The election of Donald J. Trump has been received as a license to hate.
What Trump has not done as a candidate or as President of the United States of America is categorically denounce the threats and attacks (some deadly) carried out in his name and/or with racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, or homophobic undertones.
Calling yourself the least racist or “least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen” is a weak response and semantically is actually an admission of having racist or anti-Semitic tendencies. As of this writing, Jewish men, women, and children, living or dead, are being terrorized and the only significant White House response has come through Sean Spicer or designated representatives. To make matters worse, this President suggested that the recent desecration of Jewish cemetaries were “false flag” attacks by his opponents.
On February 22, 2017 in Olathe, Kansas, a 51-year old white male yelled “get out of my country” and shot three people including Indian American immigrant, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed. What we are seeing here (and what is made worse by the lack of a pointed repudiation by the President) is the infancy of an ethnic cleansing movement – the growth of which has not been actively tempered by Trump nor the Congressional leadership and which has actually been promoted by groups pledging allegiance to White House senior adviser Steve Bannon.
Apparently, Kuchibhotla, a 32-year old Garmin engineer, was mistakenly identified as a “Middle Eastern” man by the shooter and, therefore, according to gross misinterpretation of Trump-era reasoning, an appropriate target for a hate crime.
The President’s lack of a statement in response to the murder of an innocent Indian American immigrant speaks to his outlook on race in the population he now presides over.
Under the current administration, the lives of individual people are exploited when beneficial for presumed political gain (e.g., quoting questionable murder statistics in a major urban area like Chicago) or categorized to fit the Trumpian view of the world (e.g., white, privileged Americans first, then minorities that contribute money, power, influence, and then everybody else).
Unfortunately, within this pool of “everybody else” are people of wide ethnic and racial diversity – some of whom are stereotypically grouped together because they share similar features with the relatively small number of Middle Eastern men who previously carried out terrorist attacks (according to a radical belief system that is a perversion of the Muslim faith and that represents an exceedingly small percentage of the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide).
The “travel ban” on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations is based on this gross over-generalization and flies in the face of the fact that no anti-American terrorists have emigrated from these countries and committed acts of terrorism.
To be clear, there have been far more acts of domestic terrorism carried out by (predominantly white, male) U.S. citizens than foreign extremists since 9/11/2001.
Further, you are more likely to die crossing the street, driving your car, or drowning while swimming than to be killed by a terrorist.
Why do I raise these issues now? There are two primary reasons for doing so: (1) on Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a panel vote on a “resolution of inquiry” aimed at closely examining President Trump's potential ties with Russia and (2) also on Tuesday, the President will address a joint session of Congress where legislators and viewers can expect to see more regurgitation of Trump’s campaign rhetoric, the need for an expensive, unnecessary wall on the US-Mexico border, the danger posed by Muslim immigrants, the fake news media, and NO condemnation of the hate crimes carried out in his name or his potential financial and business ties to Russia.
Update 2/28/17 7:30 PM: The GOP, as expected, buried the resolution regarding Trump’s Russian ties and there is a strong opposition movement to “blackout” the Presidential address as it is expected to sound like his previous public displays of narcissism, inexperience, petulance, deceptiveness, and grandstanding.
There have been several Trump opponents, such as TV personality Keith Olbermann, who have exclaimed, “Get out of my country” in a message of resistance to President Trump and his platform.
It is up to We the People and the Free Press to keep this Administration accountable, to pursue the truth, to support our beliefs and statements with fact, and to resist the divisive, dangerous tactics that have been employed by this Administration in just over 5 weeks.