Sikhs, Muslims made to ‘feel suspect’ for their worshipping, says Obama as he slams prez Trump

He urged Americans to vote in the November elections, saying President Trump was hoping to make it as hard as possible for them to vote.

New York:┬áMinority communities like Sikhs and Muslims have been made to “feel suspect” for the way they worshipped, former US president Barack Obama has said as he tore into Donald Trump’s presidency and warned American voters that his administration would “tear our democracy down” to get re-elected.

Delivering an impassioned speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Obama launched a scathing attack on Trump’s policies and rhetoric, a break with the longstanding tradition of former presidents not publicly speaking out against their successors.

He urged Americans to vote in the November elections, saying President Trump was hoping to make it as hard as possible for them to vote.

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“What we do echoes through the generations. Whatever our backgrounds, we’re all the children of Americans who fought the good fight. Great grandparents working in fire traps and sweatshops without rights or representation,” Obama said on Wednesday.

“Irish and Italians and Asians and Latinos told to go back where they came from. Jews and Catholics, Muslims and Sikhs, made to feel suspect for the way they worshipped. Black Americans chained and whipped and hanged. Spit on for trying to sit at lunch counters. Beaten for trying to vote,” he said.

The first Black president of the US said that for long, Americans from these communities were on the receiving end of a democracy that had fallen short all their lives.

“They knew how far the daily reality of America strayed from the myth. And yet, instead of giving up, they joined together and said somehow, some way, we are going to make this work. We are going to bring those words, in our founding documents, to life,” he said.

Obama told the US voters that “this president and those in power , who benefit from keeping things the way they are, are “counting on your cynicism”.

“They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter,” he said.

“That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers until it’s no democracy at all,” he said.

Urging Americans to vote in the November elections, Obama said the American public should not let Trump and his administration take away their power.

“Don’t let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote too,” he said.

“Do what Americans have done for over two centuries when faced with even tougher times than this all those quiet heroes who found the courage to keep marching, keep pushing in the face of hardship and injustice,” he said.

Noting that the American public can give the nation’s democracy a “new meaning” and take it to a better place, Obama said the Trump administration has shown it will “tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win”.

“So we have to get busy building it up by pouring all our effort into these 76 days, and by voting like never before for Joe and Kamala, and candidates up and down the ticket, so that we leave no doubt about what this country we love stands for today and for all our days to come,” he said.

Obama underlined that the one Constitutional office elected by all of the people was the presidency and the nation should expect a president to feel a sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of all 330 million Americans regardless of “what we look like, how we worship, who we love, how much money we have or who we voted for.”

He said that both democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his Indian–American running mate Kamala Harris understood that in this democracy, the Commander-in-Chief does not use the men and women of the US military, who are willing to risk everything to protect the nation, as “political props to deploy against peaceful protesters on our own soil”.

“They understand that political opponents aren’t ‘un-American’ just because they disagree with you; that a free press isn’t the ‘enemy’ but the way we hold officials accountable; that our ability to work together to solve big problems like a pandemic depends on fidelity to facts and science and logic and not just making stuff up,” he said.

“None of this should be controversial. These shouldn’t be Republican principles or Democratic principles. They’re American principles. But at this moment, this president and those who enable him, have shown they don’t believe in these things,” he said. Obama exhorted all Americans to believe in Biden and Harris’ ability to lead America out of these “dark times” and build it back better, asserting that no single American can fix the country alone.

“Not even a president. Democracy was never meant to be transactional – you give me your vote; I make everything better. It requires an active and informed citizenry. So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability to embrace your own responsibility as citizens to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure. Because that’s what is at stake right now. Our democracy,” he said.

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