There is no law saying anyone has to take Donald Trump seriously and until recently not many did, even his wives. For most he represented the ugliness of American capitalism, admirable in its energy but unpleasant to look on in all its raw vulgarity.
His attempt to grab the US presidency was a vainglorious joke. There are always ludicrous candidates in the long, long sidle up to the White House. But on December 7th this week, that changed. Overnight the pratt in the wig became a terrible threat not just to the US Republican Party keeping its hold on Congress, but to all we hold dear, including good old western values and democracy itself.
Among his constant stream of non-PC remarks, in a campaign statement at a rally in South Carolina, he let slip the idea of a ban on Muslim migration to America which ‘should remain until the US authorities ‘can figure out,’ as the press reported, ‘Muslim attitudes to the US.’
What he actually said was not widely reported. He said, migration should stop until America could work out why Muslims hated the US so much. His statement about Muslim hatred of the US was unacceptable to many news agencies.
Condemnation was swift. The White House said his comments were, ‘contrary to US values and its national security interests.’
Republican Jeb Bush, a merciless proponent of capital punishment, who has sent women to their deaths, called him, ‘unhinged.’
David Cameron quickly called his remarks 'divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong'. Labour MP Stella Creasy and the Scottish National Party's Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh condemned Trump as a 'hate preacher,’ which of course is a criminal offence.
He even came under fire from that most PC of left-wing quangos, the British Police. Scotland Yard broke off from investigating the heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury, who is under police scrutiny for his recent remarks about gay men, and switched their attention to condemning Trump. They were in a hissy fit because he had said: 'We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that police are afraid for their own lives'.
After the death of Lee Rigby almost everyone in London is afraid for their own life but truth has nothing to do with this. Trump was guilty of saying the unsayable. Boris Johnson hastily got involved, saying the fat Republican was speaking 'utter nonsense' adding: 'The only reason I wouldn't go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.'
Less than twenty four hours after spouting his heretical remarks, a petition on the UK government website to ban him from Britain on the grounds of hate speech had attracted more than 29,000 signatures.
Trump’s crowd-pleasing words (well he gained loud applause in South Carolina, following yet another Muslim outrage last week, the deadliest terror attack since 9/11, when a Muslim couple, believed to have been radicalised, opened fire and killed 14 people at a health centre in San Bernardino). They also follow hard on the slaughter of young people in Paris.
For some unfathomable reason, our enemies, the people who wish to destroy us and have set about doing it, with guns, knives, bombs and aeroplanes, are above reproach. For the first time in our history, perhaps following a truly Christian precept, we are forced to love our enemy and if we can’t manage that, at least we are not allowed to criticise it. Trump crossed the line. He chose to attack one of the three groups, the others being homosexuals and women who are beyond criticism on all matters.
The only people who are now free to speak their minds in the democratic West are millionaires like Trump, who don’t have a job to keep or a boss to worry about, self-made outsiders who can put two fingers up at the world and also small, often poor, nations which, luckily for them, have been relegated by the West to a role somewhere between harmless eccentric and unknowing child.
These rare individuals and failing states have acquired the role once allotted to village idiots and court jesters who were given licence to say what others could not. Japan is perhaps the strongest contestant for this role. A once booming economy, years of Americanisation and close ties to NATO have not put paid to its own unique (thankfully) take on the world. They have a horrible penal system and hang many people a year, but no one takes any notice of that. Culturally, they are just not on the map and so can do and say what they like.
In the 1980s one Michio Watanabe, a leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, fought to keep the, ‘ Little Black Sambo’ books in Japanese shops, despite sharp protests and threats of consumer boycotts from black groups in the United States. Worse, speaking generally about Americans, he said: ‘They use credit cards a lot. They have no savings, so they go bankrupt. Among those guys over there are so many blacks and so on, who would think nonchalantly: 'We're bankrupt, but from tomorrow on we don't have to pay anything back. We just can't use credit cards anymore.' ’
There were also comments from Yasuhiro Nakasone, then Prime Minister. While the correct translation of Mr. Nakasone's statements is still debated, he seemed to suggest that American minority groups had lowered either the national intelligence level or the national literacy rate. Which was probably true, but you can’t say it, unless you are in Japan.
