Donald Trump has been stirring controversy since he announced that he would run in the 2016 election. Worryingly he is leading the Republican polling by quite a large margin. He has appealed to many extreme right-wingers through his arguably bigoted and borderline racist remarks. If you need reminding here are three quotes that sum him up best:
At a rally in Charleston, S.C. in December 2015: ‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’
On his Republican rival Carly Fiorina in September 2015: ‘Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that being the face of our next President?’
And when he announced his candidacy for office in June 2015 he made this infamous comment: ‘When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.’
It is a sorry state of affairs for the Republican Party and the leading duo of Ted Cruz and Trump make conservative Presidents like Reagan or Bush seem moderate in comparison. Neither of these former Presidents would dare to make such openly hateful remarks but that is the effect that rising Hispanic immigration, 9/11 and the wars in the Middle East have had on some Americans. Thankfully the British people have loudly voiced their opinion on Trump with around 568,000 signing a change.org petition calling for him not to be allowed to enter the country. As it is over the required 100,000 that is needed for MP’s to debate it in Parliament , the commons will decide if Mr Trump should be allowed to enter the country.
It is really encouraging to see many in the UK reject the fascist beliefs held by Donald Trump. However banning him would be a dangerous precedent to set. If we ban Donald Trump do we ban the other Republicans? Although less famous in the UK, Ted Cruz (another Republican front runner) has equally controversial beliefs. Cruz has a number of extreme views including banning all Muslim Syrian refugees (like most Republicans) and his heavily Christian beliefs has led him to come out with quotes like ‘I thought it was the job of a Chaplain to be insensitive to atheists.’
He has also threatened to kill Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, if he became President using a really crass statement. Cruz insists if Hilary Clinton is elected, Iran would get nuclear weapons (very unlikely due to the recent deal struck with Iran) but if he was elected he wouldn’t let them get said weapons, and if the Ayatollah didn’t like that Cruz would ‘help introduce him to his 72 virgins.’ Cruz is more of politically savvy than Trump so his comments are not as brash, nevertheless they are still offensive and his values still go against the ones held by the majority of people in the UK.
It would be nice if these two politicians were barred from the country but where do you draw the line? Do you ban all vocal supporters of these candidates? It’s is a dangerous precedent to set. Historically in the UK we have always allowed many people to visit our country often no matter how controversial their beliefs are. We have harboured the likes of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Konrad Henlein (Leader of Sudeten Germans and a key enabler in creating Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia). From the 1980’s London was often called ‘Londonistan’ due to the tolerance of the UK government towards foreign and radical jihadists who were not harassed by the authorities with Bin Laden’s ‘ambassador’ to London, Khalid al-Fawwaz, amongst them. We must remember that Britain is one of the oldest democracies in the world and we are also one of the most tolerant countries in regards to freedom of speech and beliefs.
Trump is a detestable character and so are many other Republican candidates, but foreign figures who have done far worse have been allowed to enter the UK. Social media has also given a voice to many in Britain with extreme views who share similar beliefs to Trump – do we also introduce sanctions against them? In addition we also have radical Muslim hate-preachers like Anjem Choudary who has been allowed to say deplorable things for years and has actively called for jihadists to be allowed to return to the UK (although his awaiting trial for his recent comments). People and businesses should be able to shun these figures as much as they want to but it shouldn’t become part of government policy to ban certain individuals based on their comments, unless they actively pose a security risk to the UK.
Britain has done enough in rejecting Trump, through the Prime Minister and various MPs denouncing him combined with the petition calling for him to be barred. Americans needs to generally show more disdain towards him and all media outlets (not just Fox News) need to stop giving him a platform and celebrities shouldn’t endorse him (Mike Tyson and Charlie Sheen being among them) as this makes his beliefs seem like they are acceptable. The worst case of this was Saturday’s Night Live’s decision to allow Trump to host and act in SNL sketches in November 2015. Although they often mock him, his appearance on the show legitimises him as a political candidate – if his views were so offensive then surely he wouldn’t be allowed to host a mainstream comedy show? The UK doesn’t need to complicate its stance on free speech in banning Donald Trump as we clearly have distanced oursefls from him already and he is unwelcome in our country. America needs to look and itself at question how they allow such xenophobic, bigoted and racist views to surge in popularity and become mainstream.