It is all well and good, in fact it is so traditional it has become a cliché, for a candidate, after a hard-fought election campaign, to promise to bind up the wounds suffered on both sides, and to draw all elements of the nation together.
The promise gains credibility when the candidate directly addresses the wound and his responsibility for causing it.
For example, Donald Trump would better qualify as a wound-binder if he told America’s 3.3 million Muslims that banning all their co-religionists (and in some cases, family members) from immigrating to America now seems a terrible idea.
If President-elect Trump could explain that the lame variant he also floated, banning not all Muslims, just people from countries beset by Islamist terrorism, was just typical, hastily-conceived, ill-considered campaign crap. And that it was not just shallow, but hurtful, and wrong, and might have meant excluding immigration from France, Belgium and the UK, which is silly and not what he meant at all.
If. If Mr. Trump could demonstrate he understood, the ideas of police patrols specifically focused on of Muslim neighborhoods, of identity checks targeting believers in Islam are not just insulting, but frightening, more American Muslims might entertain the hope he could be a healer.
But there has been no admission of error, no renunciation of religious bigotry as Presidential policy. Instead Donald Trump has continually doubled down on his campaign Islamophobia, by appointing such unrestrained haters, not just of Muslims but of Islam itself, as Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser; his personal bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel, and of course, Steve Bannon of Breitbart – he actually dares to call it News – a masterful mass-marketer of hatred and fear as his top strategic advisor.
No wonder a leader among American Muslims, Khalil Jahshan, the executive director of the Arab Center, told our guest today, Lawrence Pintak, “The U.S. we knew yesterday is no longer the same U.S To me, this is an unprecedented white insurgency. We’re in for some frightening surprises.”
Lawrence Pintak is founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. A former CBS News Middle East correspondent with a PhD in Islamic Studies, he also headed the Center for Journalism Training and Research at the American University in Cairo. He is the author of several books on relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world, and the recent free “digital newsbook”, Islam for Journalists. Most recently, he joined the Atlantic Council as a non-resident senior fellow.