Racist, discriminatory views should disqualify Carson, Trump

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Racist, discriminatory views should disqualify Carson, Trump

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In a Sept. 20 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Republican presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson said that he believed that a Muslim should not be allowed to be President of the United States and that Islam is not “consistent with the Constitution.”

Rather than walk back his comments the next day, Carson doubled down.

“We don’t put people at the head of our country whose faith might interfere with them carrying out the duties of the Constitution,” he said in a Sept. 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. He later clarified that he was speaking about Muslims who had not rejected Sharia law.

Despicable as they are, Carson’s comments are not exactly that of an outlier in America today. There are some intense anti-Muslim feelings in our country that are completely unfair and unwarranted. They did not start with 9/11, but they were certainly exacerbated by it. Many people who had never met a Muslim before saw the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and immediately formed an opinion about 1.57 billion people — nearly one-quarter of the world’s population — based on the extreme actions of a tiny group that is not at all representative of Islam as a whole.

Uninformed people turn on the news and hear about ISIS, the jihadist extremist militant group leveling the Middle East, and then make blanket assumptions about all Muslims, including the 2.77 million Muslims (as of 2010) living peacefully in the U.S. This unjustified hatred reared its ugly head at a recent Donald Trump rally.

“We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American. But anyway … that’s my question. When can we get rid of them?” asked an attendee of Trump’s Sept. 19 rally in Rochester, New Hampshire.

Rather than taking down the questioner and defending Muslim-Americans as he should have, Trump replied in a cowardly fashion, showing that he was unwilling to call out a supporter and tell him he was wrong.

“We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things,” Trump replied.

The responses by these two Republican frontrunners should be alarming for the American public. How can we believe that a person can accurately represent the people if he or she refuses to treat a group of people as equals? You wouldn’t vote for a candidate who was outspoken against Black Americans, would you? Or Latino Americans? (Although racist anti-immigrant rhetoric hasn’t stopped Trump yet.)

Trump and Carson are vying to represent the Republican Party in the 2016 general election — they’re first and second in most polls, respectively — and either one of them would be a disastrous nominee. The racist, discriminatory views they hawk have no place in 21st-century America, and we should not tolerate them. The fact that they are doing so well nationally, despite their racist, inflammatory messages, is upsetting.

Though I doubt it will happen, Carson and Trump should end their presidential campaigns. Both have shown through their various discriminatory comments that they are not fit to lead our country. Article VI of the Constitution says, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Any person who does not strive to uphold that standard has no business running for public office of any kind, much less President of the United States. Carson should be out.

Even though Trump did say that he believes Muslims should have the right to be president, he should still be disqualified based on his refusal to denounce his Islamophobic supporter during a rally and his comments about Mexican immigrants — criminals, drug dealers, “rapists,” etc. America should not be a place where hate speech against entire groups of people is tolerated at all, much less as a part of a presidential campaign. Carson and Trump should do what is best for our country and bow out of the GOP race.