Definitively Legitimizing Islamophobia

As previously noted, the Obama and Clinton camps worked diligently to avoid associating Muslims with terrorism and “radical Islam,” by avoiding the phrase almost entirely. But by calling for complete Muslim bans, calling for mosque surveillance, and liberally employing the phrase “radical Islam” in association with Muslim-Americans, Trump has managed to change the definition of Islam, and has legitimized an Islamophobic association that, just days after the election, has many Muslim-Americans feeling unsafe.

The power of the president to define issues equates to, as Zarefksy suggests, being able to plead a cause. Particularly on the subject of Muslim-Americans, Donald Trump effectively took the status quo social definitions of the Obama/Clinton years and changed what “Muslim” and “Islam” meant for many Americans, effectively associating Muslims with terrorism. Throughout his campaign, Trump subtlety (or, at times, blatantly) advanced the case that Muslim-Americans are dangerous and radical by nature of their religion.

And while Trump’s rhetoric might seem like it would be convincing for only a small percentage of the population, now that he will officially ascend to the presidency, his language will be much more powerful and have a much more legitimizing effect. As Zarefsky puts it, “The presidential claim is offered as if it were natural and uncontroversial, rather than chosen and contestable.” Trump’s election to the presidency truly validates his definitions for many of his supporters. These definitions will become a widespread school of thought because they have been legitimized.

No longer does the president say that Muslims should be treated with respect and without fear; this president says the citizenry should be leery and suspicious of Muslims. Muslim-Americans across the country are reporting of the immediate results of Trump’s de-facto, definitional validation:

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-8-40-08-amAnd the results won’t end there; Trump’s newly legitimized definitions are likely to pervade, at least on some level, for generations to come. Muslim-Americans have been weary of Trump’s rhetoric from the beginning, but now his words carry an unmatched validation which could cause irreparable damage to the image and treatment of newly terrorism-linked Muslims across the country.

Trump’s “Opportunity Model” regarding Terrorism

When Opportunity knocks on your door, you answer it with assertive confidence. Donald Trump is turning his view on Terrorism into an opportunistic view in regards that he is not going to sit back and wait but going to be forceful and take charge of the situation. Hillary and Trump view the terroristic aspect differently in regards that “Hillary views it as a grievance regard, where it occurs because of injustice. While Trump sees it as opportunity in that terrorist see a opportunity to thrive so they attack.”

Donald Trump sets the bar high when it comes to his force to be used to secure America and make our country a safe Nation once again. Although both Candidates are basically attacking the same problem, they are attacking it with different mechanisms. Donald is leaning more toward the alliances of more Middle- East countries and implying a more “Extreme Vetting” that will prevent terroristic threats or groups to get into the country.

Clinton, however, wanted to bring in the refugees of the Syrian/Muslim population, but if that was allowed then it puts us at risk of more terrorist to invade into our country. She is wanting to allow this to happen because the people will feel empathy and want to be behind her to let these “Innocent” people enter out nation but who knows who could really be coming onto our soil.

Our nation needs a firm stand on the situation of terrorism and Donald Trump understands the force that is required to have the people believe he has what it takes.

Hacking: The Hidden Act of Terror

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?

Could a Single Dropped Bomb be Influential upon Group Think?

Listening to Kristen Anderson discuss the youth and foreign policy, she noted that public opinion, especially among youth, is very subject to change, “at the drop of a bomb”. Since the youth, since the 2008 election, has gone primarily left in most of its views, it is interesting to note that when we as a people view such acts of terrorism on television, youtube, or other streaming services, it causes us to be more inclined to become a “world police” of sorts, acting to prevent future violence in foreign nations. When ISIS sends videos of gruesome attacks, according to Anderson, it tugs the heartstrings of the American people. InformOverload does a very informative bit on the power of these videos and how it sways our thinking into more of an offensive mindset.

As we have slightly moved to the left as millennials, it is interesting that foreign policy and terrorism is the easiest to sway towards a more conservative way of thing, with the single action of a terrorist attack. Were it to happen on American soil, this concern and groupthink would most likely double in its urgency. Often, controversial issues such as the death penalty or abortion are not directly affecting our lives, and we do not place it quite as high. With safety at home and abroad, terrorist attacks, especially domestic, bring the terror to one’s front door. The fear invoked, or even the simple potential, is enough to hold a strong grip over the constituency, and will probably continue to be a pressing issue on the minds of most voters during these tumultuous times of ISIS and school/theater shootings

A Misleading Call to Arab-Americans- Collin Barber

“Muslims must report other Muslims who are engaging in terroristic events.” Said Donald Trump in the second debate. I believe that Donald Trump was going for a more explicit approach to this statement, but he could have worded this one better. America has focused a lot of the terroristic attacks on Arab-Americans but they are not the only ones that are destroying this country. The Arab-American population does make up a decent minority of the population in America and every vote counts, so Donald Trump even though he wants to win over the people of this country, he also needs to remember that he is definitely  going to lose some with that statement.

