Following two mass shootings over this last weekend, social media is raging with denunciations of hateful rhetoric, and President Trump is the target. So let’s talk about hateful rhetoric.
We all know Trump’s rhetoric against illegal immigration, and we remember those infamous words about Mexico during the campaign, “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re [their*] rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Someone who might be a white supremacist goes on a killing spree in El Paso, and as the USA Today reported, “[i]nvestigators are reviewing writings shared online in connection with a possible racist motive in the assault, the officials said. El Paso police are investigating the shootings as a possible hate crime.” And so, he may be a white supremacist, we have no idea if he has any interest in Trump, but we’ll find out. He’s still alive, and he has a manifesto published.
Following this tragedy, most of the major Democratic Pres. candidates were as quick to blame Trump as to express their sorrow. Buchanan with TAC covered all of these responses. The one that stood out most to me was the very first one, from Beto O’Rourke:
Trump “is a racist and he stokes racism in this country…and it leads to violence. …We have a president with white nationalist views in the United States today.” He called Trump’s language about Mexican immigrants “reminiscent of something you might hear in the Third Reich.”
Several others followed suit, and naturally, internet land was raging with similar rhetoric.
So what about that other shooting? Toledo? No, Mr. President. It was Dayton, Ohio. This time, the shooter described himself as a “pro Satan leftist” who supports Elizabeth Warren. As of now, we have no idea what his motivation was for the shooting. He’s dead, so the police can’t interrogate him, and they have not found any kind of “manifesto” so far.
The Consequences of Hate
Buchanan’s TAC article explained how hateful rhetoric could backfire on the DNC candidates.
“Yet blaming the massacre in El Paso on the rhetoric of Donald Trump is a charge that could come back to bite his attackers. Neither the right nor left has a monopoly on political extremism or violence. And the hate-filled rhetoric of the left last weekend exceeds anything that’s been used by Trump.”
A pretty good point, but I think Buchanan didn’t consider their plan B, the “Guns” argument as shown in my Flow Chart earlier. Don’t underestimate the ability of neoliberals to spin, nor the gullibility of their rank-in-file. So far, most of the corporate media has kept their heads on straight. They probably don’t want another “Covington” embarrassment. We’ll see, however, if that continues as hateful rhetoric towards the President escalates.
What’s far worse is the continued violence. MLK once said “A riot is the language of the unheard.” He said this while repeatedly and consistently denouncing violence. Hence, he did not advocate violence, but acknowledged what was driving it. In a modern context of lone-wolf white male killers, I could reword this as “A mass shooting is the language of the unheard”. Blacks are an oppressed community. Lone white males are unheard individuals, socially isolated. As more young people connect to the internet, rather than to their neighbors, people are dehumanized, and emotional outrage is amplified. Spewing hatred towards Trump does just as much to fuel this as white supremacy!
Unlike many religious leaders, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, resisted the temptation to get impeded in partisan and ideological interests. He looked to his moral and spiritual compass, the Christian Orthodox faith, and got to the root of the problem:
His All-Holiness strongly condemns every act of hatred – racial, religious or social, and also any form of violence and fundamentalism, wherever they come from. Hate and violence, he points out, cause a great deal of pain and fear, and are sometimes the cause of further acts of violence in the form of revenge. In the face of this soaring, dangerous and bloody phenomenon, he notes, every good-natured person must display strong spiritual resistance. He calls on everyone to work, through dialogue and in a spirit of mutual respect, to preserve the good of peaceful coexistence and cooperation, against practices that reinforce fear and the division of society.**
Like Dr. King, the EP knows that hate begets hate; violence begets violence. His All Holiness, in calling for “mutual respect” and “peaceful coexistence and cooperation”, is stating in more specific detail what Dr. King already stated a half century ago:
“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
*This quote is from a speech, not a transcript, so we don’t know if Trump was saying “they’re” or “their”, but it could be an important distinction. Was he saying that Mexican immigrants who come ARE rapists “they’re rapists”, or is he saying that Mexico is sending their (possessive) rapists?
** As the EP’s comments were originally in his native tongue, the above is a paraphrased summary of the content from the Greek Orthodox Church of America.