by Rosemary and Walter Brasch
Before a cheering and whooping crowd in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Donald Trump, spewing the blustery rhetoric of a demagogue, declared that the United States should ban all Muslims from entering the country.
He claimed to have Muslim friends who supported his position. He claimed that Muslims want “to change your religion.” He claimed that a poll, one created by an anti-Muslim extremist, showed that one-fourth of American Muslims believe violence against Americans is justified.
With absolutely no proof to support his accusations, and significant evidence to dispute it, for more than six years he and those who follow his hate have claimed President Obama was born in a foreign country and is a Muslim. Apparently, Trump is incapable of reading and understanding the Constitution, especially the part that says there shall be no religious tests for the office of the presidency.
The blue-eyed, dyed-blonde-haired Aryan, who professes to be a Christian, also wants to create a wall along the country’s southern border to keep out illegal immigrants. He has yet to explain where the money will come from to build the wall and to protect it, and refuses to acknowledge that such a wall is impractical, and the Obama administration has already added money and agents for border protection. He wants to deport every one of the 11 million undocumented workers already in the United States, most of whom work in low-paying jobs, are trying to assimilate into the American melting pot culture, and have never had even a parking ticket. But, the billionaire bigot can’t provide specifics how to deport them.
His speech on an aircraft carrier museum was one day after President Obama, trying to reassure the people of the nation’s commitment against domestic terrorism after the San Bernardino murders, asked the nation to remember “Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes—and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country.”
Trump’s demand to block Muslims from entering the U.S. was rejected by the other Republican presidential candidates, all of whom had pledged to support him if he was the party’s nominee. His beliefs were also rejected by all of the Democratic candidates, and by sensible people throughout the world. However, about two-thirds of all persons who are likely to vote in the Republican primaries also believe in a ban on immigration of Muslims, according to the latest Bloomberg Politics Poll. Fear merges with religious bigotry and white supremacy to give Trump a significant advantage.
Trump’s demand for a ban on Muslims, if ever carried through, is unconstitutional. And, yet, he is the leading Republican presidential contender. He appeals to the segment of America that believes its own problems are caused by others and who are ruled by fear not reason. In a paranoid belief that the government is their enemy, and using one part of the Constitution to justify their gun mentality while denying much of the rest of it, they have loaded their houses and cars with guns, preparing to defend their fears against a Muslim invasion or an attack by the 101st Airborne Division. The right wing extremists and Trump’s probable voters have willingly allowed themselves to be encrusted by whatever hateful rhetoric is blown past them.
In every one of his speeches, Trump gets ovations for his rhetoric, and for his condemnation of the mass media, while using the media to get his message to the people of the extreme right wing.
On the same day that Donald Trump was blustering and flinging lies and half-truths, the mass media reported that Jimmy Carter was now cancer-free.
Carter is the antithesis of Trump. He is quiet, humble, and works to serve humanity not himself.
He graduated in the top 10 percent of his class at the Naval Academy, one of the most rigorous colleges in the country, and became a lieutenant in the nuclear submarine service. The man in charge of the nuclear Navy was Adm. Hyman Rickover, one of the most brilliant and demanding officers the military ever had, and one who inspired and set the example for the young officer.
But, Jimmy Carter didn’t stay in the Navy, even with a future that would probably have put at least one star on his collar. After his father died, he left the Navy to help his family run a peanut farm in rural Georgia, and was successful as a state legislator and governor.
On his second day in office as president, he pardoned all draft evaders of the Vietnam War. Drawing upon his own experience and culture, he created the departments of Energy and Education. But his greatest role was to try to reduce conflict around the world. His leadership led to the SALT II nuclear arms reduction treaty and to the Camp David Accords, which brought together Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. Sadat and Begin shared the Nobel Peace Prize; Carter would receive one in 2002 for his continued work of quiet diplomacy.
The foundation of the Carter Center is to help humanity. Carter or one of his volunteers or staff have monitored elections throughout the world, assisted in developing agriculture, and reducing or eradicating disease.
Jimmy Carter, who once lived in public housing, is an excellent carpenter, who is active in Habitat for Humanity, where he helps build homes for the impoverished, working out of the glare of the media spotlight.
Unlike the leading presidential candidates who feel some kind of a need to publicly boast they are Christians and to “outChristian” one another while saying very unChrist-like statements, Jimmy Carter quietly goes about living his faith. For 35 years, he has taught Sunday School, relishing the role of a volunteer teacher.
He is the author of 23 books, most of them focused upon improving humanity throughout the world, several that explore human rights and religion.
Donald Trump can bluster all he wants. He can distort the truth, rant and rally his minions to standing ovations. But, he will never be as effective, or as important, as the 91-year-old man from Plains, Ga., who quietly goes about a life dedicated to helping others.
[Rosemary Brasch is a retired secretary, Red Cross family services disaster specialist, and university instructor of labor studies. Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist, former newspaper and magazine reporter and editor, and professor emeritus of mass communications. He is also the author of 20 books; the latest one is Fracking Pennsylvania: Flirting With Disaster.]