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Monday, December 14, 2015

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Says It Best

In November, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar absolutely nailed it with his biting commentary on Republican presidential primary candidate Ben Carson. 

This month, the NBA champion sets his aim at Donald Trump, who has maintained a substantial lead above all other candidates in the GOP presidential primary field. 

Trump’s campaign has been a non-stop roller coaster of nearly blatant white supremacist rhetoric and fear mongering. 

That fear mongering provides the groundwork for Abdul-Jabbar’s suggestion that a terrorist campaign is growing in strength and power in the United States, and its leader sports a terrible comb over wig. Abdul-Jabbar writes:
“The terrorist campaign against American ideals is winning. Fear is rampant. Gun sales are soaring. Hate crimes are increasing. Bearded hipsters are being mistaken for Muslims. And 83 percent of voters believe a large-scale terrorist attack is likely here in the near future. Some Americans are now so afraid that they are willing to trade in the sacred beliefs that define America for some vague promises of security from the very people who are spreading the terror… I’m not talking about ISIS. I’m talking about Donald Trump.”
Damn, talk about a truth bomb. Abdul-Jabbar then goes on to compare Trump’s campaign to that of the FBI’s definition of what terrorism is. Abdul-Jabbar’s conclusion is that Trump is running a political campaign that rivals that of any terrorist group. 

Except that Trump isn’t (as of yet) ordering any of his followers to inflict violence on anyone who isn’t a member of their ranks. Even through they have on their own, at the first sight of dissent against their leader

Trump is rallying support from fascist individuals and organizations that have historically committed violence against minorities, including many white supremacist organizations.

If Trump is radical, why exactly does he have such a strong following? Abdul-Jabbar’s analysis of what the average Trump supporter looks like may provide some helpful insight into why he has such a strong following, allowing him to maintain his dominance in the election:
“They are impervious to facts or truth because their (understandable) frustration and anger at partisan greed and incompetence have fatigued them out of critical thinking. Like deranged newscaster Howard Beale in Network, they are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore. To express their outrage, they have rallied around a so-called “outsider” with no political experience, no detailed policies, and whacky ideas that subvert the very Constitution that he would be required to swear to uphold. Electing him would be like asking the clown at a child’s birthday party to start juggling chainsaws.”
Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have put out statements saying that Donald Trump is not that much different from the rest of the GOP. I agree with those sentiments. 

As the Southern Poverty Law Center notes, once the GOP co-opted the ideals of the anti-immigration movement, they legitimized those ideals, putting them out into the mainstream and resulting in “draconian laws” to be put in place.

What Trump’s campaign is doing is speaking those same people on the radical right-wing who have yet to see their cause move forward on a national scale. 

Now that Trump has tested the water, and been very successful in bringing the ideals of right-wing terror groups into the mainstream, he has set the tone for the rest of the candidates in the GOP. 

Any establishment Republican can now say something completely ridiculous, yet still appeals to the radical right and sound completely reasonable next to Trump. 

Believe me, if Trump does not receive the Republican Party nomination, whatever candidate does will be compared to Trump.

This campaign of fear based tactics is not going away, and it will result in more pain and suffering on United States soil, than the Islamic State could ever hope to achieve.

Author Joe Fletcher is a writer and community organizer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter