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When will Trump be stopped?

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Last week, we were treated to a tragi-comic situation, sparked by disgusting utterances supposedly made by Trump.They were not only offensive, but absurd and sickening. He referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa as s**tholes.  Some persons in the room claimed, at first, not to remember hearing him say those words, but then later denied that he said them. What convenient memories! Imagine the “so-called” leader of the “free world” stooping to this level of discourse. This, from a country that claimed to set standards that poor, developing countries should imitate. Then Trump appeared and spoke and leading Republicans, Congress people and others in the high ranks took cover, even while defending him. At last, some in the media have now got the courage to label him a downright racist. All of this was being played out as the nation got ready to celebrate Martin Luther King’s holiday, which, incidentally, gave Trump a chance to play more golf.

Haiti was one of the countries named, but he was referring to all of us. He is against granting immigration status to our people, preferring instead to have from Norway, a country resembling the US only in having a dominant white population. Haiti is a member of CARICOM, so we should be clearly offended. We never really understood Haiti. The first country to have overturned slavery, their struggle against France aided the new nation that was emerging after the War of American Independence. But America, from the beginning, was hostile to the new black republic. What impact might that have on countries still enjoying the fruits of slavery! They must not succeed! America invaded, raped, and controlled Haiti, directly from 1915 to 1934 and indirectly after. It imposed and supported dictators. Haiti was forced to pay reparations to France, which also helped to cripple it economically.

Trump has no hesitation in insulting people and adopting policies not in the best interest of America and the “free world”, once he could please his base that, like him, is fixated with Fox News. It is as though they exist in a different world. We could easily dismiss his base, which is itself gradually shrinking, but when top elements in the Republican Party stand by and allow the US to be dragged into the very sh**hole he is accusing others of inhabiting, then it exposes America for what it really is. Trump is indeed exposing its dark underbelly. Democratic countries are governed not only by constitutional provisions, but by political norms that evolved over the years and have become established and widely accepted. Trump is defying all of that. Over the past 40 years presidents have been releasing their tax returns, but not Trump. If he lasts a full presidential term, the US will become a different country, mostly for the worse. He moves from one absurdity to even greater ones and many Americans condone them. It must, however, be pointed out that there are many fighting against his atrocious behaviour and idiotic policies. What should be of concern to Americans is that the rest of the world is losing respect for their country; even their long-standing partners, like Britain.  The Queen who is head of the Commonwealth, which is made up of many African countries and countries with black majorities, must surely be embarrassed, for to embrace Trump is to send a signal to the Commonwealth.

The Trump issue is one for the US to fix, but given America’s role in the world it is of global concern. Our voices must be heard. After all, we have relatives and friends in the US who will be affected by his insane and racist policies. The question remains, how much longer can the US and the world tolerate the absurdities of a president who has clearly gone off the rack?

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.

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