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All You Need To Know About Donald Trump, The Man Who Wants To Ban Muslims From The USA

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By Atharva Pandit:

Who Is Donald Trump?

A Republican candidate with his eyes set for the 2016 Presidential elections, Donald Trump belongs to that category of politicians who are politicians thanks to their earlier fame. Before he was a politician, he was a millionaire, and before he was a millionaire, he was a successful businessman- by the virtue of his father, Fred Trump, already a successful real estate developer in New York.

Trump junior’s career started with business, but he has had his eyes set on politics for long. Born in 1946 in New York, Trump went to the New York Military Academy, where he would proudly lead marches, earn medals and be influenced by intense nationalism- perhaps the root of his ‘Make America Great Again!’ campaign, that shouts out on his website with him displaying a victory sign and a sheepish smile in the background.

Trump went on to graduate with a degree in Economics from the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania in 1968, and then joined his father’s already established company, Elizabeth Trump and Son. By and large, with Trump junior obtaining the control of the company in 1971, the Trump empire began to expand. Whatever you might say of him, Donald Trump was and is a shrewd businessman, and he has his reach within the influential elite of the New York City socialites.

donald duck and trump

But for a politician, you need not just have a reach within the elite, but also have a keen eye on the streets- and Trump has none of that. His excessive nationalistic and pro-capitalist ventures have put him off for the increasing number of poor and jobless in America, out on the streets and lanes. Trump advertises what is the cliched image of an American city– the glitter, all the while ignoring the reality, which is probably why he hates those who form that very reality- migrants, minorities et al. And his politics is formed by a heady mixture of sensationalist comments, stupid remarks and politically incorrect, hypocrisy-laden statements. But it isn’t the first time he is forwarding that sort of a politics- he tried to back in 2000, as well, but failed, and returned, for the time being, to business. But this time he is back, and with a fair bit of support.

Which is dangerous is that Trump’s ideas and policies are viciously right-wing, which means that they necessarily trouble the idea of a harmonious state. Trump effectively displays it every time he flexes the muscles on his mouth- the latest being his statement that America should ban Muslims, apart also from a ban on the internet and his remarks that he would stand as an independent candidate if the Republicans are not happy with what he says- a not-so-inviting proposal for the Republicans, considering the significance that Trump holds within the Republican voters, 35 percent of which support Trump. But that’s the essential question everybody seem to be asking- why?

How Does Trump Garner The Support That He Garners?

The Trump Policies:

An answer to that question might be in the policies that Trump would like to pursue if he becomes the President. And those policies include building walls between his neighbours and himself, apart from also wanting to “rebuild infrastructure,” which essentially means the development romp almost every politician worth his or her salt keeps mouthing. But this is Trump, and he doesn’t think too many thoughts before declaring that Mexicans are drug-addicts and criminals, doubling up as rapists. His solution? Build a wall. No, not the bilateral wall where trade is stopped and diplomatic ties are snapped- a literal wall built of bricks and cement. And nobody builds walls better than Trump, he said so himself. Also, he wants Mexico to pay for that wall, so we know where that is headed.

Trump is obviously not very sympathetic towards immigrants, and his immigration policy, apart from announcing that wall across the southern border, also confidently states that a “nation without a law is not a nation” and “a nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation” either. He reserves a lot of venom for the Mexicans, accusing the Mexican government of taking US “to the cleaners,” conveniently forgetting how the US government has been corrupting and manipulating the Mexican government and its people for the past many years in the lieu of its anti-Hispanic sentiments.

In a masked arrangement to forward the concerns of the working class, Trump, in his manifesto, draws a parallel between the migrant issue and the jobs of the middle class, while also pushing for a complete free market trade, which is contradictory of course, but one doesn’t expect Trump to understand that.

