One Common Denominator
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By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
I’m not sure how it’s even a debate anymore. How anyone can say he isn’t with a straight face is only confusing to me until I remember the people who defend him also have an uncomfortable relationship with diversity. Under the umbrella of mocking political correctness, Donald J. Trump has lowered the bar of civility from behind the mic in the White House to dangerous levels.
Make no mistake, that’s exactly what political correctness is. It’s a language of civility and without it, a language of divisiveness runs unchecked.
However, as much as Trump would like us to think it is, this isn’t all about civility and politeness. Trump’s words have real-life dangerous and potentially criminal implications. There are too many statistics to prove that point. Hate crimes in the U.S. are up approximately 20% since Trump took office. They started to spike during his campaign.
We know this. We’ve heard it all before. When you look at a number like 20% it’s easy to forget that every one of those numbers is a human and when you do the math, that’s a lot of humans who’ve been caught up in the wave of a President who’s not afraid to leverage hate speech to engage his base. To be clear, in the U.S. freedom of speech is not a blank check to say anything you want publicly. It is in fact, not constitutionally permitted to use hate speech to incite violence.
The challenge is, Trump’s base, the very demographic of people he panders to, is historically almost always at the center of our most violent mass victim attacks. Show me a bomber or even more specifically a mass shooter, and statistically, it’s a sure bet that person will be a disenfranchised, angry, white male.
You know, who those people are. You see them packing the stadiums at every MAGA rally. I’m certainly not suggesting all MAGA supporters are violent. However, it’s a germ that’s infected that group of people and that infection was spreading long before Trump took office and Trump knows that. This is why stokes the hate. There is energy there and in that demographic, that energy does turn violent. Trump knows that too and he doesn’t care.
Trump began his 2016 presidential campaign with a speech disparaging Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists.”
He uses the gang MS-13 to disparage all immigrants. Among many other statements, he has suggested that Obama’s protection of the Dreamers — otherwise law-abiding immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children — contributed to the spread of MS-13.
In December 2015, Trump called for a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” including refusing to readmit Muslim-American citizens who were outside of the country at the time.
Trump said a federal judge hearing a case about Trump University was biased because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.
In June 2017, Trump said 15,000 recent immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS” and that 40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.
At the White House on Jan. 11, Trump vulgarly called for less immigration from Haiti and Africa and more from Norway.
He spent years suggesting that the nation’s first black president was born not in the United States but in Kenya, a lie that Trump still has not acknowledged as such.
Trump called Obama (who was editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review) “a terrible student, terrible.”
Trump frequently claimed that Obama did not work hard as president.
Trump falsely claimed that President Obama “issued a statement for Kwanzaa but failed to issue one for Christmas.”
He often casts heavily black American cities as dystopian war zones. In a 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump said, “Our inner cities, African Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.” Trump also said to black voters: “You’re living in poverty; your schools are no good; you have no jobs.”
He frequently offers false crime statistics to exaggerate urban crime, including about Oakland, Philadelphia and Ferguson, Mo.
He frequently criticizes prominent African-Americans for being unpatriotic, ungrateful and disrespectful.
He called Puerto Ricans who criticized his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria “politically motivated ingrates.”
Even more frightening:
He has retweeted white nationalists without apology.
He called some of those who marched alongside white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., last August “very fine people.”
After David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, endorsed him, Trump was reluctant to disavow Duke even when asked directly on television.
Trump hired Steve Bannon as his campaign head and later White House chief strategist. Under Bannon’s leadership, the website Breitbart made white nationalism a central theme. It featured a section, for example, on “black crime.”
Trump endorsed and campaigned for Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate who spoke positively about slavery and who called for an African-American Muslim member of Congress not to be seated because of his religion.
Trump pardoned – and fulsomely praises – Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff sanctioned for racially profiling Latinos and for keeping immigrants in brutal prison conditions.
There are literally too many instances of Trump’s blatant racist attitudes on full display to count. This list doesn’t even scratch the surface on his ongoing war against the Native American community and his antisemite remarks. Donald J. Trump is an unapologetic White Nationalist with the world’s loudest microphone. Sarah Sanders can deny it from the press briefing room all day long, but she can’t shut him up and when he speaks people listen.
The mail bomber who tried but failed to blow up various Democrats and news sources referenced Donald J. Trump.
The Synagogue shooter in Pittsburg referenced Trump.
The Coast Gaurd white supremacist who was plotting multiple mass attacks and amassing an arsenal referenced Donald Trump.
Proving his reach doesn’t end at our borders, the New Zealand shooter from Christchurch also referenced Donald Trump.
Trump’s words have incited violence many times. It’s happened more times than we can probably calculate because, in that twenty percent increase in hate crimes, you know the ones that don’t get mass media attention because they weren’t mass casualty events, it’s not a stretch to assume Trump’s rhetoric inspired many of those attacks.
The problem is, we hear it from him so often that we’re starting to normalize it. What was once unthinkable is now an everyday occurrence from the White House and the President’s Twitter account. We’re growing numb to the horror because remaining in a state of shock and horror is exhausting and we’re all just trying to survive. Some of us are trying to survive this emotionally. However, for people of color, survival is a whole different real-life ball game under this administration.
Survival by normalization comes at a high price. When we normalize the racist and hate-inspiring behavior of this president it changes us and it changes our country. By becoming numb we lose a little of our compassion and humanity every day we use normalization as a coping mechanism.
As the words of our President have become a part of the manifesto of a crazed killer on the opposite side of our planet, we need to start taking the responsibility of what’s happening here much more seriously because this is not normal. House Speaker Pelosi was recently quoted as saying although Trump is not fit to be president she also didn’t think he’s worth the impeachment process. Those words make no sense to me.
I’ll tell you who else might question that logic: The people of Christchurch New Zealand who are in the process of burying their dead. Trump is more than an inconvenience. He is beyond the pale of unfit to lead. He is dangerous to himself and others and we cannot normalize that. If we do, we won’t recognize ourselves when this is over.
More by Lisa:
Lisa M. Hayes, Senior Editor of Confluence Daily.
Confluence Daily is the one place where everything comes together. The one-stop for daily news for women.