Listening to the shameful speech by President Donald J. Trump on the occasion of his inauguration, it became crystal clear that what America and the world at large had witnessed was nothing short of a blunt, dark, gloomy and populist Hitlerism. If anyone had any doubt, if anybody had any shred of hope, if anyone was willing to “give him a chance”, it has all dashed away. Swept by an ugly torrent of ultra-nationalistic harangue aimed at making us a nation of bigots, a nation where our very core motto of unity “E Pluribus Unum” has been brazenly trampled on in broad daylight and is seriously threatened. A nation that within a span of just a few minutes, on the famous steps of democracy no less, has been reduced to a meaningless and aimless collection of human beings who were portrayed as having nothing good in common. The only commonalities had been defined by Mr. Trump as “carnage”, “poverty”, “drugs” and rampant crime. Absent was all the goodness that makes America great indeed such as the heights of the cultural achievements by the various “Pluribus” that make up the “Unum”. The technological and higher education achievements that are the envy of the world. And the list goes on. A Black Friday descended on America. Temporarily.
We, The People, were subjected by an elected leader to a vision of divisiveness and extreme nationalism (surely not to be confused with patriotism) that is rooted in the darkest of human traits. Rooted in the age-old hatred of any form of diversity. And we thought that such backwardness had been eradicated from our lives, is not possible in what many of us believe is an age of enlightenment. We, The People, or at least those of us who continue to cherish the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, have graduated from those darkest chapters in history. Yes, America have known all too well the bloody and terrible consequences of hatred, of bigotry, of racism and of unbridled conservatism. What do they seek to conserve? Are we going to witness a government engaged in a relentless quest to revert America into a long-gone era of discrimination and social injustice? Can we, The People, believe anything that comes out of the Trump White House if all proven facts and indisputable falsehoods are being vehemently disputed by the White House own made up “alternative facts” as the chief WH counselor in her infinite wisdom put it?
Mr. Trump touched upon public education as being “flush with cash” and accused it of being a system that produces dismal results. He should have known better – the overwhelming majority of the students in America’s top universities, public and private alike, are the products of their local public schools. People like him who attended private prep schools constitute a small minority in any given institution of higher learning.
And yes, as if under the spell of the National Rifle Association he avoided naming one of the chief causes of what he referred to as “carnage” – the unchecked and unlimited availability of firearms and high capacity assault rifles. Again, he should have known better – how many innocent lives had been snuffed out by random gun-related violence in cities such his hometown. But perhaps we should not blame him, from the height of his penthouse, behind the thick darken glass windows all people are reduced to tiny dots and his city looks as perfect as a postcard. If Mr. Trump is serious about stopping the “carnage” he should endeavor to meet head-on the issue of firearms, reviving the necessary legislative steps attempted by his predecessor, but blocked by Congress, and making them a reality. But the “second amendment people” who voted for him in droves will make sure he does not.
Or perhaps the forces of reason and pragmatism will somehow prevail. But fears and concerns exist not only in America but across the globe, in Europe, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. The only one tiny spot on our planet that gleefully and enthusiastically celebrates Mr. Trump’s entry into the White House is Israel.
The extreme right government and its representatives in the United States and the United Nations could not hold back their jubilant fervor. They not only exalted President Trump as Israel’s savior but again scolded former President Obama as if he had been the source of all evil that befell on Israel. They shamelessly and thanklessly forget that Obama’s administration provided an unprecedented level of military and economic assistance to Israel. They forget that it was President Obama who without hesitation authorized an emergency supply of smart bombs to the Israeli air force during the Gaza war in 2014 to quickly replenish depleted stockpiles. They forget who provided Israel with all the necessary additional funds curtesy of the American tax payers to develop and deploy the Iron Dome system. And the list is long. Alas, it seems that they believe America is, and will always be, somehow indebted to Israel and its support is eternal and unconditional.
In an ironic twist, the Israeli government finds itself embracing an American regime that more than anything else appears to be identified as ultra-nationalist and separatist (“America First”). Many newspersons who commented on Mr. Trump’s speech did not fail to note the similarities to another speech made by Judaism’s archenemy in 1933. But what will happen if, say Marie Le Pen, the French extreme-right ultra-nationalist leader wins the general elections unleashing an ugly French anti-Semitism? Marie Le Pen is no different than President Trump – they are perfectly in lockstep with each other. Hatred and bigotry underpin their political and social agenda. I am sure that the same Israeli government will cry foul and accuse Marie Le Pen’s government of inciting vicious attacks against the French Jewry. So it is OK to celebrate President Trump’s ascension to power but unacceptable to embrace Marie Le Pen, of course.
Reportedly, no sooner that Mr. Obama vacated the Oval Office, the Israeli cabinet began in earnest deliberating the proposed immediate annexation of an additional portion of the West Bank surrounding a settlement known as Ma’ale Edomim, with the assumption that President Trump would not stand in the way. To be sure, Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed a more cautious approach and urged his ministers to wait and gauge President Trump’s intentions, perhaps until he has an opportunity to meet President Trump.
But make no mistake, President Trump repeatedly touts a singularly focused agenda that is based on one thing, and one thing only: America First. He did not mince words and clearly and loudly repeated this mantra in his inauguration speech. With all due respect, Israel may be relegated to a lower wrung on the ladder.