The terrorist act that occurred in San Bernardino, California recently has elevated the fear and concern of Americans. With this fear and concern comes the opportunity for political exploitation in the 2016 presidential campaign now in progress.
That the 2016 presidential candidates are using the tragic San Bernardino terrorism incident to gin up fear is not surprising. What is surprising is their reaction to fighting ISIS and preventing their terrorist acts on American soil. Their reaction runs the gamut of blaming President Obama for “his ineffectiveness” to Donald Trump’s myopic plan to ban all Muslims from entering the US
Mr. Trump’s myopic plan to deal with terrorism is another indication that he has no political leadership skills, no diplomacy, no military solutions, and no understanding of the complexity of the terrorism that ISIS represents. What is unfortunate is that because of the fear of terrorism on American soil, some Americans believe that he has the right stuff to fight terrorism. Fighting the ISIS brand of terrorism will require a more well thought out plan and not the reality TV ideas that Mr. Trump offers.
Fighting the terrorism that comes from ISIS is something that requires a sound practical political solution. This solution should be forged from the solidarity between Congress and the President. Like war or any major conflict that threatens the public health and safety, this solidarity must bipartisan support. This is not the case though as the GOP leadership and presidential candidates have a different strategy or approach that seems devoid of meaningful solutions.
The GOP tends to focus on how ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorism should be defined. They want the president to call the terrorism that emanates from these groups “radical Islamic jihadist.” They have called the President everything that is disrespectful for not making this pronouncement as if making this pronouncement is a solution to fighting terrorism.
Whether it is fighting another nation or a terrorist group like ISIS, the solution for victory must come from unity and not divisiveness. Right now America is a divided country because of the negative political climate that the GOP has created in dealing with President Obama from the beginning of his first term in office.
Undoubtedly, the anti-Obama crusade that the GOP has pursued for the past seven years has seriously divided the country and undermined the president’s ability to fight terrorism. You cannot treat the president with disrespect, hatred, and resentment and not expect this climate of social and political conflict that is manifested as increased racism, propaganda, and hatred.
Most Americans especially conservatives will deny the negative fallout from the anti-Obama crusade. The manifestations of this crusade are evident in more police brutality against blacks, more racially insensitive comments, more arrogance, and more hypocrisy (doing the same things they are blaming the president for).
It is hypocritical to think that ISIS can be defeated when America still struggles with racism and hatred. Racism in America makes it easier for groups like ISIS to do more harm. Racism or hatred against Muslims who are American citizens or residents only create opportunities for driving them to support or sympathize with ISIS- that is the danger that America faces with terrorism.
To defeat terrorism, politicians and political leaders must close ranks and work together in a bipartisan manner. Undermining President Obama is not good politics and certainly does not benefit the American people. Such behavior only encourages the terrorists, help them in their recruitment, and perpetuate more terrorism. It is time to stop the divisive rhetoric that is so easy to make in an election campaign season. It is time to resolve or heal the racial problems that still divide Americans.
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