Greetings everyone. Most if not all of you know that I have harped on the need for President-elect Trump to continue to denounce hate crimes and related incidents that are being committed by those hateful few who feel emboldened by the new president’s election. At the same time, violent incidents like the most recent assault by car and stabbings of innocent people in Columbus, Ohio, by a young man of Somali descent remind us that so-called “lone wolf” acts remain ever-present dangers. So, with the publication of this article in today’s Arizona Daily Star, it got me thinking. Our President-elect has his work cut out for him when it comes to taking effective action to address acts of hate, no matter what forms they take.
Let’s start first with acts of hate that do not necessarily rise to the threshold of direct death or physical assault. As the article below points out, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC) receives self reports on acts of hate, as it has done for decades. Whatever one thinks of the SLPC, and there are some harsh critics as one can see in the link provided below, I suggest that folks eschew the urge to dismiss the SLPC as a group of liberal bleeders, or worse (e.g., as some sort of liberal hate group in their own right — that one mystifies me). Over the years SLPC has done a pretty good job of reporting such events – it did not start doing this with the President-elect’s victory. In brief, the SLPC is reporting a bump in the reporting of hateful acts and while we know that some of these acts have not been confirmed, we should be careful dismissing such reports as simply liberal propaganda intended to denigrate our new president.
Trump has recently spoken out, on two documented occasions, including in an interview with the New York Times, against such acts and associated hate groups. These recent disavowals and denunciations by Trump are good things, but he needs to keep at it.
Now, before anyone has that knee-jerk reaction that results in them saying something beyond dismissing the SLPC as merely a liberal cesspool of bias, and/or falls into that “But what about Obama, how come he is not coming out and speaking out against those violent protesters?” and “what about the hateful incidents at Ohio State? How come Obama is not coming out and deploring these hate crimes?”, let me just say this. Think what you will of the SLPC and it’s liberal media conduits, but whether or not you agree with the SLPCs report figures, I think there is a bigger issue here and one that President-elect Trump should seize upon as an opportunity. Let me add, as well, that I suspect that some of you may also see this stuff as some sort of contest between our outgoing and incoming presidents. Frankly, I don’t care if some think there is a double standard being applied here, no matter how much some may want to make it that. No, I am scared (obsessing? Being an alarmist?) about hate in all its pernicious forms, and I want our new President to do something about it. On that point, to a greater or lesser extent, we all agree. And, whether or not you believe what the SLPC says, and with all due respect to those who decry them as liberal schmiberals, the SLPCs tracking of reported hate incidents, despite its shortcomings, is still something we should pay attention to.
The recent violence perpetrated by the lone wolf lunatic in Columbus is, unfortunately, the latest example of a clear and present threat that scares all of us. President-elect Trump has been quite emphatic that he wants to make our country safer from these types of attacks, and that is something we all want, though some of us are rightly concerned about how it will be carried out. My perspective, and it is a struggle to wrap my head around stuff like this in a way that makes sense to me and that does not sound like I am equating the seriousness of violent acts against innocent people with hateful slogans – as despicable as the latter are, killing or trying to kill people is simply worse – is that our President-elect should denounce BOTH types of actions when he speaks because, in their essence, they all stem from hate.
This is an issue for which President Trump can and should come out, again and again as needed, to denounce such events, whether they are committed by fringe hate groups, isolated morons, or deranged individuals as it appears was the case at OSU. My point being, our President-elect can and should not just, should not solely, express his disgust in reaction to incidents like those in Columbus.
When Trump speaks out against hate, it won’t cost us any tax money, it won’t take a lot of time, it does not mean that Trump is a liberal, conservative, or whatever, but it does mean that our new President understands that these hateful incidents – whether they be shootings or stabbings on a campus or the painting of hateful words on the wall of a church – continue to deserve his attention, condemnation and response.
Just think for a second. When President Trump comes out publicly and strongly denounces hateful acts, does anyone listen? I think they do, and while the insane perpetrators and extremists may not alter their intentions to maim and murder, the idiots behind other hateful acts do hear him. In my view, each time President T speaks out, it takes at least some of the air out of the haters’ sails. It is the right thing to do whether you agree with SLPC numbers or not (and remember, SLPC only reports those incidents that are reported to it – it obviously can not report unreported instances like those expressed to me by a number of my friends of color who, I am pretty sure, don’t make their shit up).
So don’t get me wrong. I understand that Trump is dead set on curtailing the assaultive acts of evildoers in our country. I know that our President-elect wants to do something to root out these bastards, hopefully, before they wreak more havoc and hurt. And, the recent incident at OSU only reinforces Trump’s drive to take effective action. Unfortunately, in my view, reducing or ending lone wolf actions is going to be incredibly challenging, especially if one has to balance those efforts with something we Americans call due process. But, I want to be sure that I am making what I think is a really important point here; that being, that our President-elect understands that these acts of hate are not mutually exclusive, that ALL of these are indeed deplorable, and that the President-elect’s pulpit can wield powerful influence.
Keep on speaking out against ALL of these incidents, President T, we know you will speak out loud and clear against the heinous acts committed in places like Columbus, but also don’t forget to speak out against those acts that may not get the headlines but that, in too many instances, are very real.
By repeatedly speaking out against ALL forms of hate, is it possible that our President-elect can not only suck the air out of the hateful few but maybe, just maybe, help prevent future incidents? I think so, seems worth a try, though I could be wrong.