Stoking Hatred to Win Elections is Evil

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis from PBS

Commentary

Published October 29, 2018

Saturday morning was not a normal weekend morning in America.

On Saturday, Americans heard of yet another mass shooting. Immediately, the mind asks: Where? How many injured or dead? Who? Why?

This time in a man filled with hatred, an ideologue, walked into a Pittsburgh Jewish synagogue with a AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle in his hand and savagely killed 11 people, while injuring several others. The youngest among those were murdered was 54 and the oldest was 97. Seven of the eleven were alive during World War II and the Holocaust. Sadly, they could not survive in Trump’s America.

From news accounts, the gunman’s hatred for Jewish people festered after it was reported Jewish investors were funding the caravan that made its way into Mexico from Honduras. The synagogue gunman repeatedly posted on his social media negative comments about the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a Jewish non-profit that aids refugees. Saturday morning, The gunman claimed the group was bringing in “invaders in that kill our people.”

The only person who consistently creating a “national emergency” out of the caravan that is over a thousand miles from the U.S. border is President Trump, who consistently uses exaggerations, fabrications and fear to stoke the hatred in his faithful. Trump is a masterful manipulator who knows he can incite fear in his followers to get them to vote against the “evil” other side. With next week’s midterm election upon us, his hateful rhetoric filled with lies has only intensified.

Earlier in the week, another man, who was part of the “Make America Great Again” movement, sent out 14 pipe bombs over the course of week in an attempt to assassinate former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Joseph Biden, the winner of the 2016 presidential popular vote, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among other prominent Democrats.

Fortunately, law enforcement acted quickly to identify an avid Trump supporter who has been captured on video at a Trump rally and further evidenced by his Dodge van plastered with Trump stickers.

Levi Rickert

We know violence in America did not begin last week; nor did it begin with Donald Trump’s spewing of hatred. As indigenous people of this land, we know America was conceived in violence. We know of those immigrants who came with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other. The logic was if they could not save the “savage,” they would use the gun to kill that “savage.”

This page does not allow space to recount all of the violent acts committed in this country because America was conceived in violence. we recall the history of whole tribes being wiped off the face of this land through concerted attempts of genocide against our ancestors. We recall the Sand Hill Massacre, We recall the Wounded Knee Massacre.

No acts of violence did not begin last week; nor did it begin with Donald Trump.

In the 1960s, three assassinations took place. President John F. Kennedy was killed in the streets of Dallas. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down on the balcony of the motel he was staying as he was leaving for dinner. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who had just made his victory speech after winning the California primary was killed as he walked through the kitchen of a Los Angeles hotel.

Recounting this country’s violent past, we cannot fully expect that America will examine its soul and suddenly repent. We cannot expect things to radically get better. However, we can hope for, and even insist, that leader of this country would stop the hate-filled rhetoric that stokes the hatred in the baser minds of American society.

And, we need to pray for the United States of America.

Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is publisher and editor of Native News Online.

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