Three months ago, a photo of a drowned Syrian refugee toddler sobered the world. Now even Donald Trump’s Muslims ban hardly shocks it. How did we get here?
With Donald Trump’s incessant calls for the U.S. to bar Muslims, it’s easy to forget that three months ago a photograph of a Syrian toddler facedown in the sand spurred a global call to action on the refugee crisis.
"We're not talking about religion. We're talking about security," Trump said when asked about his ban during the GOP presidential debate Tuesday night. "Our country is out of control."
Roughly one in six Americans now say terrorism is the country’s biggest problem, according to a Gallup poll conducted just after the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, Calif., the deadliest on U.S. soil since 9/11. That’s the highest proportion in a decade, up from just 3 percent last month. Meanwhile, Americans’ belief that the government can protect them sank to an all-time low in the Gallup poll.
As for Trump, 60 percent of Americans disagree with his proposed Muslim ban, but nearly six out of 10 Republican voters back it, according to a Monday Washington Post/ABC News poll. Many Republican leaders have repudiated his rhetoric — but said they’d still support him as nominee.
It’s not just the New York businessman. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, hot on Trump’s heels, said he wouldn’t “criticize and attack” him (publicly at least, as reiterated in the debate) but simply “disagreed” with his approach. Instead, Cruz said, the U.S. military should start “carpet bombing” in Iraq and Syria, following his earlier dark quip it’d show whether “sand can glow in the dark.” Tuesday night, he dodged whether he meant killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, but said, "political correctness is killing people."
The tension has put the politics of national security and nativism on a collision course. How did we get here? And perhaps more troublingly still: Where are we going?
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