You have to have a certain mindset to care about how other countries see us. Trump doesn’t care. Nor, seemingly, does his base. Our paths diverge right here, because I do care.
The Guardian has an opinion piece by journalist Nesrine Malik about the Trump administration’s use of the Bible to justify the current policy along the U.S.-Mexican border. Malik likens it to the way religion functions in Middle Eastern caliphates, where authoritarian dictators claim God as justification for their brutality.
“It is hard to make any coherent sense of the Trump administration’s policies. They are the result of the temperamental whims of a man-child president and the indulgences of a weak, cynical and ideological White House. There is no coherent plan, just a race to the bottom in order to appeal to a base animated by resentment and grievance. But there are moments that signal a gear change, that show us – even though there is no design – there is direction. A path has been plotted by the forces that put Trump in the White House, and they will be fed; and that feeding is then justified by any means necessary.
After Charlottesville, where a woman lost her life after being run over by a man who held racist, pro-Nazi views, Trump said that “both sides” were to blame for the violence. It was a normalisation of white supremacy. When Trump embarked on a policy of attacking the press, it was an assault on accountability. Now his administration’s use of religion to justify its laws is another step in an alarming direction . The government is not only unaccountable: it is doing God’s will. There should be no focus on the brutality of law, only on obedience to the sovereign. Sessions, the grand mufti, had pronounced his fatwa.”
Other voices who grew up in repressive environments — journalist Masha Gessen and Madeleine Albright, to name two — are sounding the warning as well.
I’ve always believed that religious zealots of all stripes have more in common than they share with the rest of us. Unfortunately, American first zealots –many of them animated by the argument that Trump’s policies are enacting God’s word — are more apt to organize and vote than the rest of us.
With every day that passes, the November elections seem to matter more.