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A firestorm of political bigotry

The American political scene exploded big time when presidential candidate Donald Trump, in another blockbuster stunned much of America with his intention to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. This has met with a rising storm of criticism even from his own Republican Party, and perhaps will raise fresh questions about the state of the American culture.

One would have to wonder whether Trump is radicalising his supporters through tactics that ignite hatred against the very values that America was founded on. Bigotry is nothing new in America, whose people killed each other by the thousands in the infamous Civil War to decide whether full human rights should be given to all, regardless of race, creed or religion.

At least, that is what President Lincoln felt would bring proper justice. Many, including members of Lincoln's party, were far from happy over extending full rights to former slaves, and of course one man chose to express himself with a gun, ending Lincoln's life. What that bullet failed to do was extinguish the flame of justice and freedom, and after more than 200 years, that flame continues to burn.

Many Americans, black and white, gave their lives in the pursuit of equal rights for all, including the late Martin Luther King Jr, who was also cut down by a hate-filled gunman who thought he could extinguish the flame of freedom.

Instead the flame grew bigger and brighter despite some who felt the bullet would preserve a system that represented one of the darkest moments for humanity.

For Trump to refer to Americans who disagree with his vitriolic descriptions of Mexicans, Muslims and, in some cases, women as stupid is so mind-boggling that it defies explanation.

That he boasts of leading in the polls despite extremely disrespectful rants that incite his followers is testimony that either America has been radicalised by reality TV or the inner structure of values the nation was founded on have virtually evaporated.

We know that is not true because sound-thinking Americans from all walks of life have expressed condemnation over judging an entire religion through terrorist acts by a few who have a twisted view of proper justice.

The Deep South once had a period where just being black was a death sentence, and it took brave blacks and whites to challenge such a system, no matter the price, and many paid with their lives.

Although much has changed, there are still people who are too quick to hate others simply because they look and dress different. That is a sad reality that still haunts America.

In the diverse world today, people try to learn from those dark days of open bigotry and are willing to embrace people who respect freedom and laws of society designed to promote understanding, tolerance and harmony, irrespective of where they come from.

This is not a time to call for the banning of people because of a religious connection. Blind supporters of Trump's negative outbursts, which appear to have no end, seem to have lost the meaning of the Statue of Liberty: with open arms for all who seek a better life in a land where opportunity exists for anyone who aspires to peace and freedom.

Despite the Civil War, and later the election of a black president, the nation continues to struggle with lingering racism through pockets of those who cling to negative attitudes of the past.

America is a great country with many wonderful people who give of themselves daily to uphold values that bring people together, rather than plant seeds of divisiveness. Those are the Americans who are strong enough to overcome any type of senseless violence, whether it is terrorism or crimes against society.

Hopefully during the next Republican debate next Tuesday, the gates will swing wide open for powerful voices to reject any proposal that carries tones of bigotry in judging people according to their religion. Bermuda has always enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the US and most Bermudians are fully aware that there are evil people in the world and know also that bringing people closer together will make any country stronger.

That should be the goal of all the presidential candidates.

Disrespectful rants: that Trump boasts of leading in the polls despite his controversial statements is testimony that either America has been radicalised by reality TV or the inner structure of values the nation was founded on have virtually evaporated (Cartoon provided by Daryl Cagle)

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Published December 09, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 09, 2015 at 1:59 am)

A firestorm of political bigotry

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