Friday, May 7, 2021

American Lives Matter

Ganesh Vattyam

USA Elections2020 are over after a nail-biting battle between incumbent President Donald Trump and Democratic party candidate Joe Biden. In comparison with previous elections, this election is special and has raised a question in many minds, is it between political parties or two groups? General inclination will go towards the second option. In the history of American election, this year will be remembered for at least next few decades and Trump made his own place in the hearts of his followers and haters. This article is neither a pro nor anti Trump. During his four-year tenure as President Trump had to go through severe criticism from opposition parties, public and media.

Game is over for Trump

Though Trump did not concede the defeat in the election, the game is over for him and on Jan 20 th, 2021 Biden/Harris will be sworn in as President and Vice-President to serve in the Oval Office for next four years. His haters called him as a dictator while his followers called him as a true patriot. Having participated as a quiet member in many forums during election, I noticed a total contrast of opinions between two groups which forced me to do research and write this article. Let us examine the factors or decisions or policies that forced hatred or love for President Trump. People knew Trump as a Playboy before 2016 elections and his speeches during Primaries and debates introduced his personality, body language and attitude to the public and political arena.

Trump, a narcissist?

Had  the incidents that happened  during Trump era never happened before in previous administrations? Sometimes our emotions generated by aversion shadow  the positive factors due to the negativity filled against a person over a period. What factors made Trump so special? Answer to the above question without second thoughts Trump’s body language and actions. His name became a brand by terming any adamant or stubborn official as Trump. Pre-Trump era, Hitler used to be the household name for comparisons. After watching the administration in Trump era from oval office in last four years, one might get the feeling that Trump has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NSP). Many great leaders have narcissism. NSP is a psychological condition with frequently damaging hurtful results. So, what are the signs of NSP?

Behavioural signs of NSP  

Here are some important behavioral signs of NSP. 1. Self-promotion and exaggeration of own qualities and achievements- to the point that the truth becomes distorted or becomes an outright lie. 2. An unrealistic sense of authority over others, and an enjoyment and abuse of that authority and power. 3. An obsession with getting attention, gratification, and reward from others, even if it is at the expense of someone else. 4. Fantasies of fame and notoriety. 5. Limited or no sense of guilt or responsibility in terms of actions towards others. Someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is concerned with achieving for themselves only, if someone else is hurt along the way then so be it. 6. A lack of empathy with others. One more important characteristic of the grandiose narcissist is the stereotypical kind most people are familiar with outspoken, arrogant, self-loving,  entitled, with grandiose fantasies. Narcissists live and die by their own version of the truth even if it is a blatant lie.

Outspoken body language

In general racism is a symptom of Narcissistic personality. Decision on Trump’s Narcissism will be left to readers’ judgement. Narcissists see what they want to see. What makes Trump more unusual is that an astonishing number of people see what they want to see when they look at him. His outspoken body language became the voice of many of his followers whose feelings were buried inside their hearts for years. Though his haters think Trump provoked the internal feelings of white Americans triggering unexpected violent attacks on people from other races. With the support he received, he won 2016 election and gave a tough fight in 2020 election though many thought it will be a landslide victory for Biden.

Six persons responsible for Karna’s death

 When Arjuna repented for killing of Karna in the battlefield after knowing the blood relation with him, Krishna consoles him by saying you are not the only one responsible for Karna’s death. The four factors killed Karna are Parasurama, Goddess of Earth, Mother Kunthi and finally the combo of Krishna and Arjuna. Likewise, the four factors for Trump’s loss are COVID, George Floyd, combo of Media and Mail-in ballots and finally Trumps Attitude and Body Language. Let us analyze what he did in last four years keeping aside the personal emotions and why he had to do such things.

Politics in Pre-Trump Era

The politics in pre-Trump era were congenial for the entry of Trump  though the debates turned into heated arguments. In general topics in focus in any debate or election are economy, unemployment, race, immigration, and foreign policies. On many occasions questions were taken from the floor on topics like getting jobs back to America, provide employment opportunities to locals, terrorism, and foreign policies. In general, one gets the feeling after hearing the responses from candidates proposed approach towards the issue is like without breaking stick and without killing snake solution with an intention not to hurt the feelings of voters.

