Monday 13 June 2016

Donald Trump's incoherent and distasteful Twitter bragging

Donald Trump's disgusting brand of hatemongering rhetoric is becoming increasingly familiar. His willingness to lie, slur, fearmonger and generally appeal to the basest human instincts in order to generate ever more publicity for himself is appalling, but clearly successful given that he's managed to convince so many millions of Republicans to endorse him as their candidate to become President of the United States.

Trump's misogyny and anti-Hispanic racism are disgusting to behold, but his anti-Muslim sentiments really are something else. The Republicans have thrown up some pretty awful Presidential candidates in the past (their last candidate was the appalling vampire capitalist Mitt Romney) but nothing to compare with Donald Trump. His proposed policy of banning Muslims from entering the United States (even if they are US citizens) is clearly a bigoted and deeply illiberal political policy. I've challenged people who support the imposition of religious purity tests at US borders to explain how such a policy is compatible with the US constitution in the past, but to no avail. People who support the bigoted collective punishment of millions of innocent people are not generally the type to think things through carefully or explain their reasoning.

Donald Trump's reaction to the Orlando nightclub massacre was appalling even by the disgustingly low standards he has already set for himself. Trump used the murder of dozens of people as an opportunity to gloat and congratulate himself on Twitter and then regurgitate his Nazi style policy of imposing religious purity tests at US borders.

After getting over the initial revulsion that somebody would use such a tragedy to pat themselves on the back and promote the kind of deeply bigoted agenda that many of the victims would surely have opposed, it's also worth noting how staggeringly incoherent Trump actually is.

The Killer Omar Mateen was a New York born US citizen, so it's absolutely clear that Donald Trump's religious purity tests at US borders would have had no influence on the situation at all (other than probably stirring up more domestic extremists full of rage at the US policy of openly discriminating against innocent Muslims).

The more we learn about Omar Mateen the more ridiculous Trump's distasteful gloating looks. Mateen was known to the US secret services for his extremist views, but he was still allowed to legally buy the kind of powerful assault rifle that he used to carry out the biggest mass killing in modern US history. Surely the answer to this problem isn't to ban peaceful law-abiding Muslims from entering the US, but to ban people from buying the kinds of gun that nobody outside the military would ever actually need to use (especially if they have been identified as potential terrorists by the FBI).

The view that this massacre had more to do with the easy availability of powerful weapons to violent and unstable people than the religious background of the murderer is supported by the evidence. Mateen's former wife has said that he was a violent and unstable person, the FBI admit that he was known to them for his extremist views, yet he was allowed to legally buy the weapons he used to carry out the massacre. Additionally it has been claimed by people who knew him that Mateen barely practiced Islam at all.

The main issue isn't that Mateen is of Islamic origin, it's that a violent and emotionally unstable person who had been investigated by the FBI for his extremist views was allowed to legally purchase the weapons he used to massacre dozens of people.

The trouble for Trump is obvious. He counts an awful lot of extreme-right gun nuts amongst his supporters, so any attempt to clamp down on the availability of powerful assault weapons to violent and emotionally unstable people with extremist views would surely cost him votes, so instead of even admit what the actual problem is, he's decided to bypass it completely by using the tragedy as an excuse to indulge in a spot of bigotry and distasteful self-congratulation.

It's bad enough that Trump opportunistically used this tragedy to wheel out his bigoted and unconstitutional policy of imposing religious purity tests at US borders, but slapping himself on the back about how right he is when his Nazi style border policy would have had no effect at all on the massacre just goes to show how fundamentally incoherent his bigoted policies actually are.

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