Pope Francis recently stated that Donald Trump wants to “build walls and not build bridges” when discussing the policies he is promoting in his efforts to become the Republican candidate in the presidential elections at the end of this year. What Pope Francis was referring to, was the fact that Trump has repeatedly stated he wants to close off America to pretty much everyone who is not American (although, he wants to kick out some Americans too). For example, Trump thinks that the USA should prohibit Muslims from entering the country, as a counter-terrorism effort and his reasoning for this? To promote his nationalistic goals and protect America as “the greatest country on Earth”. However, in this article I’m going to argue that the measures Trump promotes are actually unpatriotic and make America look a far less great country than he argues it is, as it restricts the liberties and freedoms that America has built itself upon, as well as suggesting he wants to hide away from the problem of terrorism, instead of attempting to resolve the issues. Sorry Donald…
America has long had methods to combat terrorism and deal with conflict. The US approach to the Cold War represented a nation gearing up for combat on a level never seen before, but never actually utilising that preparation. Instead, the US and USSR merely made sure that each of them knew they had the power to cause incredible levels of destruction and that along with controls from their respective allies was a successful enough tactic to ensure the Cold War never grew to its full capabilities – conclusively it meant that it was a war where no acts of violence actually occurred. Due to this, the Cold War is best known for being a “what if?” war, as well as a representation of incredibly rapid progression in our space exploration, rather than being remembered as the time humanity let technologic and scientific discovery destroy its own very existence. However, the tragic occurrences ion the 11th of September 2001 fundamentally changed the way America would deal with conflict. 9/11 posed a very different threat from that faced during the Cold War. Firstly, instead of being threatened by a nation, the US were instead facing threats from an international extremist organisation, with no restrictive borders or nationality – the only common link being that they all share a religion, which over 1 billion people follow. Secondly, this was not merely a threat of violence towards the US, but a successfully carried out attack at the very heart of their society. This was not a war where we would constantly question who will strike first, Al-Qaeda had answered that for us and it became a question of “how do we combat this threat?”. The Department of Homeland Security and the Bush administration quoted the importance of protecting “the Homeland” and it’s citizens from further attacks, making these terrorists pay for what they have done, all whilst ‘promoting human dignity’. How did they do this?
In search of protecting its land and peoples and making the terrorists pay, post 9/11 their legal/political tactics represent pre-emption, i.e. the USA took to destroying areas of the Middle East where they think such terrorists groups may reside before any such attacks can occur again. In the context of the immediate aftermath of 9/11, this was carried out by beginning the War in Iraq, regardless of such a declaration being incompatible with UN guidelines and therefore “an illegal war”. The idea behind this was at first that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, threatening our safety as they may take these millions of missiles they have developed and drop them all over the West. Therefore, we pre-empted such an attack and dropped bombs on them. Even after finding out these weapons of mass destruction did not exist, the idea that they could even think about one day creating such weapons was enough of a justification to continue such a war. Furthermore, the legislature quickly introduced numerous pieces of legislation which increased security measures, by restricting everyone’s liberty.
Now, according to Trump, this is simply not good enough. Measures such as more stringent border controls, increasing surveillance and investing much more into counter-terrorism units are not protecting America sufficiently. Therefore, Trump wants to (in effect) make America more reclusive; removing some people’s rights and freedoms here completely, to better protect the rest of them from attacks, in an attempt to suggest he wants to protect the American way of life and show himself to be patriotic. This is quite simply incompatible.
Firstly, America prides itself on being “the land of the free”, where the Constitution protects their rights to speak, live, move and carry guns freely; the necessities, facing limited restrictions on their decisions to live their lives as they please. What Trump wants to do is counter-productive in this sense. He wants to restrict such rights, increasing security even further, at the expense of these liberties his beloved country is built upon. Of course, that doesn’t mean Americans will have to give up their guns, that freedom will inevitably always be safe, but every other liberty will be restricted. Secondly, the suggestion from Trump that America should in some cases simply close their borders, suggests he wants America to just hide away from such global problems. Because to close the borders does not do anything to support resolving the problem of terrorism. It is like suggesting that a fire in your kitchen can be dealt with by simply closing the kitchen door and continuing to eat your Wendy’s in the Living Room whilst watching FOX News. Is that really the American way Donald?
On a more serious note, Donald Trump is belittling the efforts the American people have gone to, to show that terrorism is not a problem they are willing to run away from. When visiting Ground Zero recently, although I experienced an overwhelming sadness at what had occurred at that sight nearly 15 years ago, I predominantly noticed the incredible strength of human kindness that was evident. For example, the recently completed One World Trade Center communicated to me that America wants to show terrorist organisations that no matter the scale of damage and upset they may have caused, they will not live in fear, instead continuing to grow, progress and enjoy the freedoms American patriots pride themselves on and which organisations such as Al-Qaeda and IS wish to destroy. Trump does not support such strength, his actions promote accepting that such organisations represent a very real threat to us and therefore we should do anything we can to ensure such attacks cannot occur again, even if it means the restrictions in place take away the freedom patriotism in the U.S. founds itself upon.
So, to summarise, the reasons I believe Trump is unpatriotic (regardless of what his merchandise says), is because patriotism in the U.S. argues that they live in the greatest nation on Earth because of their way of life and because they are a world leader. Whether you believe that or not is not my concern, but whatever your belief Trump’s policies will severely weaken those foundations, completely removing such freedoms from many and refusing to deal with this global crisis as a world leader, instead deciding the best option is for everyone to head to the Winchester, grab a pint and wait for this all to blow over. His prejudiced approach to politics is ruining all that America prides itself on. How long will it be until the citizens who care about the future of their country realise that building walls will not make America great again, no matter what that bloke off the Apprentice says?