This column is often noting that there has always been a contingent of hate in the population and that the ‘hateful’ contingent also makes up most of the stupid contingent. And despite what some readers may believe, it is acutely disappointing to ever have to comment about how nasty other Americans are to their fellow citizens, but the truth is often disappointing and a curse for a classical cynic.
A day or so ago someone had the temerity to ask this author what was wrong with Trump’s hateful, racist rhetoric during the campaign and continuing unabated, and why are “liberals” so appalled at hearing it come from the man living in the White House. Seriously, the person asking the question wanted an answer, but only to condemn a legitimate reason as an excuse to silence the “real Americans” many sane Americans consider the stupid and hateful contingent.
For a growing number of American citizens, what’s wrong with a politician inciting hate among the stupid contingent is all too real, and not in a good way, and all too frightening. There are more than enough examples of Trump and company’s hateful rhetoric producing the results their hate-speech intended to deliver, and last week a journalist, Dan Cohen, revealed that there is a herd mentality among Trump’s angry acolytes targeting more than just Muslims and Mexicans.
Mr. Cohen reported on, and documented, a Phoenix Arizona rally for the Trump that went from bad to seriously ugly including calling for a “liberal genocide” and evicting Jews out of their “Christian America.” Apparently, those calling for exterminating liberals and deporting Jews were incited by Republican politicians who may genuinely be part of the hateful contingent, but they are not stupid; unless they don’t know precisely what their prodding will produce.
As one commenter on Cohen’s article rightly noted, besides the Trump effect emboldening racists, evangelical fanatics, and xenophobes, it has transformed an already toxic public discourse into a forum for every ignoramus to spout their death wish for anyone who refuses to go along with their twisted vision of what “their” America will become with Trump in the White House. The commenter wrote:
“One of the primary effects the Trump phenomenon has had on the political discourse is to normalize proud ignorance in public. This deeply misinformed contingent is always there, but Trump has given them the confidence to speak their minds.”
As Mr. Cohen noted, that confidence produced a decidedly dangerous insight into how close those “deeply misinformed” Trump supporters are to acting on their deep-seated hate and it leaves one wondering how long before they stop the stupid talk and start shooting. It is important to note that none of the hate being espoused today began with Trump, and it is not something he created, But he did take advantage of it after American citizens elected an African American man as their President. It is also noteworthy that the simmering hate and resulting vitriol was not because Barack Obama won the presidency, it was always there for Republicans to tap into and Trump the Republican is no exception.
Some of the comments reported by Dan Cohen are typical of a certain “kind of American” that almost always includes armed militias, evangelical zealots, and white supremacists; what some would call the typical rank-and-file Republican. Those “kind of Americans” were ripe for incitement to express their hate to a reporter and only white Christians were exempt. For dog’s sake, even Senator John McCain was branded as a communist in his home state by conservatives that almost assuredly voted for him in the November election. Now they are angry that McCain is not in thrall of the Trump.
One of the rally’s participants, a Vietnam-era veteran, summed up the attitude that the “crowd” expressed toward anyone they considered their enemy and condensed them all into the Democratic Party; a segment of the American people that the Trump’s “real” Americans need to “wipe out.”
“The Democratic Party is the socialist party in the United States because they are anti-Americans, they’re not pro-Americans. They’re liars and misleaders, and they want to wipe us out. And we need to wipe them out.”
Now it may seem that this is just an isolated group of angry, hateful, stupid people talking, but talk turns into action and since the election the “action” has become more frequent and more deadly. In fact, one of the three separate white male terrorists arrested during a six-day period a couple of weeks ago railed on his fellow “real American” white supremacists for being all talk and never taking action. Fortunately he was arrested before he could launch an attack on non-white people. Remember, there have been several shootings and attacks on minorities and vandalism targeting Jews and Muslims since the election; often accompanied by references to “the Trump’s presidency” and calls to “get out of my America.”
This author has made a few decades’ worth of trips around the Sun and observed some relatively tense moments in the nation’s history during those orbits. However, the rancor and threats of violence against other American citizens coming rapid fire from one specific group is unprecedented and terrifying. It is true that there isn’t much common ground for conservatives and liberals to meet on, seldom has been, but the level of abject hate leading to calls for a liberal genocide is beyond partisan politics. It is a clarion call to exterminate any group that may possibly align with non-conservatives and as it was throughout Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, Republicans have been silent because they are terrified of offending their supporters or criticizing their expressions of intense hate.
The accusations from Republican voters that Senator John McCain is a communist informs that it isn’t just liberals, Jews, Muslims and Mexicans Trump’s people want to exterminate, it is anyone who fails to meet the requirements to be a Trump follower; a white Christian raging with hate and stupid enough to express that hate in public.