SHETH: Upcoming presidential election is officially bonkers
Opinions Column: Sonam Says
First thing's first: Whoever threw “The Donald v. The Pope” into the "Least Likely Feud of All Time" jar, please come and claim your winnings.
Last week, during a news conference, the Pope insinuated that Donald Trump was not a Christian because of his hateful and divisive rhetoric. Naturally, Trump got together with his crack team of third graders and Twitter followers and released a statement, part of which said, “If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened.”
Trump went on to say that a religious leader questioning another person’s faith was “disgraceful.” And on this count, Trump is absolutely correct. Everyone knows only normal people get to question others’ faith, like when Trump said that the President of the United States was secretly a Muslim. Or when he called Ben Carson’s religion into question. Or that time he said Ted Cruz was not an evangelical Christian because of his lies and dishonesty.
Regardless, some people felt that the Pope had no business deciding whether someone was a Christian or not. And that’s a great point. What could possibly have made him feel that way? Donald Trump has shown nothing but kindness and civility to everyone who isn’t a POW, black, Hispanic, Muslim, Asian, Seventh-day Adventist, Iowan, female, disabled or poor. That is, when he’s not busy bullying his opponents into submission, demonizing people fleeing from war, calling others losers and dopes and encouraging violence against protestors at his raucous rallies.
More than that, if Trump wasn’t a true Christian, wouldn’t he be doing things that would blatantly prove he knew nothing about Christianity? Wouldn’t he be making obvious mistakes like placing money on a communion plate because he “thought it was for offering,” or referring to the New Testament book of 2 Corinthians as “Two Corinthians” or not being able to differentiate between the Old Testament and New Testament? So come on everyone, let’s just gain some perspective here. The Pope is obviously way off base in his claim, and Trump is right when he says Mexico is using the Pope as a political player, probably as part of some nefarious plot to send over more “rapists and criminals.”
The circus that is Donald Trump’s presidential run isn’t the worst or only unique factor in this election — its ripple effect is felt far and deep. So much so, in fact, that Trump’s absurdity makes the remaining contenders’ level of crazy seem palatable. Take one of his primary establishment opponents: Marco Rubio, otherwise known as the guy who wants to force women to have their rape-conceived children. Others may know him as the man who implied that President Obama is a real-life Manchurian Candidate — someone who’s committed treason and is a foreign agent. Yet he wasn’t at all pushed by the media to give specifics or prove his comment, because everyone is focused entirely on Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, on another front, we’ve got Ben Carson, who may be the first candidate in history who had to prove that he did, in fact, stab someone when he was younger. Ted Cruz, self-described stalwart defender of the Constitution, believes that immigration should be conducted based on religion. As for “moderate” Republican John Kasich, his policies have included imposing a law that prevents counselors from discussing abortion with rape victims, as well as outlawing late-term abortions even when the health of the mother is at risk.
It’s worth noting that the hypocrisy and pandering is by no means one-sided. The Democrats have been putting on a show of their own. Hillary Clinton paints herself as the champion of minority rights, despite having supported The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act during Bill Clinton’s reign, which resulted in more black men being incarcerated than ever before in American history. She also advocated the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which almost negated black media ownership and removed caps on corporate media ownership. The irony of Clinton referring to herself as a progressive despite having capitulated to the right-wing narrative on crime, welfare and race is delicious. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders’s entire campaign has become so repetitive that it seems more feasible for him to just walk around with a “Screw the 1 percent” sign on his face instead of blowing millions on campaigning.
While the Democrats have certainly had their disagreements, their race is nowhere near comparable to that of the Republicans, which has devolved into little more than a kindergarten food fight spearheaded by an adult-sized infant. It’s looking more and more likely that the November election will come down to a choice between a reality TV star and a corrupt politician who’s the poster child for the 1 percent. That’s why I’d like to take this moment to formally throw my support behind a figure who’s demonstrated more maturity than most of these candidates combined: my 3-year-old nephew.
Sonam Sheth is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in economics and statistics. Her column, "Sonam Says," runs on alternate Thursdays.
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