~ News Discussion ~ 107 ~ The Trump Phenomenon ~


I am a Muslim. But Trump¡¯s views appall me because I am an American ~ Fareed Zakaria (adapted)


I think of myself first and foremost as an American. I¡¯m proud of that identity because as an immigrant, it came to me through deep conviction and hard work, not the accident of birth¡¦ I am a Muslim.


I am not a practicing Muslim. The last time I was in a mosque, except as a tourist, was decades ago. But as I watch the way in which Republican candidates are dividing Americans, I realize that it¡¯s important to acknowledge the religion into which I was born. And yet, that identity doesn¡¯t fully represent me or my views. I am appalled by Donald Trump¡¯s bigotry and demagoguery not because I am a Muslim but because I am an American.


This is the real danger of Trump¡¯s rhetoric: It forces people who want to assimilate, who see themselves as having multiple identities, into a single box. The effects of his rhetoric have already poisoned the atmosphere. Muslim Americans are more fearful and will isolate themselves more. The broader community will know them less and trust them less. A downward spiral of segregation will set in.


Once you start labeling an entire people by characteristics such as race and religion, and then see the whole group as suspect, tensions will build¡¦


I remain an optimist. Trump has taken the country by surprise. People don¡¯t quite know how to respond to the vague, unworkable proposals (¡°We have to do something!¡±), the phony statistics, the dark insinuations of conspiracies (¡°There¡¯s something we don¡¯t know,¡± he says, about President Obama) and the naked appeals to peoples¡¯ prejudices.


But this is not the 1930s. People from all sides of the spectrum are condemning Trump — though there are several Trump-Lites among the Republican candidates. The country will not stay terrified. Even after San Bernardino, the number of Americans killed by Islamist terrorists on U.S. soil in the 14 years since 9/11 is 45— an average of about three people a year. The number killed in gun homicides this year alone will be about 11,000.


Group A

1) How do you identify yourself? By your country, religion, job, family, or in other ways?

2) Are there any bigots or demagogues in your country? How can you identify them?

3) Do you know who Donald Trump is? What did he do before politics. Describe him.

4) Who, in your country, is in a position of power that probably shouldn¡¯t be?

5) What are the different political parties in your country? How do you feel about them?


Group B

1) Are there many immigrants in your country? Where are they from? Why are they there?

2) How segregated is your country? Do you think segregation will always exist? Explain.          

3) What are the dangers of pigeonholing different groups of people? Share your thoughts.

4) When is the next presidential race in your country? What is the political process?

5) Do you usually vote? Why do some people refuse to vote or are ambivalent?


Group C

1) Describe the quote: "Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it."

2) And the quote: "You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality ."

3) And the quote: "A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on."

4) And the quote: "The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."

5) Who was one of the best/worst politicians in your country¡¯s history? Describe and explain.






friends in high places ~ If you know important or influential people in business or government, you have friends in high places.
He wouldn't have succeeded without help from friends in high places.


paper tiger   ~ This term refers to a person, organization or country that is less powerful or threatening than they appear to be.
He threatens to take strong action but he's just another paper tiger.

put one's foot down ~ To put one's foot down means to exert authority to prevent something from happening.
The boy wanted to eat more ice cream, but his dad put his foot down and said, ¡°no¡±.


take it upon yourself  ~ If you take something upon yourself, you do it without asking for permission or agreement.
My colleague took it upon herself to redecorate the office during my absence.

Warm~up: Related idioms from Learn English Today:

~ TLW ~ News for Discussion ~ Group One ~

~ The following procedures are recommended for studying the topics in this curriculum ~


1) Before class, read through the text and questions in order to prepare for your discussion.

2) When study begins, as a class, in groups, or in pairs, read the text and discuss the content and vocabulary. 

3) After that, in a similar fashion, choose the questions you¡¯d like to answer or create your own questions.

4) Take some time to prepare meaningful responses to the questions (with the teacher or in pairs/groups).

5) Take part in the class discussion with your peers, and follow your teacher¡¯s prompts and suggestions.


Click to print questions: .docx /.doc

my way or the highway ~ Here, you are telling someone that either they accept what you say or they must leave.
Don¡¯t give in when someone says: 'it's my way or the highway.'!


bulldoze into doing ~ A person who is bulldozed into doing something is forced especially by being bullied or intimidated.

The immigrants were bulldozed into accepting the work with low pay.

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