Trump administration in four years

Let’s analyze the important topics in the debate and how Trump’s administration fared in last four years. Trump is an unconventional politician not like his predecessors. Economy and unemployment until COVID stuck USA in Feb/March 2020. At the time when the Covid endemic hit the country, the economy was at its high. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, each year saw an average growth of 2.5% from previous like in the case of Obama’s period. After a record fall in the 1st quarter of 2020 due to COVID, the economy rose to record highs of 33% in the 3rd quarter of 2020 but hasn’t recoverred all it’s loses. Trump’s administration continued a trend of economic growth which began during Obama administration. According to US Bureau of Labour Statistics, unemployment was at its record low of 3.5% in February 2020 and then it touched record highs due to COVID impact. Interesting breakdown here in comparison with previous administration: during Obama administration unemployment rates were much higher (>16%) with African American population dropping down to 9% towards the end of Obama’s term. During Trump administration, as of February 2020, these numbers went below 6% until the pandemic changed the scene triggering a significant hike in these numbers.

Racism though many incidents happened in last few years, George Floyds case attracted much required attention from all sectors. People from almost all races condemned  George Floyd’s death and the police action on him, by carrying ‘I can’t breathe’ posters. Prior to this incident 11 people were killed by police officers in various incidents. Recent one being Samuel DuBose being killed by white police officer in Cincinnati in 2015 during Obama’s administration. President Trump, Obama called for justice in both incidents. It was the body language between both presidents that mattered most. If there is racial equality in pre-Trump era, after Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in 1865, why  did  it take 100 years to give voting rights to African Americans? The voting right for blacks was granted by the then President Lindon Johnson after the great march to Washington DC by Martin Luther King Jr with the famous “I have a dream” speech in 1965.

Arkansas killings under Democratic administration

If racism is not there, why black civil right leaders are still fighting for their community rights? According to PEW research centre, blacks are skeptical that black people will ever have equal rights in this country. In 1919 “Elaine Massacre killing” in the state of Arkansas over 200 African American Negro farming families including men, women and children, under the administration of the Democratic Party Governor Charles Brough and President Woodrow Wilson, by 500 soldiers is one of the crudest incidents in the history of America since slavery ended in 1865. Trump is not a conventional politician like many other presidents. Due to his characteristic attitude could not emote the support expected from the community. Many immigrants supported the voice of ‘Black Lives Matter,’ surprisingly why not similar support was offered when Srinivas Kuchibhatla was killed in Kansas by a former Naval officer in a hate crime with a mistaken identity thinking  Kuchibhatla is from Iran and the shooter reportedly yelled by saying “Get out of my country” before firing the shot.

When Indian American student was strangulated

A 19-year-old Indian American student was sexually assaulted and then strangulated to death in Chicago by an African American in 2019. 1907 Indian riots in Bellingham in Washington State during Teddy Roosevelt administration, Dot Busters attack in New Jersey in late 1980s during Ronald Regan administration are one of the few examples of racist attacks on Indians. Martin Luther King was assassinated by White Man James Earl Ray believed to be racially motivated assassin and in 1990s widowed wife of  King speculated on US government involvement in conspiracy though the speculation was never proved to be true. Likewise, many killings took place in the last 10 years. Racist feeling was there before, Trump has a history of speech and actions widely viewed as racist or racially charged provoking incidents relating to racism. If majority of his supporters believed to have the racist feelings, with a popular vote bank of 70 million, every minute during his entire term one should have witnessed at least 30 racial attacks.

All is fair in war and politics

All is fair in war and politics and winning matters the most and every politician must choose his own way of winning. Trump had his ways in 2016 and opponents had countered well in 2020 elections. If one assumes Trump provoked the white racist feeling, who provoked the riots, looting and damages of public property in major city downtowns after Floyd’s death? As responsible citizens of America can we support these actions after every racism related killing? Preferential bonding in respective races is always present in every part of the country where a white mingling with majority white population, African American families mingling with fellow community members, Indians having friends among fellow members from the same state in India, ditto goes with Chinese, South American population etc. There is no question, every life in the world matters.

