Donald Trump has proved again that he has the unenviable ability to bring out the worst in people, in this case those supporters who cheered when he announced that the United States should bar all Muslims from entering the country. His Republican rivals for the candidacy for the highest office in the land quickly joined ranks to denounce his inflammatory, unconstitutional, bigoted, and (so they say) Fascist position. Democrats no doubt secretly welcomed his self-incriminating and self-disqualifying diatribe while publicly joining the chorus of disapproval. He remains the front runner of the opposition.
To justify his dreadful proposal, Trump appealed to the example of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese American citizens during the Second World War, a vastly different event that has nevertheless been deemed the most shameful act of intolerance by the Federal government in the 20th century.
The most disturbing aspect of Trump’s shameless and incendiary antics (increasingly reminiscent of the bigotry of Benito Mussolini and Enoch Powell) is not that he manages the media so adeptly, for they fall all over themselves giving him the coverage he so deeply longs for. Rather, it is the fact that Trump continues to garner the support of as much as half the Republican voters being polled. If the Grand Old Party was deeply divided before by Tea Party extremism, it has now been fractured by the rise of hatred and bigotry.
Here in Illinois, the rumbling heard today is not an earthquake. It is the sound of Abraham Lincoln turning over in his tomb.