name of Hitler in a political argument loses. But we can’t help thinking about Hitler now.

Since January 20 Trump has been decreeing arbitrary measures as if he has dictatorial powers.  At best, he is behaving like a mad king; at worst, he is what he seems to be, a racist and an Islamophobe.

People thought Hitler was mad too but that he could be controlled, and they were wrong. We can’t assume that Democrats will resume control of the Congress or Senate in 2018; we can’t assume Trump will be defeated in 2020; we can’t assume his successor in 2024 will be any more liberal than he is. We must join American democrats now to defeat Trump.

Premier Philippe Couillard of Quebec
Meantime here in Canada we see the effects of Islamophobic talk, as Premier Couillard of Quebec has pointed out. Words have meanings, words can hurt, and words can result in vicious actions such as the mass murder in a mosque on January 29 in Quebec City.

 The debate on “Quebec values” that the Parti Qu√©becois unleashed in Quebec in 2013 legitimized prejudices against Muslims. In the guise of women’s rights and protection of a secular Quebec, the PQ suggested that Muslim citizens were less valuable than other citizens.  Even though the PQ was defeated in the election a year later, the damage was done. (see my article on the Quebec Values Debate posted on December 8, 2016).

When I think about Muslims today I think of my own family. My German grandparents escaped to Norway in 1938, from where they tried to enter the US. The American official in Oslo told them that my grandmother could enter as she was a Christian, but my grandfather could not as he was a Jew. Meantime one of my father’s Jewish cousins and her five-year-old daughter were denied entry into Canada: they died in the Holocaust.

I mention these personal stories because every Muslim and non-Muslim individual denied entrance to the US in the last few days has a personal story. So does every Muslim killed and wounded on January 29 in Quebec City. They all have names; they all have families; and many have suffered in ways that those of us who live in Canada will never experience. Instead of escaping from persecution, they now face more.

We must not appease those who would deny these Muslims their humanity. We must join with the Americans demonstrating in the streets and at airports. The US is a nation in danger of being taken over by fascists, if democrats world-wide appease the Trump dictatorship.

American pro-Muslim airport demonstration

Note:(January 30, 2017) this post has been accepted as an op-ed piece in the Hamilton (Canada) Spectator and should be appearing in the next few days.





2 comments:

  1. An excellent article. Thank you for writing it.

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  2. I was a young Jewish refugee in 1939, lucky to get into US. Our part of CT sponsors Syrian families, a small step.

    Rhoda— what did you make of recent NYT article about prejudice in CA, esp Quebec?

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