However, in a later debate he was able to correct himself to an extent and express his thoughts in a more substantial manner and make up for this horrendous remark.

“We need American Muslims to be our eyes and ears on the front line.” stated Hillary Clinton in a debate when asked the same question that was asked to Donald Trump. I feel as Hillary did take a more subtle approach to this question but in reality still ended up committing to the same point that Donald Trump made with his answer. Hillary wanted to win over the American Muslims and the other voters so she tried to word her answer in a way to show a favor to each side but obviously was still against the American Muslims. She included in her speech that, “They are our eyes and ears, they want to be apart of our home security so they need to help us.” Basically she is calling them out saying that all terrorism is caused by them and they have to do a better job of reporting to the authorities about any future terroristic attacks that could take place.

I feel as if both candidates wanted to win over the majority population, but did not show much concern for the Muslims and Islamic. They are using the rhetoric of dismissing the Muslim and putting limits on them but it is taking a tole on the thoughts of the ones affected and as a whole demoralizing the importance of citizens of this country.

Terrorism and Apologia

According to Trent and Friedenburg, the purposes of an apologia are to 1) explain a bad behavior in a positive light, 2) justify the behavior, and 3) remove the topic from public discussion. The authors offer several methods to achieve these purposes: from full-on confessions, to denial, to differentiation. But when Donald Trump was caught making lewd comments about women in a 2005 hot mic gaffe, his apologia took a terrorism-centered turn.

Trump immediately released an apologia video to Youtube which started out using the “transcendental” strategy to make a more general statement about his character. Although he made a small confession of his transgressions, he focused on touting the fact that in the ten years since the video, he had changed, he had met Americans who wanted change, and that he was willing to continue to change the country. Overall, the transcendental strategy seemed like a presidential way to  move away from the scandal.

But in the second presidential debate,Trump’s apologia strategy shifted to talk more about ISIS, and less about a miraculous change of character. When asked about his lewd remarks, Trump made a feeble attempt to justify his behavior as “locker room talk.” But the bulk of his answer centered around ISIS:

“You know, when we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have them, frankly, drowning people in steel cages, where you have wars and horrible, horrible sights all over and you have so many bad things happening, this is like medieval times. We haven’t seen anything likes this….I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We need to get on to much more important and bigger things.”

Trump used the issue of terrorism and of ISIS as a method to change the public narrative. But this apologia strategy was misguided and unsatisfying. Instead of using a simple confession strategy, or attempting to blame the media through a differentiation strategy, he attempted to distract from his own misdeeds by delivering an impassioned oration about the Islamic State.

Simply trying to strong-arm the conversation to a completely unrelated issue does little to heal broken public trust, and seems to ignore the justification and explanation aspects of an effective apologia. During an apologia, the speaker should focus on making a statement of his changed character and of his other positive attributes.But dismissing the scandal and instead attempting to incite anger over terrorism is a strategy that misses the mark, at least given the standards for effective apologia discussed by Trent and Friedenburg.

In the future, Trump should leave terrorism out of his apologies and stick to the ages-old “changed man” narrative.

Get on Your Game Hillary

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.

Fear Tactics in Campaign 2016

The central argument of David Westen’s The Political Brain is that humans are fundamentally motivated more by emotional appeals than logical appeals. To this end, Westen offers a slew of examples, such as Bill Clinton’s shining moment in a 1992 presidential town hall debate (and George H. W. Bush’s relatively patrician demeanor). Moreover, Westen argues that fear is the most powerful motivator, offering the 1964 Johnson Daisy Ad as proof of the effectiveness of negative advertising.

As Westen puts it, fear is a primal emotion found in the amygdala. And as an emotion associated with the “older” and more primitive brain, fear is one of the easiest emotions to trigger.

