By Eustace C. Jackson.
July 22, 2016.
A Salam Alekum brothers and sisters. Eustace greets you.
At exactly 8:08pm on August 8 of 2008, the great people of China launched what was to become the most magnificent ceremony to open an Olympic games in modern times and perhaps ever. Beijing pulled all the stops and spared nothing. They built an arena like no other – the Bird’s Nest – and dazzled the world with such architectural and aesthetic wonders as the Ice Cube swimming complex. The scale and splendour of the opening ceremony compelled London, the next Olympics host, to begin to temper the expectations for the next Olympics opening ceremony.
Something that happened in the build-up to all the fun and fanfare left an indelible print in Eustace’s consciousness. It was about a young girl, who was to sing a Chinese national song. They sought and found the lovely girl with the magical voice, tone, pitch and inflection to deliver a perfect rendition of the song. Then the Chinese authorities decided to make that presentation a 2-girl show – the girl with the magical voice will sing and a different girl would be on the stage for the visual presentation, probably lip-synching. Why? Well, because the Chinese authorities had determined that the girl with the golden voice simply wasn’t good looking enough to be presented to a global audience. For the Chinese, it was very basic incontrovertible logic – you always should put your best foot forward. And that was why when the world gasped in collective shock, the Chinese were perplexed. Isn’t honesty, transparency and forthrightness the virtues incessantly demanded of them by the west? Why are they now being castigated for being truthful? They then provided side-by-side pictures of the girls, as if to say “how’s this even controversial!”
They just didn’t get it. And neither does Donald J. Trump. When he elicited outrage by calling for a ban on Muslims from entering the US, he decided to put it to bed by reading the statement at a campaign event. The statement read something like “I, Donald J. Trump, is calling for the total and complete shutdown of Muslims from entering the United States”, he read. And that is the point where it got theatrically interesting, as he finished the sentence as follows: “until our country’s representatives figure out what the hell is going on.” Boys and girls, in the unlikely event that you haven’t already, Eustace implores you to seek and see that video of the Trump campaign event of December 7, 2015. He read that statement like he’d never seen it before that night. He held the statement down with his left hand and gesticulated with his right. He dug his face into the statement for most of the short statement and lifted his face to deliver the coup de grace. He held out his right hand, palm up and with a look of bewildered indignation, he blurted out the words “… figure out what the hell is going on!” His demeanor and facial expression was that of a one, who’s wondering aloud, what could possibly be wrong with what he had just said.
Such is the folly of the Republican nominee for president in 2016. That is 2016, not 1916. He went on to suggest that Muslim communities be surveiled, in a long series of many thoughtless, provocative and imbecilic proclamations. That is the Trump who has managed to become the de-facto head of the party of Lincoln. He has brought the bar of ethics and convention so low that he has become a bar unto himself. A downward facing bar. In interview after interview, he has posited that the “Muslim world hates us.” He then follows that with the vaguest of vague phrases: “there’s something going on.”
Perhaps the most dreary reality of the Trump foolhardiness on this particular matter is the fact that he continues to attract a wide and growing audience. And there’s a reason why. Trump points to the tragic attacks, perpetrated by misled and deviant Muslim youths, in France, Turkey, Belgium and elsewhere. He also points to attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando and elsewhere in the homeland, as evidence of his preposterous positions. While these (Trump’s outrageous positions) might ring true as a result of repetitive affirmations, the reality is we’re a nation of laws. And our laws and statutes abhor the concept of collective guilt – even when we had acted out of sorts under extraordinary circumstances. The Japanese internment of 1942 remains an enduring stain on our collective national conscience.
While we prohibit collective guilt, there’s moratorium on the charge of collective responsibility and accountability.
We, as a people, must bear a certain level of responsibility for the actions of our kinfolks, especially when we notice deviant and untoward behavior and keep quiet. Why? Because we don’t want to turn on our kinfolks? What about the kinfolks our kinfolks set out to murder? And that’s the point that needs to be made and received. We all have an obligation to see and treat one another as we really are – members of the same diverse family. So when you see something and say or do nothing, you’re not only legally complicit and criminally culpable, you’re also breaching the most sacred of trusts when you demonstrate apathy towards the safety of your brethren. If you have children, you can’t turn a blind eye or a deaf ear when you become aware of one’s plot to harm another. And that is where, sadly, Trump has a valid point. The San Bernardino and the Orlando attacks could’ve been foiled had the people in the know spoken out. These demonic plots are And that is very bad. We can and m ust do better.
Eustace is reminded of an incident that played out in the heartland of Kenya in East Africa. Late last year, a couple buses carrying about 100 passengers were ambushed by terrorist operators of the Al Shabbab terrorist outfit. As is their known modus operandi, they ordered the Muslims to separate themselves from the Christians so as to give themselves clear cut targets for slaughter. But something sterling happened this time around. At the risk of their own lives, Muslim passengers didn’t bulge. This was potentially fatally risky because Shabbab doesn’t mind collateral damage from time to time. No amount of suasion or threats would make them move. They stood firm and said to the blood-thirsty terrorists, “if must kill, then kill all of us. There are no Christains here, we are all Muslims!” Wow, “we are all Muslims!”
That is a good blueprint for the task at hand. Sink or swim, we’re in this boat together and are bound by the well documented ideals of our Founders. On that basis, we must stand together firmly against our enemies – foreign and domestic!
Talking of domestic foes, Trump, in an egregious display of disregard to the concepts of equal protection and religious freedoms, was later to call for an extensive surveillance of Muslims in their communities and their places of worship. And for all his troubles, Eustace is about to thank him profusely for a job well done. And here’s why.
With the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the new country came under the full domination of the anglo-saxon branch of our forebearers and they weren’t particularly nice and welcoming to other ethnicities and races. Africans were brought in as sub-human slaves only as good as their manpower. Mexicans were classified alongside dogs. Italians were treated like dandruff and the Irish like pus. We interred the Japanese and maligned the Catholics. So brethren, the initial friction with newcomers is and has been the rite of passage into the American family. Now, Trump’s bigoted words have put us in the spotlight. We know now that Muslims constitute 1% our population and that isn’t insignificant. Several elections of yore have been won or lost on the margin. If you doubt Eustace, then ask Al Gore and he just might tell you the inconvenient truth about winning the popular vote and losing the Florida “hanging chad* SCOTUS modulated election by less than 600 votes and along with that, the p residency. So we must turn Trump’s demagoguery to a clarion call to stand and be counted and like Prsident Obama says often, don’t boo and Eustace might add, don’t pout – vote!
Finally, if/when any other malicious and dubious ignoramus personalities demonstrate their hateful xenophobia, stand tall and educate them, that no American is more American than another and remind them that in the words of our able president, unless you’re Native American, somebody brought you here. And we’re in this together because E Pluribus Unum! Because we’re all Muslims. Because we’re all Christians. And above all, because we’re all first and foremost, Americans. And the rulebook is completely and stolidly on our side. Peace be unto you!
And the people said:
Trump: Muslims hate us, although they love me and they pay me a lot of rent! There’s something going on there. Thousands of Muslims thank me everyday. They say “thank you Mr. Trump for banning us. We love you!”
Hillary: Trump is a bigot. Demagogue is Trump. Not even fit to be president of the phantom Trump U.
Koboko: Amen Amen! We’re all Americans first and foremost!