President Donald Trump reportedly wants to temporarily stop many refugees from entering the country and halt immigration from ‘terror prone areas’. In other words, he wants to ban Muslims. So what’s new? He told us precisely who he was during the campaign cycle and what his lofty plans were. Trump however, is not alone. All across Europe and the Western world, white power is on the rise and their number one target appears to be Muslims, Islam and immigrants.
Trump is slated to hold his first meeting with a foreign leader, the Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May, on Friday. May, the Conservative rabble-rouser who took the helm after the UK’s shocking Brexit vote last year, enjoys the same nationalistic support at home that Trump does here so it’s only fitting that they would have a sit down during his first full week in office.
In France, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party, is now apparently ahead in a survey of voters’ intentions for the first round of the Presidential election. A run-off vote will be held in May.
She recently stated: “2016 was the year when the Anglo-Saxon world woke up; 2017 will be the year where the population of continental Europe wakes up. It is no longer a question about possibility, it is a question of time.” She was photographed at Trump Towers in New York earlier this month, though Trump’s team insists there were no meetings between the two.
Le Pen has also apparently tweeted her support for Frauke Petry, the leader of the anti-immigration Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party in Germany. According to polls in December, if elections were held now, the AfD would receive approximately 12 percent of the national vote, making it Germany’s third largest political party. That is no small feat.
Trump’s triumph in the 2016 election was praised by everyone from open Islamophobe Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to the far-right Golden Dawn party in Greece who hailed his win as a victory against illegal immigration and in favor of ethnically “clean” nations.
The rise of these extreme right-wing, nationalist movements is not only alarming because of the sheer number of followers they have, but also how quickly they have come to prominence. While Trump aligned himself with the Republican Party, there’s no question that he threw plenty of red meat to white supremacists here at home.
Whether it was coming down the infamous escalator and calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers (oh, ‘some’ were good people), or stating he would ban Muslims and later changed it to ‘extreme vetting’, chanting things like “build the wall” and the list goes on. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why former KKK leader David Duke, and people like Richard Spencer and other neo-Nazis aligned themselves with Trump.
In the fog of xenophobia, coded language, PR stunts, deceit and political theater, it’s sometimes hard to see beyond an individual’s outrageous comments and policy proposals. It’s important to remember that this isn’t about whether or not Trump is a racist; that frankly is irrelevant. It’s rather that his words and ideas resonated with so many that he ascended to the highest office in the land. What people fail to realize though is that he is yet another piece of the puzzle of white power trying to maintain world order - yet again.
Throughout history, western nations invaded, occupied and took the resources of countries predominantly populated by people of color. Colonialism was perfected for centuries by the British Empire, France and others.
More recently, it is us, the United States of America (followed by other western nations), that has been the dominant force roaming the earth and either openly invading sovereign countries, running covert programs, or putting leaders in place that we prefer. This system worked well for us and the West in general because the ramifications of war, coups, dictators and unrest overall in those nations was really never felt directly by us. The ones who suffered were the innocent citizens of those countries; that is, until now.
When the calamity in Syria began, hardly anyone was paying attention. In fact, Muslim countries like Turkey were already taking in scores of refugees while the world turned a blind eye. It wasn’t until those refugees began knocking on Europe’s doors that it became a crisis demanding intense press coverage and some sort of a solution.
Trump’s expected order on a ‘temporary ban’ on refugees, and, as widely reported, a suspension of visas for people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen is just a politically correct way to ban Muslims. To further illustrate this point, one need only look at reports that there is also likely to be an exception in refugee stoppage for people fleeing religious persecution if their religion is a minority in that country - in other words, Christians fleeing Muslim nations.
Many were utterly shocked when Trump won this unprecedented election. I was not among them. When the U.S. is separated from the rest of the world by large bodies of water and then further isolated from a lack of global news and information, it’s easy to scare the public into thinking that ‘those bad people’ from ‘over there’ need to be kept out. They’re all a bunch of savages that are killing each other and that’s fine, but don’t come here. What’s lost in this highly ignorant and ill-informed thinking is our contribution to destabilizing those societies either with bombs and war, or other mechanisms.
There is no other era where we have been more engaged globally and yet simultaneously isolated intellectually and otherwise. That is an utterly dangerous dynamic. It allows for propaganda and fear-mongering to spread like wildfire and elect unqualified candidates to office. It allows for despicable bans against ‘undesirables’ to pass with many looking the other way. And it keeps the public from seeing the larger global movement afoot right now.
While there were very real economic concerns as to why people voted for Trump, May and others, their existence solidifies the notion that white power wants to maintain and keep white power in place. Not every Trump supporter is a racist, nor do they all hate Muslims and immigrants, but many are ok with staying silent on those issues if it means that their own quality of life may improve. Ignoring oppression, discrimination, bigotry and injustice is itself privilege.
As Trump begins his executive actions on building the wall, ‘extreme vetting’ and ‘temporary bans’, the question we should perhaps be asking ourselves is: do we truly believe in the mantra that all lives matter?