 Immigration and terrorism

Last four years many people commented on Trump’s divisive politics to gain votes. According to 2019 Working America Wage report, median wage of an average American is around $40K/year. Is it any way comparable to an immigrant entering USA with a valid H-1 or working on optional training F-1 Visa with an average salary of $80K/year driving luxury cars and living in a house costing over $500K? How many times we heard the sentence I am training my replacement in an outsourcing environment. During previous administrations refugees from different countries arrived in the US for different reasons and got the benefits for a living. Several refugee immigrants  are doing much better than an average American citizen in some States.

Who is provoking the feeling in locals?

 Is it Trump or average immigrant lifestyle in USA? What did the previous governments do to take necessary precautions to create opportunities for locals? In many previous debates when questions were asked on this topic from the floor, presidential candidates simply answered saying that it was not easy to stop offshore contracting or immigration flow. Subsequently, no attempts were made by winning candidate to control the follow of the immigrants into the country. Why Trump administration thought about hiking the minimum H-1 wage to 150K? Oval office sources reported it’s an attempt to limit or discourage the immigrant flow into the country and create opportunities for locals and reduce the unemployment rate.

Measures for restricting terrorism

This is an attempt to put an end to body shopping, hosting immigrant workers in guest houses etc. Few times in the debates question was asked on how the government can take measures on restricting terrorism? None of the answers given by the candidates met with the satisfaction of a normal white voter. Trump administration banning travel to seven middle eastern countries, why? Because these countries have no proper process setup for background check and/or unstable government etc. His administration followed ‘prevention is better than cure’ policy and never encouraged refugee entry in the country. The attack on World Trade Centre in 2001 killed many people, making many children orphans, and impacted economy in a big way.

America first

The executors of the attack entered as immigrants to USA in 2000 to learn flying lessons. Due to the attacks executed by Jihadi groups in various parts of the world following the WTC attack Trump’s anti Islamophobic statements reached rocket high by making him a bigot. In his inaugural address, President Trump announces an ‘America First’ approach to foreign policy and trade, which centres on reducing U.S. trade deficits and rebalancing burden sharing within alliances. Trump’s promises to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism” and emphasizes that “it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.”. Throughout the term his policies are confused and questionable, gave scope for opposition to criticise.

Foreign Policy

With Trump’s first—and perhaps only—term in office ending soon, his foreign-policy successes can be grouped into three broad categories: big victories, partisan victories, and technocratic victories. A significant step was to take control of South China Sea by increasing the naval fleet to 350 ships and taking steps to reduce the reliance on China for operations, bringing global awareness on mobile technologies and strengthening ties with India, Japan, and Australia. Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem drew warnings of uprisings in the region and conflict with Palestinians. In the United States, the embassy move has enjoyed broad bipartisan backing and is now largely seen as irreversible; Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden said he would keep the embassy in Jerusalem if elected, even as historic bipartisan support for Israel looks to be eroding in Democratic circles.

How did Trump’s foreign policy help India?

When Indo-China war broke out in 1962 and Chinese army occupied 43,000 square kilometres  of Indian land, then Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru knocked the door of USA for help. President JFK ignored the request to maintain good relationship with China due friendship  between both countries. Now India is fighting the war against China. Many times, concerns were raised on foreign policy with China in the presidential debates. None of his administration’s victories outweighs the damage that Trump has done to the office of the presidency or his response to the pandemic that has killed nearly 240,000 Americans, infected over 10 million in a 330 million population country so far.

