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What can we learn from Charlottesville, Virginia?

August 17, 2017

There are similarities in the reaction of US President Trump and leaders in Malaysia when a fight breaks out, or malfeasance is highlighted, or when racist insults are hurled at others.

COMMENT

CharlottesvilleBy TK Chua

What is wrong is wrong; we can’t hide, fake or camouflage it.

US President Donald Trump had tried to do just that when he was slow to condemn the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and pinpoint those most culpable.

He tried to placate the fault of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Instead, he blamed the mayhem on “many sides” – the supremacist groups as well as those against them.

His initial reaction caused condemnation both at home and internationally. Finally, he bowed to mounting pressure and named the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists as criminals and thugs.

To me, Trump is a typical politician with his own selfish agenda. He refused to differentiate the culpability of those who perpetrate and perpetuate the fascist views and those who oppose them. When trouble occurred, he just conveniently blamed both sides.

I am glad there are men and women of character within his own political party and those in the private sector, including many captains of commerce and industry, who openly disagreed and condemned Trump’s views. Without mounting pressure being exerted, I doubt Trump would have changed his mind to condemn the ultra-supremacist groups specifically for causing the trouble.

Closer to home, I see “the equivalence” of Trump’s mentality very often too.

When a fight breaks out, rarely are the initiators of the fight singled out for condemnation first.

When a malfeasance is highlighted, those making the allegations will be targeted, not the malfeasance per se.

When racist and bigoted insults are hurled at others, those responding to the insults are sometimes reprimanded more severely than those making the initial remarks.

When corruption and mismanagement are highlighted, the focus will be shifted to greater corruption and mismanagement in the past.

When there is blatant bullying, the reason cited is provocation, not the evil of bullying per se.

When thieves steal your merchandise, the reasons cited are exploitation, racism, profiteering and poverty, not the theft per se.

In the US, the president succumbed to the pressure because many of those in positions of responsibility are brave enough to do the right thing – to condemn the far-right views wherever they hear them.

Can we say the same here? Food for thought again.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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