By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN
One speech does not make a president nor does it signify anything more than the work of several people paid to make the speaker sound good.
That is why the glowing reviews in some quarters of President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress was so disappointing. A few have even suggested that the speech positioned him for the 2020 campaign.
But what the speech obscured is the devastating effect which the Trump administration is already having on the country.
The president is either personally directing every policy step now being taken to reverse virtually everything which his predecessor, Barack Obama, accomplished or has picked other people to do so.
* Neurologist Ben Carson, the only black in the Trump cabinet, was quoted Monday by The Huffington Post as saying at his first address to employees as secretary of Housing and Urban Development that slaves were immigrants who came “in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.” * Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a well- documented record of being accused of racism and against civil rights but is overseeing a department which should be dedicated to fighting racism and upholding the rights of Americans.
* Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has no experience dealing with public education and is an ardent advocate of charter schools, choice schools and vouchers, gimmicks that are used to undermine the public education system and destroy teachers unions.
* Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt firmly believes that global warming is due to nature, not human activity, which serves the interests of the fossil fuel and coal industries. * The president is preparing to spend billions of dollars to expand the military at a time when there is no Cold War – after all, he and his Russia counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have had a bromance going for years – and there is desperate need for domestic spending. He is also planning to boost the nation’s nuclear arsenal though the current 4,500 to 6,500 nuclear warheads in America’s stockpile are enough to destroy the planet many times over.
* The president is leading the charge by the Republican-controlled Congress to gut the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – with no guarantee that the more than 20 million Americans enrolled in the health plan will be covered in whatever comes next.
The upending of such initiatives has created a state of paranoia which is nowhere more visible than in the sustained campaign vilifying undocumented immigrants and the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, including three million in the U.S.
No doubt taking a cue from the demonization by the highest levels of government, some lower level officials and supposed supporters of Mr. Trump are subjecting these two groups to unconscionable actions.
* Romulo Avelica, a father of four, was arrested in front of their Los Angeles school as he was dropping them off. As his American- born children watched, the 48-year-old man, who has been living in the country for more than 20 years, was handcuffed and taken away.
* Sara Beltran-Hernandez, 26, and the mother of two, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and needing brain surgery, was arrested and detained.
* Police charged Adam W. Purinton, 51, with murder and two counts of pre-meditated murder in the shooting of three people at a restaurant in Olathe, Kansas. Srinivas Kuchibhotla died and Alok Madasani was wounded in the attack, both of them Indians working for Garmin, the GPS company, along with a white man who tried to intervene. Witnesses said the shooter shouted ethnic slurs at the two Indians, apparently mistaken for Muslims, and told them to go back to their country.
* Another shooter wounded a man in Kent, Washington State, after, according to reports, shouting, “Go back to your country.” He too apparently thought he was shooting a Muslim but the victim, who survived, is a Sikh from India. He was working on a car in his driveway when he was shot.
So a speech cannot be given in isolation from reality. And it is deeply dismaying that more Americans apparently do not see the pattern which is emerging. While President Trump is exchanging one set of governmental initiatives for another, which is understandable, the tone and actions of his administration reflect the thinking of very important people whom he has placed in government, whose openly stated aim is ethnic cleansing to make America – and this cannot be over-emphasized – a white bastion in a global sea of colored human beings.
They have started with the most vulnerable groups – undocumented immigrants, who many Americans have been hoodwinked into believing are the root cause of their current socio-economic woes, and Muslims, who are projected to be the cause of woes to come.