Ok, everybody. Let’s calm down.
While I can say I get the sense of panic, if the group known as Human Rights Watch was a character in an old movie, now would be a good time to grab them by the collar, give them a brisk slap across the face, and say, “Get ahold of yourself, man!”
Donald Trump has yet to take office, yet to sign his first piece of legislation, and the global watchdog group has already added him to their list of human rights threats.
“Donald Trump’s election as US president after a campaign fomenting hatred and intolerance, and the rising influence of political parties in Europe that reject universal rights, have put the postwar human rights system at risk,” the group said in a Friday statement announcing a new report.
They actually dedicated 687 pages to Trump’s campaign and the caustic rhetoric that swept him into the White House.
The sad thing is, I don’t have a problem believing they could come up with 687 pages of troublesome tidbits on the way Trump ran his campaign. It really was that bad.
“(Trump’s) campaign floated proposals that would harm millions of people, including plans to engage in massive deportations of immigrants, to curtail women’s rights and media freedoms, and to use torture,” the report says, quoting Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth.
Alright. They’ve got me, there. I have my own concerns about some of the things Trump has said, in regards to using the military as his personal kill force, or how, even now, he seemingly wants to give the state strict controls over the media.
“Unless Trump repudiates these proposals, his administration risks committing massive rights violations in the US and shirking a longstanding, bipartisan belief, however imperfectly applied, in a rights-based foreign policy agenda.”
“Trump and various politicians in Europe seek power through appeals to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and nativism. They all claim that the public accepts violations of human rights as supposedly necessary to secure jobs, avoid cultural change, or prevent terrorist attacks. In fact, disregard for human rights offers the likeliest route to tyranny,” Roth wrote.
And therein lies the rub.
Trump is where he is because he convinced enough people in this nation that he was the only solution to their problems.
He didn’t get there through a military coup, or by poisoning his rivals.
He won the presidency because large enough swaths of the American people were angry, and they wanted someone who reflected their anger at being talked down to by liberal elitists.
Anger tends to cause people to act recklessly.
The point here is, America is still a free nation, with a free system of government. It allows for the people to choose their leader, no matter how misguided or uninformed.
We are also a nation of checks and balances. There are processes in place that will reign in a President Trump, should he wander too far off the path.
Should Trump drift into the territory that Human Rights Watch is suggesting – and he may – we have options. Until that time, however, let’s just brace ourselves and watch.