The media and American left has focused on Donald Trump’s bigotry toward Muslims as a cause to get fired up. However if you parse through his words a strong anti-catholic strain which is consistent with other demagogues of the past in American history is present. Trump has stated we should ban anyone from countries with a proven history of terrorism. To me that casts aspersions on the close to thirty million Americans who can trace their lineage to Ireland. Given Trump’s right-wing political beliefs which no doubt would clash with the idea of a united Irish Republic (much like that of conservatives in Britain who gave moral support for the terrorist Ulster Unionists in the 1970’s and 1980’s) I thought Trump was possibly raising the issue of the IRA because after all it mimics his other anti-Catholic views which have been on full display for months.
Partly because of the anti-IRA songs sung by English football hooligans outside an irish pub in Marseille as the city was engulfed in violence around the England-Russia game on Saturday, my radar was already heightened toward this issue. Coupled with Trump’s ugly innuendos towards Latinos most notably Mexicans you wonder if his statement was in fact planned and the latest in a long-line of conservative attacks on ethnic Catholics that goes back to the Know-Nothing party of the 1850’s. right through the “roaring 1920’s” and the revival of the KKK after the release of Birth of a Nation.
Trump’s attacks on Latinos reflect a modern version of the attacks on Irish and Italian immigrants between 1900 and 1930. Trump’s rhetoric mirrors that of some of his brethren from the northeast at the time, those patrician elites that as protestants looked down on catholics.
I will note because of my leftist political background I have always resented comparisons between the IRA (whose political orientation was/is leftist and whose targets tended to be conservative interests) and right-wing groups like Daesh/ISIS. I understand that terrorism is terrorism and have never supported violence, although if pressed I can make strong distinctions between the types of targets the IRA selected and that of Islamic terrorists. I have long supported Sinn Fein as a (peaceful) political force which no doubt would cast me as a supporter of terrorism by some – but the doctrinaire religious-based right-wing terrorism that Daesh/ISIS advocates is different politically. Daesh-ISIS represent a threat to western liberal values though their world view mirrors that of Trump and the American right – bigoted, exclusionary and living life in a silo where religion and violence trumps inclusion and unity.
Given this reality, Trump’s anti-terrorism rhetoric coupled with his attacks on Latinos and immigrants might in fact include catholics in addition to muslims. Also it is worth noting that Trump referenced the Middle East when talking about immigration from Afghanistan:
The terrorist, Omar Mir Saddique Mateen, is the son of an immigrant from Afghanistan who openly published his support for the Afghanistani Taliban and even tried to run for President of Afghanistan. According to Pew, 99% of people in Afghanistan support oppressive Sharia Law.
We admit more than 100,000 lifetime migrants from the Middle East each year. Since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States.
Afghanistan has never been geographically part of the Middle East. But the country has a muslim-majority so maybe that counts as part of the “Middle East,” for the geographically-challenged and bigoted Trump.
Trump’s bigotry and elitism knows know bounds. In the coming weeks I will be looking for more anti-Catholic and anti-Irish clues coming from the presumptive GOP nominee.