*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Despite America’s guarantee of fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution, this nation has never been a leader in providing basic human rights to all citizens. However, over the past eight years the country improved in spite of religious and racist Republicans who did their best to make America a major human rights violator. Republicans have fought, tooth and nail, to prohibit various segments of the population from enjoying equal and basic human rights based on their racism, religion, and shameless malevolence toward other Americans.
Now, with a callous Republican Congress, a fervent evangelical theocrat setting domestic policy, and a ruthless supreme leader renowned around the globe as a racist and misogynist, for the first time America has been designated as one of the biggest threats to human rights around the world. That this nation is a threat to its own citizens’ human rights in 2017 is indisputable.
The advocacy group, “Human Rights Watch,” released its annual report for 2017 on the global threats to human rights as it has for the past 27 years, and this year due to the rise of Donald Trump et al, HRW declared that the United States is now a leading global threat to human rights. The ranking should please the Republican Congress, alt-right Nazis, neo-conservatives, evangelical fanatics and their substantial cabal of nativist diehards because they have worked tirelessly for eight years to put an anti-human rights government in place to tyrannize and oppress the American people. They must be thrilled to orgasm that their cruel and inhumane reach now extends worldwide.
America has not had such an atrocious distinction in its history even though global human rights groups have cited America’s violations in the past eight years over criminalizing homelessness and Republican cuts to basic services like clean water, healthcare, food and housing as well as keeping nearly a quarter of America’s children in dire poverty.
The executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, noted this is not the first time America was “cast as a bad actor” on the world stage. But he said that George W. Bush’s use of water boarding and other illegal interrogation techniques (torture) were mild compared to the threat from an America under a Trump administration. Mr. Roth said,
“This is a more fundamental threat to human rights than George Bush after 9/11. I see Trump treating human rights as a constraint on the will of the majority in a way that Bush never did. I wouldn’t say Trump is a trendsetter as much as riding the populist wave” set by other authoritarian leaders and strongmen in Russia, Egypt, Turkey and China.
One would add that Trump is frighteningly enamored with Philippine president and confessed murderer Rodrigo Duterte who regularly boasts about ordering the summary execution of thousands of “suspected” drug dealers; what deadly Donny said is “the right way” to run a country. As Americans have witnessed before Trump is even in the White House, Roth notes that there are no laws, regulations or respect for human life with tyrants like Trump and his ilk because they “revel in their flouting of rules and norms.”
Another issue for HRW with a Trump in the White House is its attempt to promote human rights around the globe. According to Roth Trump’s ascendancy eliminates any hope of America using its “human rights record” to “curb abuses abroad.” Let’s face it, Trump and his cabal have already targeted several demographics for abuse in America, so any hope of the “nasty” administration being sympathetic to targeted groups in other nations “will cease to exist.”
Since HRW realizes there will be no sympathetic or compassionate mindset in the White House going forward, the human rights advocacy group will “shift its emphasis from the White House and government to the public.” Roth also said that HRW planned to be more aggressive with congressional lobbying efforts, but that will be about as effective as lobbying the Koch brothers to stop buying Republicans. Mr. Roth said,
“Our recommendations are not so much to governments as to people. We’re trying to issue a wake-up call to Western publics to stand up.”
Sad to say, it is too late and Mr. Roth likely knows his organization is fighting a for a losing cause in America. Because the incoming administration, like the Koch-Republican Congress and soon-to-be evangelical Supreme Court, has no more regard for the will of the people “standing up” than they do for human rights in America or around the world.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.