As we enter the final stages of the Presidential campaign, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton continue to intensify their attacks on one another.
While Secretary Clinton was forced to quickly apologize for her remarks Friday that many of Trump's supporters were "deplorables," Donald Trump has gotten to this point in the Presidential campaign by viciously maligning a broad swath of America, fostering a "culture of hate" that does not align with American values.
Regardless of the outcome of November's election, Donald Trump has ushered in an ugly renaissance of xenophobia in America characterizing, among many other insults, Mexican immigrants as "criminals" and "rapists." Trump's fiery rhetoric has brought out some of the ugliest elements of American society who believe that their antiquated and bigoted views now somehow have a credible national voice once again.
In the recent days, President Bill Clinton pointed out that the slogan "Make America Great Again" has deep anti-immigrant and racist undertones. "If you're a white Southerner, you know exactly what it means, don't you?" President Clinton told a group of supporters in Florida. "What it means is, 'I'll give you the economy you had 50 years ago, and I'll move you back up on the social totem pole, and other people down," the 42nd President of the United States pointed out.
Louisiana's David Duke, a white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, was quick to urge listeners of his U.S. radio program to volunteer and get out to vote for Donald J. Trump for President, telling his supporters that "voting against Donald Trump is really treason to your heritage."
In July, when it was clear that a larger window may be opening, David Duke announced his candidacy for the United States Senate. Having run for state and federal office numerous times over the last four decades, the former Klan leader clearly believes that Trump's "alt right" vision creates a unique opportunity for him to finally ride political coattails into public office. This is just one of the extreme "alt-right" political candidates who embody Trump's extreme vision for America and are his most ardent supporters.
Sara Blackwell, a vocal anti-immigration advocate in Florida, has shared the campaign stage with Trump. An attorney who has found a niche peddling her services to Americans who feel they've lost their jobs to foreigners, Blackwell recently wrote on her blog that "it is time that WE TAKE BACK THIS COUNTRY," [emphasis hers]. Her blog, which includes a large donation button for her new non-profit to bankroll her anti-immigrant agenda. Blackwell recently told a Trump rally audience of 10,000 people that Americans need to worry that they could go to work and "find an Indian or Asian sitting at their desk waiting to be trained." It is just this kind of backwards thinking that illustrates the sad backing of Trump's so-called deportation force, meant to cleanse American society of immigrants, the people that have truly helped make America "great."
Like the former grand wizard, Blackwell announced a run for public office as a Republican earlier this year. Her candidacy was short-lived. Blackwell's campaign came to an end after her law firm clients began to question her motives, combined with embarrassing revelations regarding her own brushes with the law.
Equally disturbing is Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric in relation to Muslims. His post-Democratic Convention attack against a Gold-Star Muslim-American family who had lost their son in Iraq took the election to yet another low. As we've all heard, last December, Trump called for a "complete and total shutdown on all Muslims entering the United States."
Donald Trump's proposed Muslim ban, a position the Trump campaign has recently signaled he may back away from, has encouraged other extreme candidates to put banning immigrants at the centerpiece of their own campaigns. Robert Blaha, a Colorado Republican primary candidate stated publicly that he wanted to go beyond Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims, though, fortunately left the gory details to himself. This didn't sit well with the people of Colorado. The primary, in a state with an increasingly-diverse electorate, rejected Mr. Blaha and his divisive ideas.
Not to worry. Shortly after his defeat, the Colorado Republican was named co-Chair of Trump's state campaign.
While some Trump supporters genuinely believe that the political or economic system is not working for them, Blaha, Blackwell, and Duke seem to be using this fear to advance their own hateful agendas.
We Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, have a choice to make. Donald Trump has somehow made it okay to hate. The decisions we make on November 8th can bring that to an end. This election, like those before it, will define the future of our country and project to the world who we are as Americans, immigrants and native-born, black, brown, white, and Asian. My mind is made up. I firmly believe that as a nation we are all stronger together.