Monday January 21, 2019
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Race, religion popping in US prez race

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By Kanika Rangray

With the campaigning for the US presidential elections 2016 going on in full swing, there is no scarcity of controversial remarks or statements being handed out by prospective candidates.

The most recent and highly controversial remark made by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in an interview with NBC: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this country. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

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Carson’s statement came through during his dialogue with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd which was focused on Donald Trump’s, Carson’s presidential candidate rival, reaction to a supporter who made anti-Muslim remarks in one of his presidential rallies.

During one of Trump’s campaign rally in Rochster, New Hampshire, one of the audience members made anti-Muslim remarks saying: “We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one… we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question. When can we get rid of them?”

Trump did not denounce any of the statements causing uproar, which affected the prospects of other Republican candidates running for president. Trump defended himself by tweeting that he would have reacted the same if the supporter had opposed black people, and that he was not morally obligated to defend Obama.

 

Coming back to the statement made by Carson regarding Muslims, Sen. Lindsey Graham (Republican – South Carolina) said in a show on Fox News Channel that Dr. Ben Carson should apologise for what he said.

Graham said: “During the second election of Karzai, I had an opportunity to go to a polling station during the election with military members in charge of security. One was a young man who grew up in Kabul, went to this particular high school. He came to America. He was a member of the United States Army. He was so proud to wear the uniform. I had a cup of coffee with him, and, yes, one day, I hope that young man could grow up to be president of the United States.”

“America is an idea not owned by a particular religion, race or anything else… I think Dr. Carson needs to apologize to this young man and every other Muslim serving their country and to the American Muslim Community. And if he understood the world and how dangerous it is he would not say things like this. We have to partner with people in the faith to destroy radical Islam. And most Muslims throughout the world reject what radical Islam is trying to do to the world and their faith. This is an example to me that Mr. Carson may be a good doctor, but he is not ready to lead a great nation,” he added.

He continued, “What would he say to the young man I met in Kabul who left Afghanistan, became an American citizen, joined the United States army? What would he say to the approximately 3,500 American Muslims who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan fighting for our freedom, risking their lives. What he should say is thank you for serving our great nation. We’re all in this together.”

But, this is not the first time that a debate has risen about the race and religion of a candidate running for presidency in the USA. The most obvious example is that of current president Barack Obama.

Obama is the first African American president of the US, or in simpler terms the first Black president of the US. During his presidential campaign and also after he was elected as president Obama was repeatedly subject to claims that he was not a US citizen and was thus not eligible to be the president. This controversy springs up from time to time even now. So does the other accusation thrown at him that he is actually a Muslim.

After Obama became president, there were questions if this would eradicate the racial gap between the blacks and the whites in America. The survey poll regarding this showed that a majority of the population did not believe that the issue would be resolved so easily, and continued racial discrimination incidents which followed through backed up these predictions.

The big and large question is that the United States of America—the biggest global power—is still trying to pull itself out of any kind of discrimination on the basis of ‘skin colour’ and religion, which has penetrated in the political platform of the country.

It becomes more ironic when you think that US stands first in line when it comes to advising a nation, such as our very own India, on how racism and religious discrimination stands the biggest hurdle between its goal of becoming a developed nation.

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Democrats Stand Firm Against Donald Trump’s Exchange Offer

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner said Democrats should not "reward the kind of behaviour of hostage-taking"

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President Donald Trump speaks about American missile defense doctrine, Jan 17, 2019, at the Pentagon. VOA

Despite President Donald Trump’s offer to end the ongoing partial government shutdown and fund a border wall in exchange for temporary protections for groups of immigrants, Democrats stood by their demand to reopen the government before negotiating about the border.

“Let’s not hold the American people, especially the federal workers, hostage to these negotiations,” South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, a member of Democratic leadership, told Fox News on Sunday.

“And hopefully we will open with what he has put on the table, and let’s go back and forth on this and see where we can find common ground.”

The Democratic rejection came as Vice President Mike Pence made clear on Sunday that the Republicans intended to go forward with the plan the President outlined on Saturday during a 13-minute televised speech from the White House, CNN reported.

Trump has suggested extending protections for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme recipients for three years and a three-year extension of protections for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.

The shutdown that began on December 22, has left roughly a quarter of the government closed and forcing 800,000 federal employees furloughed or work without pay.

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Trump presses Democrats on border wall funding ahead of Senate meeting. VOA

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected it even before Trump spoke. On Sunday, the President took to Twitter to slam Pelosi for rejecting his deal.

“Nancy Pelosi and some of the Democrats turned down my offer yesterday (Saturday) before I even got up to speak. They don’t see crime and drugs, they only see 2020 – which they are not going to win. Best economy! They should do the right thing for the country and allow people to go back to work.

“No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a three year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy,” he said in a series of tweets.

Some other Democrat leaders have also slammed the President’s offer.

Also Read- Actress Manisha Koirala Hopes to Write More Books in Future

New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who entered the 2020 race just days ago, told CNN on Sunday that Trump’s offer of only temporary protection from deportation showed he “has no empathy” for people affected by the decision.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner said Democrats should not “reward the kind of behaviour of hostage-taking”.

Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, meanwhile, told CNN that “both sides” were responsible for the ongoing impasse and called for genuine negotiations. (IANS)