NEWS

A Very Confused Uncle Sam

Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden / Unsplash
Written by Kaustuv Acharyya

So, the US Presidential Elections got over a couple of days back and I am still counting days for President-Elect Joe Biden to take office. Recently, the presidential elections became a matter of great interest for me since I could always look at how extensively it is being covered by both the left and the right media. The numbers were always two clicks away on my smartphone. In these few days, what I have learned from the polls, both American and Indian, is not to trust exit polls. Exit Polls say something and something else happens. The US Presidential Elections 2016 is proof of that. Fast forward by four years, what was supposed to be an easy win, became a prolonged fight and has divided the United States into two halves. The rift has always been there and with this election, it has only become crystal clear. Uncle Sam doesn’t know what he wants, other than oil of course.

Two weeks have gone by and President Trump still refuses to concede, both publicly in front of media as well as on social media. Just this morning as I write this article, he tweeted twice that he has won the election. He is delusional definitely but what is more surprising is that the seventy million people who voted for him also believe in him. Trump’s claim of voter fraud and illegal ballot counting has been backed by a lot of his voters without a single iota of credible evidence. With many federal as well as state charges against Trump, his supporters still believe in him— and many people even worship him because of his “charismatic” speeches. Now, this is where things become problematic. Even if Trump leaves office, his supporters are still there, wearing a red cap with “Make America Great Again” stitched in white on it. A question arises: Whose America?

Even though they wear red caps, they have all the signs of the “Red Scare”. Reaching its height during the Cold war era, the tense situation with the USSR, the flag bearer of communism started de-escalating in the 1980s. The flag of the USSR was a Hammer and Sickle crossed and kept on a red background. Hence, red became a color that signified Communism. During the Cold War era, Americans believed that there were Soviet spies within their population who were trying to manipulate others and gain knowledge about US strategies, which would help a Soviet invasion of the US. This was called the “Red Scare”. In the present time, Trump supporters fear that if Trump is gone, then Communism or the Left ideals will conquer America.[0] Their fears have only been realized during this election as they chose to believe that media as well as the Election Commission have all turned Left and are scheming to throw out their “hero”. To counter such mishappening, they take to streets and some of them have been spotted with guns, not just pistols but assault rifles as well. Since there is no immediate threat that these people are facing, then why are they able to keep and stock guns. This shows the loopholes in gun laws in America. No wonder why mass shootings take place in America. 

Politically, there happens to be a schism within the Republican party as well. If you believe that every Trump supporter is also a Republican supporter, then you are wrong just as I was. There is the Trump Republican and then there is the John McCain Republican. Late Senator John McCain ran against Former President Barrack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Elections. Although he lost, he faced the same audience that Trump has taken the advantage of. This audience has conservative ideals, is racist and doesn’t believe America should give access to immigrants. This is the same audience that didn’t want to vote for Obama in 2008 since they believed he was an Arab.[1] McCain’s own value system was way more liberal than Trump and he refused to nurture such conservative ideas among people. Had he used those ideals to his advantage, the 2008 elections could have very well gone his way. In life, McCain despised Trump and although belonging to the opposing party than that of Barrack Obama, he had asked Obama to give his eulogy at his funeral while having requested that Trump shouldn’t be invited to his funeral. After his death in 2018, the Republican value system which was liberal started sliding towards Trump’s conservative value systems. Who would say that this is the same party which gave America one of its best Presidents?

Although the immigrant crisis is a grave problem that requires delicate handling, the American Society has been grappling with the issues of racism and homophobia for quite some time. Even in the 1950s, if an African American person wanted to get educated at a school or University, s/he had to face many roadblocks. Another case is that of Dozier School for boys in Florida, which proved that systemic racism exists in America. In the present day, George Floyd became a victim of police brutality and kick-started the Black Lives Matter Movement throughout the world. George Floyd isn’t the first victim and there have been several instances in recent times that police are less than lenient towards the African American population. Trump keeps claiming that he is the least racist person but his history will tell you a very different story. In 1973, he denied housing to African Americans in the apartments he owned. Although the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 to desegregate housing space, Trump was not inclined to follow it at all. For this, he and his father had to face the anti-segregation lawsuit.[2] In the Central Park Jogger case, he had demanded death sentences for all the accused who were both juvenile and colored. Trump had taken out a full-page ad in a newspaper. Although it was proven that the accused were falsely convicted and later exonerated, he still refuses to take back his opinions regarding the matter.[3

If one were to check the electoral map of the USA, you will find that many urban areas have voted for Biden while it is the rural areas that have voted for Trump. Although the red areas seem overwhelming over the blue ones, they are still scarcely populated. Just Google up, “Land Doesn’t Vote, People Do” and you will see what I am talking about. The situation is both alarming and sad as people are blindly following someone and refusing to believe anything else. The people supporting him are not just the White Americans but the conservative Black population and a decent amount of the Hispanic population as well. The population voting for him is diverse and so is their reason for voting for him. One can’t just say that it is only the non-educated or the poor who vote for him, there are people from every socio-economic stratum and one of the many reasons they vote for him is because he promises low taxes. About 51% of his loyal supporters are Republican supporters as well and about 29% of the voting populace happens to be Trump’s “super supporters”. [4] These people have absolutely no trust in the Federal Election commission and believe that the election was rigged. In my opinion, it is the job of the state to ensure people know how every process works and try to build trustworthiness. It is a very difficult task to spread liberal ideas if they keep getting associated with the Left which these people do not like but it is a job that the US Administration must take up. However, what is imperative at the current moment is that the President-elect is given a smooth transition as the world deals with a pandemic and growing economic crisis.

 

The author would like to thank Soujanya Rangawar for her insights and contributions in the process of writing this article. Views expressed are personal.

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Kaustuv Acharyya

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