"... Hate does occupy an increasingly large place in the U.S., and our singular voice in times of tragedy--traditionally the president of the U.S.--has been a catalyst for hate."
HATE always has found safe harbor in the U.S. but, while it had moved to the recesses of our public culture following a variety of social movements and subsequent social progress, today we find hate back from the periphery of our civic engagement to a place that is troublingly mainstream and validated by conservative media outlets, as well as Pres. Donald Trump. Television news, digital platforms, and the inflammatory rhetoric and Twitter feed of the President all have played a role in this shift.
Pres. Trump ostensibly condemned racism and white supremacy in the wake of two mass shootings that left more than 30 people dead in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. His message, read dispassionately from a teleprompter, was undermined by his own rhetoric and divisive comments in the past.
"In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy," Trump declared. "Hate has no place in America."
The trouble is, hate does occupy an increasingly large place in the U.S., and our singular voice in times of tragedy--traditionally the president of the U.S.--has been a catalyst for hate. Trump began his presidential campaign by generalizing Mexican illegal immigrants as "rapists" and "criminals." This pattern has persisted through the tragic Texas and Ohio shootings.
In August 2017, for instance, after violent clashes with white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., left one woman dead, Trump blamed the "alt-right" and neo-Nazi groups for the violence, but then equivocated: "I think there is blame on both sides. You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now."
How can citizens reconcile the staggering juxtaposition of his prepared statements after the El Paso and Dayton shootings against his political rhetoric of the past, such as his tweets and subsequent public statements about Baltimore and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D.-Md.), and his attacks on a group of four Democratic congresswomen of color: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, telling them to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came"?
Days later, a crowd at a...