International Policy Digest

Politics /01 Aug 2019

Trump’s Feud with ‘The Squad’ Is Very un-American.

Every day is a new day and there is a new controversial Tweet from President Trump.

In his recent interaction with journalists, Trump seized on the opportunity to bash America’s four newly elected congresswomen, better known as “The Squad.” “I think they’re very bad for our country. I really think they must hate our country.” The president thinks they’re horrible because they’ve consistently criticized his administration.

His attacks against “The Squad” intensified earlier in July as he tweeted that they should go back to where they came from.

Trump’s feud demonstrates his core belief: critics are deserving of his wrath.

In response to the president’s tirade, many Americans stated that his attacks on the congresswomen were wrong. The latest Fox News polls showed that 63% of Americans admitted that Trump’s tweets about “The Squad” crossed the line. On top of that, not only were his tweets racist, but also very un-American.

The founding fathers encouraged a healthy dose of skepticism and criticism against the government to keep it in check and to bring necessary change. It’s what we’re supposed to do as Americans. Criticize the government when needed.

Thomas Jefferson stated that “No government should be without critics. If its intentions are good, then it has nothing to fear from criticism.”

Benjamin Franklin believed, “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”

Samuel Adams iterated that, “for true patriots to be silent, is dangerous.”

John Adams once wrote that “Power must never be trusted without a check.”

They repeatedly encouraged debates and differences of opinions to improve American society. Benjamin Franklin even noted that “if everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.”

These values have been embedded in American political culture since the emergence of the nation.

Yet, Trump’s behavior clashes with the fundamental values established by the founding fathers.

Further, true patriotism, as noted by Franklin D. Roosevelt, “means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

On the contrary, Trump believes that patriotism lies in the act of being unconditionally loyal to the commander in chief, rather than the nation or the constitution.

Which is why, in his remarks to like-minded conservative teens, he asserted that “You are the ones who are lifting our nation, in the very near future — and I have no doubt you will do it — to soaring new heights…You are the ones who are bringing about the incredible rebirth of the American spirit.” He only deems those who support him as patriotic and capable of bringing positive change to the country.

Not surprisingly, Trump’s definition of patriotism matches that of autocratic rulers. To be loyal to the head of state rather than the constitution.

Trump’s rhetoric sets up a dangerous precedent. He’s discouraging political discourse, open conversations, and criticism against the government. Instead, he’s promoting un-American values and undermining traditional democratic principles.

Every day, President Trump has a new opportunity to embrace constructive criticism and equality. However, his self-serving understanding of patriotism will not allow him to do so.