Challengers have been using fear tactics for generations of political campaigns; most often, they associate the incumbent with crime, uncertainty, and terror- from Reagan’s “Bear” ad to Bush’s “Willie Horton” ad. Donald Trump, in particular, focuses his campaign on negative and fear based advertisement. From social change to foreign influence, Trump has encouraged fear on a variety of issues, although on none more so than the issue of terrorism. According to the Atlantic:

“Data provided by the Public Religion Research Institute [showed that] 65 percent of Trump supporters feared being victims of terrorism, versus 51 percent of all Americans. Three-fourths of Trump supporters feared being victims of crime, versus 63 percent overall. “

Trump’s use of fear has clearly made its dent on a significant portion of the GOP. And for Trump, who portrays himself as the antitheses to uncertainty and terror, fear is an extremely useful tool. But in recent months, Hillary Clinton has joined the fear mongering ranks by pushing the “unstable Trump” narrative, asking audiences “Would you want him to have the nuclear codes?”

Unfortunately for Clinton, Trump has the monopoly on fear in this election. Although her point about an unstable, dangerous Trump is valid, Trump’s accusations speak to a more fundamental fear that is less distant and far more relevant: fear of terrorists, fear of dying, and fear for safety. Terrorism is Trump’s bread and butter, because he can use this issue to legitimize deeply fundamental human fears for life which resonate far more than a distant fear of having an unstable leader.

Fear is among the most affective and potent human emotions; Trump is smart to tie threats to human life, threats to safety, and threats of terrorism to Hillary Clinton.



Could an Attack Assist Trump?

Due to Trump’s rhetorical strategy on having a “strong” foreign policy and claiming to deal with terrorism swiftly and harshly, is it plausible at this point near election time, if a significant terrorist attack occurred. Could Trump rhetorically use such an occurence to his advantage?

If Trump were to let his personality dwindle in the face of such a situation, whether a recurrence of the Orlando shootings or another theater shooting, Trump’s previous staunch stance against terrorism could prove to be a valuable asset to his campaign. I say this very conditionally, in hope that our country remains safe. However, this late into election season, this is really the only way the man can win. Dissatisfaction with Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, combined with Trump’s strategy of tough foreign policy, could sway some voters who wish to feel secure at home to vote for Trump. Though Hillary demonstrated much of her experience and knowledge of foreign policy during the debate, including her stance on swiftly dealing with terrorism, Trump could salvage a small victory and gain some support if he uses the strategy that Hillary has not previously dealt with terrorism, that he would not have let xyz event happen on his watch, and that it would have been dealt with harshly.

Though a lack of experience and expertise on the subject of foreign policy is clear, Trump, combined with the gender bias against women and that men are stronger and more decisive, could absolutely utilize such an event to his advantage. People fear domestic insecurity more than anything else, and if Trump rhetorically promotes safety and plows against Hillary’s transgressions during her term as Secretary of State, this could win him some much needed support in these last few weeks.

A Powerful Stand

In the last of the debates, Donald Trump had invited the mother of an American soldier who was killed over seas as a guest to speak and attend the debate. In my opinion this was an attempt arouse emotions and feelings to enforce a sense of sympathy over the crowd that was their that night. I believe many people are sensitive to a point when it comes to losing a loved one and will be very persuaded by the emotions that it will emerge. I do not think he used Mrs. Smith in the direct sense to degrade Hillary but more in aspect of creating the sympathy felt by the crowd in order to get the audience to feel the hatred that the mother has against the terrorist. Donald Trump has spoken his mind on terrorism, he has stated many times his opinion towards it and I think he wanted to interact more with his audience so he decided to use this strategy to hit people in the “feels” more and get their attention.

Also, during one of the debates and speeches between Hillary and Trump, they both spoke freely on their opinion and view on terrorism. I think Donald Trump wants to send more of a deliberate message to the audience instead of saying whatever is needed to be said to thrive through the debate. Trump is a powerful man, he has acquired this power because of his decisions and ability to make good calls. I think that his ability to handle a plan and execute it is very validated. He may come off as unstable but he is not the one making the call and then it is done, it is to go through a series of people who have the ability to resent it and stop it. He is wanting people to understand that he is who he is because his cognitive ability to make beneficial judgement calls and can tremendously help the nation in the aspect of terrorism.

Both Hillary and Donald are against terrorist who attack this nation and want to defend us. They are both giving persuasive ideas and goals to put an end to it, but Donald Trump has made himself out of good judgement calls and knowledge and I believe he has proven to the people that he has his “plan” to help deal and cope with the terrorist and to reform the nation of America.