Friday, December 11, 2015

Kareem v. Trump

I've read and relished Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's recent piece on Donald Trump, not that I agree with every word of it. Kareem writes that Trump's, "irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric and deliberate propagation of misinformation have created a frightened and hostile atmosphere that could embolden people to violence." For sure.

Kareem adds that: "While Trump is not slaughtering innocent people, he is exploiting such acts of violence to create terror here to coerce support." I agree again.

It's when Kareem writes that Trump's incendiary speeches "could be interpreted as hate crimes" that I draw back. Hateful as they are, I don't think Trump's pronouncements can or should be treated as crimes. But then I note that Kareem said "could be interpreted as hate crimes." He's not so sure either; he's wondering, as many do, how to counter Trump.

I don't think trying to convict him of criminal activity is the right way to go, one reason, among many, being it tries to short-circuit the electoral process and underestimates the ability of voters to see Trump for what he is. Kareem's essay is, aside from that, very  much the right way to go. It's sharp and insightful.

Discussing one devout but lonely Christian woman's conversion to Islamicism, he writes, "Maybe that’s because. . . the brain’s default setting is simply to believe because it takes extra work to analyze information."

And Kareem ends with an allusion to Yeats's great poem, The Second Coming, that gives it topical spin, when he asks, "what rough beast slouches toward Washington to be born?"

The Second Coming  describes a vision Yeats had, more precisely, a nightmare. President Trump would be a nightmare from which it would take the world a long time to recover.

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