With election day at our doorstep, many are worried that Al-Qaeda has some drastic act of terror planned up its sleeve. It is a common belief that terrorists around the globe will attempt to somehow drastically affect the results of the 2016 Presidential Election. A potentially even more relevant concern however lurks upon the horizon this Eve of Election Day.
A much more hidden Act of Terror
According to an article written by Juliette Kayyem, a CNN National Security Analyst, the greatest threat that our country faces tomorrow is that of outside forces tinkering with our election results by hacking the system. Thus it is not by massive acts of terror that the future of our country will be determined by. However, these small and subliminal efforts to destroy/change votes is a realistic and immediate threat.
Can hacking this system be classified as terror?
Yes. And here’s why. Think about the very core of terrorism: Manipulation through fear. That is exactly what is occurring here. According to the article, the actual possibility of any outside source being able to tamper with enough votes to actually have a significant impact in and of itself is slim to none. However, the major implications come from the fear that it instils in the American people. The more a voter can be convinced, that “their vote doesn’t count,” the less likely they are to actually get out to the polls and vote. The ramifications of this are massive. Other countries and/or special interest groups outside of America are faced with the temptation to hold a lot of sway and influence over the American people and this is why I believe that there have been recorded attempts to hack the systems – not because they believe in their ability to outsmart the most intelligent and proactive security systems of the time, but because they believe that they can affectively sow a seed of fear and later reap the benefits.
Don’t let this change your mind! Get out and vote! Every vote counts in this election and every election is the most important election of the time. The future of the Nation is in the people’s hands, what are you going to do with it?
When the word “terrorism” is mentioned, pictures and moments in time from 9/11 are often the first things that come to mind. Accompanying the mental imagery is all kinds of other associations and perceptions on terrorism that may in fact not always be accurate.
A Little Bit of Background
“Terrorism” is defined as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence…through fear.” Americans tend to subconsciously add to that definition and say that acts of terrorism are performed by foreigners who’ve received admittance into this country “by mistake.” However, according to Peter Bergen, a CNN National Security Analyst, the majority of the acts of terror in the U.S. have been committed by our very own citizens. In fact, he says that, “every lethal terrorist attack in the United States in the past decade and a half has been carried out by American citizens or legal permanent residents” who do not have direct contact with outside terrorist forces or organizations.
My Question: Why isn’t Hilary focusing on this in the 2016 Election?
I believe that the Clinton campaign has not capitalized on this prime piece of knowledge. It would not only strengthen Hillary’s current policies on immigration and terrorism, but would also benefit the liberal message as a whole, if it were emphasized that all acts of terror since the destruction of the Twin Towers have come from internal sources.
The idea that terrorism is a war from within, is exactly what people on the left want to hear and should be preaching to reinforce their arguments. In other words, this opens up the doors for them to write laws that give more control to the government and less control to the people all in the name of “freedom” and “safety”. This enforces the argument of the need to monitor emails, phone calls, text messages, and web browsing. Just think about it, if American citizens and legal documented people are the ones committing the acts of terror, then these people need to be more closely watched for the good of all people, according to the liberal narrative. It is a mystery why Hillary has not chosen to focus on this issue at hand.
It has been argued that Donald Trump’s rash statements regarding the ISIS movement has actually helped and aided in recruitment of terrorists. Hilary herself has made these very claims. In this article, I would like to take some time to discuss the rhetoric behind this claim.
Here’s the big issue: By claiming that Donald shouldn’t be saying the things that he is saying, and by accusing him of aiding in the act of terrorism itself, Hilary is essentially insinuated that free speech is not important and it is not an inherent right in our society. By making statements saying that Trump has “given aid and comfort” to terrorists, Hilary is by definition accusing him of committing treason, which is punishable by death.
Here’s the Big Picture
Hilary and most of the liberal side would like to place the blame for increased terrorism on Trump’s head. Despite the fact that Trump has never held public office and despite the fact that they say he is totally unfit for ever doing so, they give him an extreme amount of credit for the influence that he holds over people. The root of the issue is this: Hilary has chosen to blame outside sources for the cause of terrorism which ultimately comes from a source within. Terrorism is a belief set, an ideology, a way of thinking, and a way of life. While it might be tempting to blame guns, freedom of speech, or even Trump’s own words, these are all merely (if at all) tools that are used by people who already believe in the terrible acts that they commit.
Finally there is no real proof that Donald Trump has increased enlistments in the battle lines of the terrorist armies. It is a strategically chosen narrative and it “has the benefit of being impossible to prove.” It could just as easily be argued that he has increased the numbers willing to fight against the war of terrorism, however the evidence would be just as lacking. Ultimately, every time a statement is made in the political realm, it should be fact checked, and it should be evaluated from a rhetorical standpoint. If the statement doesn’t make the cut for a solid and plausible argument, throw it out! Therefore, what should we do with the statement concerning Trump’s act of high treason? Throw it out.
