The United States presidential election of 2016 is quickly approaching, and candidates are doing all they can to make their voices heard. Historically, candidates have presented clear messages of their visions for the nation during this crucial campaign period. What kind of inspirations have Donald Trump drawn from American citizens?
Some of the most popular candidates in the past such as Ronald Reagan focused on inspiring the nation with founding father principles, while recent candidate Barack Obama utilized the ubiquitous “Yes we can!” motto to urge for change in society for unhappy citizens. However, on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker withdrew from the race in disappoint and left his remarks: “Sadly the debate taking place in the Republican Party today is not focused on [the] optimistic view of America. Instead it has drifted into personal attacks”. The most recent GOP debate centered around the candidates degrading each other rather than proposing their ideas for the future of our nation.
Governor Walker stressed that Reagan’s “eternal optimism” had made him charismatic; today, however, optimism is not the word to be used in describing our political atmosphere. With billionaire Donald Trump causing a sensation for his notorious claims about immigrants, women, and foreign countries, and other candidates severely criticizing his statements, Americans are forced to look around at their own values and question his validity as a presidential candidate.
American business executives have long been revered since the robber barons of the Gilded Age, and even today, businesses and corporations such as Google, Apple, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, etc. play a key role in defining the international economy and carrying out technological innovations. Trump, due to his businesses and holdings, has been portrayed in society as a successful businessman. His wealth and opulent lifestyle have given him the opportunity to run his own TV show “The Apprentice” with the first season drawing in more than 20 million viewers. Trump has become a celebrity in a consumer culture where material possessions are often overwhelmingly glorified. Today in the U.S., mainstream culture romanticizes the high-class lifestyle of billionaires and multi-millionaires through various media outlets. In 2011, popular American rapper Mac Miller released the song “Donald Trump,” further raising awareness of the real estate mogul’s glamorous life. Trump has been regarded a man made famous by his extravagant way of life, and his unusual reputation in the political sphere has put more attention on him than he deserves.
Although his business connections and achievements both nationally and across seas make Trump knowledgeable about the economy, he has expressed grossly biased opinions when it comes to matters important to the American people such as immigration and social equality.
On the Fourth of July of last year, President Obama again reminded Americans of the fact that Americans hold dearly: “America is and always has been a nation of immigrants”. From the establishment of the thirteen colonies to the Asian immigrants of the 20th century at Angel Island to the Latinos that cross the border in search of opportunities, immigrants have created the American population. Immigrants have invented the notion of the “American dream” in which one begins with little or no money and builds a career and living through hard work and perseverance, through the resources of this nation.
Today, Chinese immigrants make up 1 out of every 100 of the US population, and Latinos/Hispanics make up 4 out of 25. Individuals of foreign nations have struggled to acculturate and succeed in America. There are diligent Hispanic workers everywhere in the United States. To that fact, Trump fearlessly claimed, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists”. Trump generalized an entire race negatively. Although racial equality has not been perfectly established throughout the last 239 years of American history, the United States government should constantly strive for social equality. Trump’s flawed judgments of the country’s immigrants would create problems as a leader.
Furthermore recently, the presidential candidate was accused of calling women he didn’t like ‘fat pigs’, ‘dogs’, ‘slobs’, and ‘disgusting animals’ by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. Understandably, this statement could have been collected unfairly; Trump could have insulted both men and women throughout his career. And Trump had every right and opportunity to reestablish his feelings upon women. However, Trump laughed off the question, claiming he doesn't “have the time for total political correctness”. This demonstrated his negligence towards a very serious issue. Even before the Seneca Falls Convention of the 19th century, women have been working extremely hard to achieve equal status with men. A president that does not address his claims pertaining to sexual inferiority may tolerate male superiority during his term. It is not ‘politically correct’ to respect women and empower them, it is an important necessity.
Donald Trump has many characteristics that make him a popular candidate, such as his celebrity status and his business skills; however, his ignorance on racial and civil issues makes him unqualified as president of the United States. It is important to remember that the president will leave permanent legacies for the nation and influence the next generation.
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