Unless you’re that chap stranded on the John Lewis moon, you’ll no doubt have heard Donald Trump’s frankly batshit desire for a blanket ban on Muslims entering America. For fuck’s sake, sighs Hannah Dunleavy.
After I wrote my last column, about Trump vs the Muslims, someone sent me a message saying, “I used to think this was funny, but not any more.” No idea if they mean the Republican frontrunner or my column, but I’m choosing to believe the former, given how the last two weeks have panned out.
Because Donald Trump, king toddler in the Republican playpen, just shit right in the middle of it. And is sitting beside it proudly, clapping his hands.
You’ve probably already read about his, frankly batshit, idea of a blanket ban on Muslims entering America but you might want to take a moment to really soak that up. Stopping any Muslims from entering America.
Leave aside for a moment the more Third Reich implication of that statement and let’s think about the logistics.
That’s not just Muslim immigrants. It’s also no Muslim tourists. Not even the really wealthy ones. Not even the ones visiting relatives. If my family was Muslim, my dad would never be able to visit his sisters in America. Potentially ever, given Trump’s stated timeframe for this ban to last is “until we are able to determine and understand this problem” or “until our country’s representatives can find out what the hell is going on.” Which all sounds definitive, not to mention perfectly legal and not in any way at all punitive.
“Donald Trump, king toddler in the Republican playpen, just shit right in the middle of it. And is sitting beside it proudly, clapping his hands.”
That’s also (presumably) no Muslim foreign dignitaries or politicians allowed to enter the country. Or business people. All of which seems to strike at the heart of any notion that America could play a meaningful role in the world in the 21st century.
But it gets worse; American Muslims overseas would not be allowed to return. Given that Muslims work for the US diplomatic service and, you know, the frigging military, it seems somewhat ungrateful. Among so many other things. (“Shouldn’t have left mate, shouldn’t have served your country. Just see if you can start a new life in that war-torn place we sent you. It’ll only be until our country’s representatives can find out what the hell is going on.”)
Besides which, how would this blanket ban even work? Where on my passport does it say I’m a former Catholic? Are heavily armed guards just going to stop people they think might be Muslim at the airport or border and make them recite St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians to prove otherwise? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of something like that happening somewhere else, and I’m pretty sure we were all appalled.
Trump didn’t just pull all this rhetoric out of his arse, in case you were wondering. And he wasn’t just basing it on the recent shooting in San Bernardino. He had a survey! It said Muslims were bad. You’ve convinced me Donald J Fluffhead, bring on the internment camps. (Trump actually spoke about internment camps on a political talk show on MSNBC, saying Roosevelt opened them because he had to and then saying, “Look, we are at war with Islam.” Think about that again today and shudder.)
That survey, by a neo-conservative think-tank, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a hate group and Trump calls “a very highly respected group of people who I know”, has been debunked by the Huffington Post, among others. Boris Johnson said the billionaire’s claims that there were areas of London too full-o-Muslim that the police were scared to go there, as “complete and utter nonsense”. And say what you like about the London Mayor, if there’s anything he knows about, it’s “complete and utter nonsense”.
“You don’t need to preface every statement with an announcement of what it’s not: I know it’s not horribly racist, but I enjoy the work of Idris Elba; I know it’s not funny, but I’m afraid your husband’s just been killed in an accident on the ring road.”
“We are out of control,” he said. (Well, you certainly are Donald.) Although, in truth, the survey didn’t matter either, “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension.” Yeah, fuck the dodgy dossier; tell us what you’ve seen with your own two eyes. The same eyes that saw “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in Jersey City celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers. What those eyes haven’t seen. (Attack ships on fire on the shoulder of Orion…)
“I know it’s not politically correct,” Trump randomly scattered throughout, an attempt to paint any kind of response as knee-jerk liberalism. Because only real hippies object to discrimination based on religion. The subeditor in me also rebels against additional superfluous words. You don’t need to preface every statement with an announcement of what it’s not: I know it’s not true, but I think you look lovely darling; I know it’s not horribly racist, but I enjoy the work of Idris Elba; I know it’s not funny, but I’m afraid your husband’s just been killed in an accident on the ring road.
But don’t think Trump’s a racist or nothing because he has Muslims friends who agree with him. He spoke about them. I hope they live in the US Donald, or you’re never going to see them again. Oh no wait, I don’t believe they exist.
“Trump didn’t just pull all this rhetoric out of his arse, in case you were wondering. He had a survey! It said Muslims were bad.”
Condemnation has been swift and plentiful. It came from Democrats, Republicans, faith groups, charities and international leaders. David Cameron said Trump’s comments were “divisive and simply wrong”; Democratic hopeful Martin O’Malley, who has been quiet for a while, said, “@realdonaldtrump removes all doubt: he is running for President as a fascist demagogue.” I’d have retweeted that all night if I could.
All of which has come at a time when many politicians and media outlets have made a concerted push towards the issue of gun control. But why tackle that problem when you can create another? Why not capitalise on a tragedy to further your belief that one group of people is less worthy than others? Hell, why ban guns when you can ban Muslims?
Trump, who like that other narcissistic windbag Nigel Farage, is married to a foreigner (the right kind of foreigner), is unrepentant. “I. Don’t. Care.” He told supporters, who clearly didn’t care either.
There’s a rather brilliant piece of political satire tucked away in Matt Groening’s Futurama, where in the year 3000, an election offers the people of New York three choices: John Jackson, a 40ish white male who is utterly indistinguishable from candidate number two, Jack Johnson. The third candidate, “a real alternative” and eventual winner, is Richard Nixon’s head in a jar.
And here we are. Until next time.
Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.