At the Crossroads of Hate: Post-Election Observations
We are now just about 1 week post election, and if you have not done so already, please fasten your seat belts and return your seat backs to their full upright position. Oh, and you may want to grab or keep that vomit bag well within reach.
All kidding aside, we need to discuss a serious topic here: hate. Over the past several days, much has been written, analyzed, and prognosticated about the election results and reactions. How could this have happened, and how the polls were so far off, the resulting protests (which are still growing), and more. What has begun to receive some coverage, but by no means enough, is the level of hate and harassment that has arisen in the aftermath. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has identified more than 200 incidents of hate, harassment, and intimidation in just the first 3 days following the election:
And what is important here is that these are not incidents that may be reported on an on-going basis. Rather, the SPLC has specifically been able to relate these incidents to the election, with the vast majority being anti-black, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim. Several examples are cited in this article, which are absolutely disgusting. But moreover, this represents the most significant disappointment in our country and our society that anyone has seen in modern history.
This cannot be surprising given the language introduced, promoted, and perpetuated by Trump throughout the entire election cycle. But the hope was that with the election over, perhaps a more sound mind would prevail. Unfortunately, here are the key highlights of his response to these events:
1. Conducted a Twitter tirade last week against the New York Times for publishing investigative articles into Trump’s activities, statements, and more.
2. When pressed on the topic of hate and harassment incidents on the rise following the election by his supporters (60 Minutes interview on Nov 13), Trump’s response was a simple “If it will help, I will say stop it”.
3. Hired as his campaign strategist Stephen Bannon. For those not familiar, Bannon led Breitbart — a ‘news’ platform that is the home to promotion of racist, vile, hateful content in support of organizations such as the KKK and other white supremacy groups. It should also be noted that the largest investor in Breitbart is Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund CEO that has invested over $15 million to conservative campaigns in the past 4 years, and has quietly become one of the more influential individuals in far-right conservative movements. As such, the implications of this hiring presents a direct line of connection between Mercer and the Office of the President of the United States.
I found Darrell Etherington’s statement Sunday on TechCrunch summarized these actions (or lack thereof) perfectly:
“The level of pettiness needed to bad mouth a legitimate news organization like the New York Times publicly after the race is actually won is astounding; and silence on issues of safety and decency, especially given his reach and audience, is unforgivable.”
It is an utter and extreme disappointment that so many people in our country voted for a racist, misogynistic individual. I fully realize that not every one of these individuals agrees with these views or language. But remember that by casting your vote for this person, you have made a conscious decision to endorse this behavior. This has no place in our society, and hearkens back to 50 or more years ago. Perhaps that is the time Trump believes America was ‘great’, and to which he desires to return again.
I do still believe that this does not represent the general beliefs of the majority in our country, and that there still exists a sense of goodness, of common decency in the hearts of our society. I believe that we can rise above this, and quash the hateful rhetoric — embracing the values our country was founded upon and carefully cultivated over the past two centuries. This is a dark and challenging time for us, and we must remember that the entire world is watching.
So keep faith world — do not lose your hope in us.