In 1991 their government referred to the redoubtable Edith Cresson, then French trade minister, as a ‘crowing hen.’
More pertinently perhaps, they do not allow Muslims into Japan, except as individuals on short-term visas. There will be no mass migration to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun.’
There is no reliable estimate on the Japanese Muslim population, it is now being disputed. Some on the left in Japan claim there are thirty thousand living there, mainly from Indonesia. Others say there are only a few hundred. That is probably the number who openly practise Islam. In 2013, the former president of the Japan Islamic Association, Abu Bakr Morimoto said, ‘Frankly, only one thousand. In the broadest sense, I mean, if we do not exclude those who became Muslims by marriage, and do not practise then the number would be a few thousand.’
Another leader of the Muslim community in Japan, Nur Ad-Din Mori, gave the number as, ‘one in a hundred thousand.’ Japan’s population is 130 million people, so if those Muslim leaders are correct, there must be around 1300 Muslims in Japan. But even if they have lived there for many years they have little chance of citizenship. But it should be added, Japan grants permanent residency to very few foreigners of any kind.
Japan officially forbids exhorting people to convert to Islam (Dawah), any Muslim who actively encourages conversion to Islam is seen as proselytising for a ‘foreign and undesirable culture.’ They face deportation and sometimes jail. Arabic is taught by very few academic institutes.There is an Arabic Islamic Institute in Tokyo, but the language is not taught at the prestigious Tokyo University. The Koran is only permitted in an adapted Japanese version. Islamic dress is not seen on the streets and I am told that Halal food is hard to find except in Indonesian restaurants.
India does not like Muslims of course, neither does Burma, even under the influence of the sainted Aung Sang Suu Kyi. This goes back to the 1750s when Muslims were forbidden to use Halal ritual slaughter as it offended Buddhists.
Russia regards Islam as a lingering threat. Moscow insists on absolute loyalty on the part of its Muslim citizens and refuses to fulfill demands for further autonomy from any of its Islamic republics.
New members of the EU, outside the Balkans, are encountering Muslim immigration for the first time, and have turned it down flat. Hungary and Poland have recently shown themselves outrageously lacking in the trans-continental religion of PC. Last September, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban sent a clear message for the European-bound Muslim refugees fleeing war in Syria and Somalia: ‘Do not come here.’
Speaking outside the European Union headquarters in Brussels, he said: ‘I think we have a right to decide we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country. We can’t guarantee that you will be accepted.’
He later backed up these sentiments by building a fence along his Serbian border.
Cultural differences between Christians and Muslims were boldly presented as an argument against accepting asylum seekers in Poland. According to the Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser, Muslim refugees would face challenges when it comes to understanding and accepting Christian values. In defiance of the Pope who ordered Poles to welcome migrants, he said, ‘Undoubtedly, it is much easier for Christians to assimilate in a country which is of Christian origin.’ He also added, ‘Muslims [arriving in Poland] could be condemned to a kind of 'ghettoisation' and this must be avoided.’
We haven’t had them before and we don’t want them now was his message, and the Poles have largely agreed and got away with it. Not so Trump, as a would be leader of the Western world, he is not allowed childish freedoms of thought or speech. He is in deep trouble even though he has not said that Muslims should be deported from the US, only that more should not be allowed in, until a later date, when he says, the Americans will have ‘worked out the problem.’
He has been condemned for ‘hate speak’ but he is not really talking about race. Islam is not a race, and he was clumsily addressing the effects of deep cultural difference. In this case fear, based on reality. Many more people would surely welcome Muslims in, if they would agree to change and integrate, but that is not happening. Trump entered the forbidden zone by talking about hate; theirs not ours.
This is forbidden, as it contradicts Muslim and left-wing propaganda which sees them as victims of western oppression. This is sadly a them and us situation and it is the people in power in the West, from Obama to Corbyn, who deny that hatred, refuse to stand up to it and firmly assert those good old American values that are the real mystery. They are the problem that Trump and his followers will have to fathom out.
(Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Flickr)