Trump could handled the pandemic better

Trump could have done better in handling the situation well and keep it under control, though in reality if any other individual is holding the oval office in early days of pandemic situation would have been in similar situation with 2.5 hospital beds for every 1,000 persons and no available treatment, medication and vaccine. But Trumps outspoken attitude, disagreement with doctors and body language towards accepting the failure, truth and facts generated negativity towards his calibre to face the pandemic and take necessary preventive measures. Having mentioned that Trump did not meet the expectations to control COVID did he do that bad in handling the support required for treatment? Towards the end of March, State of Ohio governor DeWine got Trump’s help in effort to secure FDA approval of PPE Sterilization Process.

Trump got entire world stock of Remdesivir to US

 What does that mean to anyone? When hospitals beds were full of COVID patients, the N95 masks required to be sterilized for reuse. Due to Trump intervention FDA approved it quickly. During early July Trump’s administration has secured nearly the entire world stock of antiviral drug Remdesivir from US-based Gilead Sciences for the next three months. After Trump’s retaliation threat in the month of April, India Lifted Restrictions on Malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine exports. The above three accomplishments happened on war footing  due to his dictatorial attitude. Trump administration targeted for release of first dose of vaccine in November 2020 with a plan to distribute over 100 million doses by January 2021.

About $2 billion committed to vaccine

It could have been his pitch for winning election, but his administration put efforts in controlling the COVID. Under his administration in September 2020 department of US health and administration services (HHS) in coordination with Department of Defense (DoD) and Centres for Disease Control (CDC) developed a comprehensive plan on rapid distribution of doses after FDA approval. Pfizer’s own press release in July announced that the U.S. government placed an initial order of 100 million doses commitment of vaccine for $1.95 billion and as part of Trump administration operation at warp speed planned the delivery of 300 million doses of vaccine by funding various pharmacy vaccine development organisations. Pfizer confirmed in their latest press release their vaccine development was not part of operation warp speed.

Spanish Flu (HINI) was far deadlier

When compared with another deadliest pandemic Spanish Flu (H1N1) in 1918 under democratic president Woodrow Wilson administration had casualties around 675,000, over 10 million infections in an 80 million population country. Subsequent smaller in scale pandemics H1N2 (1957-58), H1N3 (1968) also had casualties of over 100,000 in USA. Each pandemic took thousands of lives and took longer time to develop vaccine. Sometimes, tough situations need a dictator to get the job done in rapid pace. Some people are skeptical on the availability of vaccine within a year of outbreak if someone other than Trump in the office.

A known devil better than unknown angel

Remember the proverb a known devil is better than an unknown angel. Going by the numbers, Trump’s administration did much better in controlling the casualties due to the modern medicine development and available technologies. Infection numbers may get higher due to the four times increase in population. Trump’s outspoken statements, lies, outbursts, and disagreements with doctors in public outweighed his administration efforts in the development and control of vaccine. The vaccines Trump administration planned to acquire are not just for one race, it’s for the entire 330 million population in USA. What’s Next? Though many parts of the country are celebrating Trump’s defeat thinking unity will be restored soon by bridging the divisions created by Trump. In this author’s view, defeating Trump is a temporary victory, it’s important to kill Trumpism in people’s minds. Otherwise another Trump will take office in the future to address the white American concerns.

Trump, a voice of hidden frustration

As it was stated earlier, Trump became a voice of hidden frustration of many white Americans. Every community is treated as minority other than white population with an assumption that they have an advantage to get ahead in the country. This is a land of unity, integrity, freedom, liberty, and immigrants. As an educated professional every individual should ask this question how Trump is held responsible for ‘Black Lives Matter’ when such incidents happened in the past also? Only black lives matter or every life in America matters? That’s what the USA Declaration of Independence states by mentioning all men are created equal. After the WTC incident how a fellow Muslim immigrant was treated by fellow citizens in America? Did Trump send troops to combat with any civilian groups in the country like the incident happened in 1919? Did he wage war against any Islamic countries?

Only President going for re-election without war

In the recent times he was the only incumbent to go to a re-election without fighting war with other countries during current term. Employment could be less of a concern in Blue Collar states given the available opportunities. Since majority of redneck states have income generated from various industries, what they ask is having a job with security. Had his predecessors addressed their concerns Trump wouldn’t even have existed or voted to power. Many feel killings are happening because of Trumps racist provocation. Racial or hatred killings happened in the past too. But Media did not glorify the facts in the past as they did in last four years. Trumps outspoken attitude and body language added much needed fuel. His immigration restrictions were criticized in some countries.