Continuing with the immigration debate, Trump now sets his eyes on terror. He thinks he is the best bet when it comes to tackling terror, especially terror of the ISIS kind. “Nobody would be tougher on ISIL than Donald Trump,” he declared, adding another “nobody” shortly for better effect. The plan, meanwhile, when it is implemented, would be “decisive and quick” while also being “beautiful and surgical.” So then, what’s the plan? Trump wasn’t ready to disclose it in June for fear of it being stolen. But he did let us have a sneak-peak when, in the wake of San Bernardino shooting- which killed 14 and injured 22 and was carried out by a Muslim couple- Trump demanded that all Muslims traveling to the US should be banned “until our country’s representatives can figure out what’s going on.” And this “figuring out” for Trump involves making databases for Muslim families and surveillance of mosques.

The more you delve into Donald Trump’s policies, the more you are sucked into the banter he has established all across the internet. The remarks, comments, debates, polls… they have all been avidly covered by an enthusiastic American press, that realizes that what it has on its hand is a man who would provide them with headlines no matter what. But that’s the Trump strategy, and he has been using it well.

Donald Trump and the American media:

Four years ago, in 2011, at the White House Correspondent’s dinner, President Barack Obama proceeded to humiliate, right in front of scribes, writers and important figures in the media industry the erratic billionaire that Donald Trump was then. Trump sat drooped, according to Adam Gopnik, who attended that dinner, and he sat almost on the verge of a publicly expressed fury but controlling himself without his usual negative sarcasm to help him.

Perhaps Trump’s journey to his candidature started on that very night, when he decided that to get back at Obama and to cleanse his image it was important for him to push himself above his weight. And so he did, although it is contested whether or not he managed to cleanse his image – maybe he never wanted to either, and at this point of time, it matters not. What matters now is the fact that Donald Trump doesn’t need anybody else to humiliate him anymore- his own remarks to the world ensure for that. The sad thing, however, is that Trump wants just that.

The fact is that, the mainstream media today wants headlines, which isn’t all too bad, except that most media outlets today also want those headlines to be eye-popping scandalous rather than meaningful comments of who said what. Just as much, Trump must have thought, because he gives them what they want- controversies, which are then put into words, sentences and paragraphs, and which then garner more readership, more views, more TRPs; Trump gets national attention, media gets readers and viewers, readers and viewers get Trump, the vicious cycle ends in an eventual profit. Donald Trump, as I said, is a shrewd businessman, and he brings this business attitude to his politics- he knows where to hit it hard to garner more presence than anybody else.

The result? Trump has been consistently topping the polls which asked voters who dominates their minds when it comes to voting for a Republican candidate. Media coverage ensures that Trump remains in people’s minds, which is reflected effectively when it comes to polls- because Trump dominates the voters’ thinking, they vote for him, because he is the one popping up in their minds first.

This media-sensibility, however, does not ensure a win. As Nate Silver points out in his study of the media pattern evolving around Trump, the upcoming debates might push Trump out of the coverage, not altogether, but enough to hurt his chances. And Republican voters have been considering other candidates, as well, and they have a lot to choose from- 14 candidates vying for your attention, now that’s a big deal. Of them all, Trump might dominate, but he has already reached the height of his media presence, so his fortunes may either nosedive, or remain where they are (and I am hoping for the former).

Donald Trump, The President Of The United States Of America?

No. Imagine The Dictator, that 2012 attempt at making a film. Now remove all the Third World racism and turn it on its head- Trump visiting some Middle Eastern country and behaving like Aladeen. That’s your President Trump. The Aladeen of the West, a title he wouldn’t really fancy, courtesy of his own distinct policies for the Middle East, which include but are not limited to dropping bombs and turning another country into another Iraq.

When the citizens of USA elected Barrack Obama to be their President, they delivered a landmark judgment that broke across all religious, cultural and racial boundaries- quite simply, if they decide to elect Trump as their Presidential hope, it would all be undone and a newer, different kind of West could be seen emerging. Because when you remove the ridicule and the bad humor from Trump’s statements, you realize that they are racial and dangerous, and Trump means every bit of what he says. When you begin to share his image of America as the global power, “the great” America he is trumpeting all about, you realize how perilous that could turn out for the rest of the world, especially the vulnerable parts of Middle East, where people are being killed in hundreds and thousands every day.

Donald Trump cannot be the President of USA. Simply, that would be catastrophic.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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