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What Year is it? 1933!


America’s 2016 Presidential election has drawn parallels to a bygone period of history that dates back to the 1930’s. In the 1930’s Germany’s marginalized populace, humiliated by the Versailles Treaty and the economic situation, gave rise to the Nazi party through a sweeping popular vote. Today in the United States the majority of whites seem to be disenfranchised due to changing economics, changing diversity, and possess an overall dissatisfaction with the current establishment; and they have just elected Donald Trump- a man who has so far failed to show any indication of effective governing prowess or capability to change anything. Trump’s policies and language express racial bigotry and xenophobia in a manner all too characteristic of Nazi Germany, and these similarities are too much to ignore. However one positive silver lining in the outcome of 2016’s election is it that just like Nazi Germany’s treatment of minorities, the American election and campaign will bring islamophobia out into the open as an official policy of the Trump administration.

Islamophobia was something that was extensive before, but was not openly accepted. Sometimes it has even been denied to exist. The reason why Trump’s victory is not all bad necessarily, is that by becoming an official policy it leaves no room for anyone to make excuses as to the reality of islamophobia. A threat that is out in the open will be easier to deal with in comparison to a Hillary Clinton regime in which islamophobia would have been more nuanced. In Clinton’s America security agencies and such would have carried out islamophobic entrapments while simultaneously and systematically denying the biases and xenophobia at play. A Trump administration however will have islamophobia out in the open for all to view in its entirety, and this today leaves us with many lessons to learn about how Trump came out to win the election.

What we are to take as lessons from all this are the failings and boundaries of the democratic process. Democracy requires a certain environment for it to function properly and the current environment we are in, is one in which “consent is manufactured” and there is an “illusion of choice” (according to Noam Chomsky). Today the lines often get blurred between information and entertainment; such an atmosphere is not one where democracy can operate. The criteria people use today to elect their leaders is not based on a moral compass any longer, and in other cases is not even based on a candidate’s ability to lead and manage a country. Today people are stuck too much into a realm of reality television. With regard to faulty criterion being used to elect leaders- the Nazi party’s popular election in the past draws similarities to today’s. We must ask ourselves if we took any lessons from the democratic process of 1933.

Again we all know where the events of 1933 Germany lead to, the question is will history repeat itself? Today perhaps we at least have options to make sure it does not do so. We can take 2016’s events as a call to action for Americans, and American Muslims in particular, for an organized civil rights effort. Islamophobia will be prominent and out in the open just based on the people being considered for cabinet positions or who are current Trump advisors: Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Rudy Giuliani, and Walid Phares are all unapologetic islamophobes. People expecting Trump’s campaign rhetoric to remain just rhetoric are being naive. Things will only get worse for American Muslims and islamophobia will expand exponentially. Today steps need to be taken to prevent 1933’s full historic cycle from re-occurring.

Umer Mahmood
Umer Mahmood obtained his B.A. in Mass Communication from The Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University in Indiana. He currently is the head of marketing at IRDP and oversees project management on the IRDP medical initiative, islamophobia video series, website blog contributions, marketing, and journal publishing.