It occurred to me today, that while I felt as if I had a fairly good idea of what Hilary Clinton’s stance on National Security is, I had never actually taken the time to look at her official campaign webpage to specifically learn about her views in her own words. Immediately, I decided to do some research. I found that the very first sentence on Hilary’s National Security page reads, “With policies that keep us strong and safe, America will lead the world in the 21st century.” In such few words, Hilary has used entire textbooks worth of knowledge on rhetorical strategy. Particularly, she has stated an argument, framed the issue, and made multiple assumptions within her statement.
What is the Argument?
The Argument that is made through her statement is this: By choosing Hilary, we will have a strong and safe country and America will be a world leader in the 21st century. The argument continues to emphasize the overarching argument of the campaign: that Hilary should be the next President. Therefore, though it is never directly stated, the audience clearly reads “Vote for Hilary” between the lines of the message.
How has the argument been framed?
The art of framing an argument has been skillfully included in Hilary’s statement. She has framed the argument to infer that it is HER policies that will make America strong and safe, and the new world leader. This is never directly stated, but it is a clever underlying rhetorical ploy. The reader can’t help but assume that it is Hilary Clinton’s National Security stances on terrorism and the like that will save the future of America.
What are the Assumptions?
There are a few key assumptions that Clinton makes in her opening statement on National Security. First, she assumes that everybody wants to live in a strong and safe country. Second, she assumes that everybody wants America to be a world leader in the 21st century. She is able to assume these things because strength, safety, and strong leadership are all a part of the American ideal, but in turn, she is assuming that everyone embodies the same American ideal that she does.
The Battle Cry
And then it hit me. Policy is not the primary fighter against terrorism. It is the Rhetoric behind the policy that is the true battle cry.
According to Merolla and Zechmeister with The Washing to Post, Terrorist attacks typically affect elections and public opinion in three distinct areas. After a brief discussion of each area, the question will remain: what does this tell us about the 2016 Presidential election?
According to the article, “when terrorist threat is pronounced, individuals become less trusting of others, even their own neighbors.” What does this mean? Essentially this means that views towards immigration will become increasingly hostile, and that attitudes towards Muslim and Aramaic immigration will especially escalate.
“Second, terrorist threats help increase the public’s support for certain political leaders.” Traditionally, an increase in threat elevates the Republican candidate as the most favorable solution. Republicans tend to have the persona of being stricter with immigration policies and having a heavier hand against terrorism. While the democratic candidate’s polling rates will typically fall after a recent internationally discussed terrorist attack.
“A third way public opinion shifts in response to terrorism is toward support for more hawkish policies in foreign affairs and homeland security, even at the expense of civil liberties.” This final factor is not influenced as much by political affiliation or party and is primarily a result of individual reactions to terror in the media. In the recent history of our country we have seen that countless citizens are willing to give up certain individual freedoms in order to feel safer and more secure as individuals and as communities.
Terrorism has been a significant issue throughout the entire 2016 election season. Based on the three things listed by The Washington Post, it could be argued that Trump is set up to win the election if the vote was based solely on the areas addressed in the article. Firstly, as individuals become less trusting of others, they will also become increasingly less trusting of Hilary – especially considering the fact that that is already one of her primary faults in the race. Second, Trump running as a Republican gives him the automatic public image of a stern hand when it comes to immigration, not to mention his own drastic statements about fighting terrorism and solving immigration problems. Finally, the shift towards more hawkish policies due to the increasing fear of terrorism without a doubt describes Trump’s stance on foreign policy. Only time will tell if the predictive guidelines of this article are reliable or not.
Just as the artist depicted in this cartoon, Trump has some very aggressive stances on terrorism. The ultimate question still stands – will these stances thrust his campaign on towards victory or will they cause ultimate defeat in the end?
Trump has said that he plans to put a ban on Muslim immigration. Naturally, this stance has received a great amount of backlash from the American people. According to CNN, Trump recently announced that he would, “suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism…” Many did not appreciate Trump’s targeted stance against the defined religious sector of Muslims. But will they rally around the stance of suspending immigration from territories that are likely to include very specific people groups and cultures?
The Verdict is in the Hands of the People:
The American people must decide before November- is Trump a potential hero or is he a potential Hitler? Terrorism strikes fear in the hearts of those who encounter it; fear is a drive much stronger than many other emotions. Fear of terrorism alone will compel many of his supporters to vote “Trump” in this upcoming election. However, I believe that the mentality of tolerance and acceptance of the American people will eventually win out.
Too Close for Comfort:
While some population of individuals believes that Trump will “Make America Great Again,” others are concerned that he is a bully and a bigot under the guise of fighting for terrorism. The Washington Post published an article discussing Trump’s claim when accepting the Republican nomination when he said, “‘I alone’ can save America, save the world, save you.” The article argues that it is drastic to compare Trump to Hitler, because “Trump is no mass murderer; Trump is no Nazi; Trump has launched no wars.” However, the similarities to many of Trump’s statements to those of Hitler during his campaign and rise to power are strikingly eerie.
Hitler wanted to wipe out an entire race off the face of the earth. Trump wants to eliminate a race from a nation. What’s next? Is this about a fight against terrorism? Or is this about using terrorism as a means of striking terror into the hearts of individuals and thus using terrorism as the ultimate, evil scapegoat in a terrific fight for power?