There is no question that here in Canada we are not used to hearing citizens screaming out rabble-rousing rhetoric that promotes hatred, racism, white supremacy, and just about anything that is nasty to as many people as possible, to organized groups of hard-nosed rednecks advocating for what I see as a return to Klu Klux Klan-type activities as they push toward another civil war.
These people love “the Donald”, who frequently sounds more like Donald Duck in a temper tantrum than the president of the so-called greatest country on earth. But they obviously don’t really pay much attention to him for any length of time, because they seem to fail to realize that what he spouts as rhetoric in his speeches or news quips is almost always quite different when applied to actual action. I think it’s because his advisors have found ways to keep him from trying to implement some of the stuff he threatens in his speeches. But it must be a serious struggle indeed for cooler heads to prevail when so many American citizens are practically rioting in the streets for the Mexican border wall, for removal of immigrants from the streets of America, and so on as the rhetoric goes.
All of that kind of behaviour is possible in the U.S.A. because of the way they choose to interpret the constitution, and the massive support they give to their right to speak freely. Here in Canada we pull back a bit on the right to free speech by not allowing people to advocate for racial discrimination, or to speak hateful words that are harmful to others. We demand respect for all, and we do not allow organizations like the Klan or White Supremacists to exist among us. There are such groups in Canada, but their activities are severely curtailed, and are monitored closely by law enforcement. True enough, there are occasions when some mentally deranged person causes murder and mayhem, and we all realize again that acts such as those are nearly impossible to stop. I think it’s a sign of the times, and all we can do is be vigilant and hope the times will soon change.
However, I suspect that as long as the Americans allow their President to shoot off his mouth so freely as he has done since he started running for office, it will be that kind of behaviour that sets the pace, and radical people from all over the world will follow his lead.
I have been very concerned about his responses to the nut-bar dictator of North Korea, because I think that situation could be very volatile indeed. When leaders start dragging out threats of a nuclear nature, this world could so quickly and so easily be changed forever, and there is no coming back from the consequences of pushing the buttons.
We who have been associated with the Pugwash Movement under Cyrus Eaton and the great scientists of our times, and more recently the Pugwash Peace Exchange under the leadership of Stephen and Denise Leahey have heard the mayor of Hiroshima speak in person about the nuclear devastation to that city, and we are very well aware that nuclear bombs are now at least 10 times more powerful as was that bomb dropped in Japan. I think we need more than hope that sane minds will prevail when we look at the main players in this dangerous game.
My hope now is that world leaders today will put some real effort into stopping the craziness the world is witnessing now, in the very real hope that our children and grandchildren will not be left to clean up this mess.
I also hope the good citizens of the U.S.A. take all the moves needed to get rid of Trump. The world does not need his kind of leadership!
Jerry Randall is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.