Does any country allow foreigner to work in high profile jobs?

 One must ask the question if their native country would allow foreigners work in high profile jobs in their homeland?  In US 25% population are other than white and African Americans. The responsibility of any government is to address the concerns of citizens. Poorest states always voteed for Republicans while richest ones vote for Democrats. The richest states during Regan/Bush Senior era got richer due to Economic recovery Tax act of 1981 also known as Kemp-Roth Tax cut which reduced the taxes on capital gains from 28% to 20% encouraging new businesses to startup in these states. This tax cut encouraged the startup of many software firms in Silicon Valley and in other blue-collar states. Immigration reforms like liberalizing the visa issue process by eliminating interviews in consulates, changing of F-1 Visa duration to 5 years multiple, H-1 Visas, F-2 & H-4 dependent visas, moving the green card date to current happened during Senior Bush administration followed by more reforms in Clinton and Bush Jr. administrations allowed many high-skilled workers migrate from other parts of the world to make rich states further richer.

Packages for economically poor States

But did the lives and living conditions change in redneck states? One must travel to the interiors to understand their living conditions. The people living there meet immigrants as visitors not neighbours. Why can’t every government think about these economically poor States and declare packages for starting up industries, creating necessary infrastructure required to improve economy by utilizing local resources and create more job opportunities? The change may not happen overnight. If every government lends the much-needed support and deliver equal justice for poor States along the same lines with richer States, Trumpism will never take birth again. The above suggestion may not eliminate the attacks completely but may limit them to certain extent.

Trump interrogated by FBI

Frustration generated by helplessness creates negative feeling against other community members. It is the responsibility of every well-to-do citizen to give it back to the community whichever way they can and make every effort to bridge the gap between communities to increase the harmony and love. Trump is not either a leader like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln & FDR or conventional politicians like his predecessors. Trump’s business tax returns reveal he is a terrible businessman and had tasted failures in business. He and his family faced allegations and were interrogated by FBI on using office for personal advantages. Many of his predecessors also used Oval office for personal reasons and some of our favorite ones got impeached too. Whether Trump is in the office or not attacks will be taking place for various reasons. This article has not been writter in support of either Trumpism or anti-Trumpism. Media can make Hitler a hero and Lincoln a zero depending on candidate’s interpersonal skills and attitude. Trumpism may have acted like a guide or GPS direction to many aspiring presidential candidates how not to behave in public or in front of Media or in office as the position is well respected not only in USA but also across the world. Even if a person achieved the goals, outspoken, offensive, derogatory, and disrespectful attitude towards others and rough  body language can outweigh the achievements of an individual. This philosophy is applicable for everyone.

Best wishes to Biden

Lastly, today Trump may have been criticized for his actions but tomorrow his accomplishments may come handy for all citizens in USA. Democrats balked about Trump’s plan on getting COVID vaccine ready by year-end. If it releases early next year, the new government would trust and accept the same vaccine or would it reject? Only time will tell if Trump haters refrain from taking this vaccine because they hated Trump policies to the core or Trump supporters refrain from taking the vaccine if it arrives after new administration takes over? After all, Every American Life Matters. Republican party may have to regroup to get out of Trump brand and get back to their roots of their conservative principles. The positives out form this election, their party got the highest ever number of votes since it’s inception. For democratic party though  Biden made questionable election promises lets wish his administration will take required actions to contain the COVID pandemic and will bring the much needed equality, harmony, security and equal opportunity employment across all races and friendly political environment existed in pre-Trump era. Path is not easy as expectations on his administration is higher than ever due to the ani-Trump sentiment  and expectation is to fix the blemishes, repeal some executive orders and streamline processes aligning with democratic principles. This writer’s  intention was not to blame any individual or holding someone responsible for incidents happened in the past. May God bless America, India, and Rest of the world.

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