Last week, a series of bombings in New York and New Jersey brought the national spotlight back to terrorism and the threat it poses to American citizens. These tragic attacks are happening far too frequently, and Americans want to vote for a president whose actions and policies will make them feel safer. Since his campaign was announced, Donald Trump has emphasized his support of policies that he says will prevent terrorist attacks. However, his proposed solutions would do more harm than good if enacted.
Following last week’s attacks, as is expected, both major presidential candidates released very contrasting statements. Trump was criticized for seeming boastful as he claimed to predict the attacks, saying “I should be a newscaster because I called it before the news.” He made his initial statement before all the details were known, forcing him to jump to conclusions. His responses showcased his brash and reckless style. Considering how important the issue of terrorism is to national security, he should be more cautious about his statements. Trump then went on to continuously criticize Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama for their policies, but his own policies would be beyond insufficient for preventing terrorism.
Trump’s ideas to protect Americans from terrorism are not only offensive, but they would be almost entirely ineffective at preventing any terrorism. For example, Trump has suggested immigration reform that bans all Muslims from coming to the United States. He later reformed his plan to only ban people coming from specific high-risk countries, but the countries he mentioned by name were all majority Muslim. Not only is this extremely discriminatory against Muslims, but it is ignorant — the majority of terrorists in America are U.S.-born citizens. He would alienate large groups of people through discriminatory policy that does not even target the real problem. Trump’s proposed solution is a Band-Aid, but we need to fight terrorism with real, viable solutions.
The way to prevent terrorist attacks is to defeat the extremist ideologies that create them. Foreign terrorists will always find a way to recruit Americans, and oppressing American citizens will only strengthen their appeal. Instead, we should stop discriminating against disenfranchised groups at home while continuing to use military and diplomatic strategies that will help defeat terrorist groups abroad.
As the presidential election draws nearer, voters need to think carefully about the kind of person they want leading our country in the face of terrorism. Trump has made it clear, time and time again, that he is not the right person for the job.