In The Trump Nuclear Bomb, Victor Davis Hanson writes:
Is Trump an Ajaxian tragic figure who takes it upon himself to raise issues for the benefit of public debate — in overheated fashion garnering public attention with the full knowledge that his advocacy will earn him only hatred and ostracism?
Once he is dropped onto an issue, no one quite knows exactly the parameters of the ensuing explosion — only that it is going to blow up lots of things, and foremost Trump himself. In the subsequent charred landscape, no one emerges unscathed from the fallout, and many suspect that they should have adopted proactive solutions well before they were nuked by Trump.
The author then dives into once example:
Trump was certainly crude, but on closer analysis of his disparagements he had blundered into at least a few legitimate issues. Was it not the Left that had always made Trump’s point about ethnicity being inseparable from ideology (most infamously Justice Sotomayor in her ruminations about how a “wise Latina” would reach better conclusions than intrinsically less capable white males, and how ethnic heritage necessarily must affect the vantage point of jurists — racialist themes Sotomayor returned to this week in her Utah v. Strieff dissent, which has been characterized as a “Black Lives Matter” manifesto)? Had not Barack Obama himself apologized (“Yeah, he’s a white guy . . . sorry.”) for nominating a white male judge to the Supreme Court, as if Merrick Garland’s appearance were something logically inseparable from his thought? …
From this tawdry incident, we will remember Trump, the racial incendiary — but perhaps in the aftermath we will also question why any organization with Raza in its name should earn a pass from charges of polarizing racial chauvinism. The present tribalism is unsustainable in a pluralistic society. I wish the antidote for “typical white person,” “punish our enemies,” “my people,” (only) Black Lives Matter, and “la Raza” were not Donald Trump, but let us be clear on the fact that his is a crude reaction to a smooth and unquestioned racialism that, in bankrupt fashion, has been tolerated by the establishments of both parties.
For seven years, Barack Obama has not deigned to explain to the American people why he abhors terms like radical Islam, Islamic terrorism, and Islamist, unlike European leaders and most Americans. Obama certainly in the past has had no problem with using far more sweeping and generic categories — for example, dressing down millions of Pennsylvanians as know-nothing clingers, or Christians in general for their purported centuries of “high-horse” sins. His administration has stereotyped and provoked plenty of groups, from supposedly parasitic entrepreneurs who did not build their own businesses to a nation of supposedly cowardly non-minorities.
In one area alone, Obama and his administration have created a vacuous and dangerous vocabulary of euphemisms — violent extremism, man-caused disasters, overseas contingency operations, a largely “secular” Muslim Brotherhood, and so on. Such nomenclature only confuses Americans about the dangers that they face from radical Islam while emboldening Islamists, who can suspect that if we are afraid to call them what they are, then we may also be defensive about their bogus grievances against the West.
Two examples of Trump’s most controversial and in some sense reprehensible invective are his suggestions that we should temporarily bar Muslim immigration into the United States, and that we should hold the families of terrorists accountable for their silence. Critics rightly decry both suggestions as unworkable, creepy, and contrary to the American sense of decency, while privately perhaps acknowledging that something is wrong with current immigration from the war-torn Middle East, a problem by now spanning two generations.
Collate the profiles of the Boston, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, UC Merced, San Bernardino, and Orlando attackers, and four themes emerge: (1) the parents, spouses, girlfriends, or siblings of the killers had plenty of occasions to discover that something was wrong with the person in question, but chose to remain silent and not contact authorities; (2) many second-generation Americans of Middle Eastern heritage feel no gratitude to the U.S. for taking in their parents, much less for their own good luck of being born in the U.S. rather than in their parents’ war-ravaged hellholes; (3) even on the occasions when state or federal authorities did look into reports that, for example, the Boston or Orlando killers were jihadist extremists, agents did little proactively, perhaps out of worry that they might be pegged as Islamophobic or as unduly profiling those of Middle Eastern descent; and (4) the U.S., like Europe, has no mechanism for screening the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that are flowing across its borders, and thus no way of knowing whether terrorist cells are infiltrating the country.