In an age of resurfaced racism, motivated by fear and intolerance to foreigners, a historically different administration has taken the role of American politics. Unfamiliar with domestic and international policy, Trump has broken the rules of traditional leadership. Proving to continuously neglect diplomacy in times of crisis, and evading the repercussions of his reckless actions, our President has enabled the opening of a chasm between right and wrong. Through his impulsivity and ill mannered temper, his discriminatory remarks and attacks against minorities, Donald Trump is sending a message to all the crazies out there, “you are permitted.”
This fissure on conventional moral code began its formation the moment Trump declared his candidacy for President. Launching his trail to success by appealing to voters who wanted change, people listened to his aggressive rhetoric and believed it true. His slogan, “Make America Great Again,” brought him immediate support. Claiming Barack Obama a muslim, Hillary Clinton the founder of ISIS, and the election rigged only in the case of his loss, Trump was taken as a man of honesty. His statements and actions were unequivocally motivated to appeal to his core constituency in order to expand the divisions and hatreds in our society, all of which further reinforced his base.
By abrasive name calling and labeling, Trump made hate speech the norm, aggression the path to making America great again, and hostility the road to change. He labeled Clinton a “devil,” “evil,” “crooked,” a “liar,” and how did he get away with it? Because anyone critical of the last eight years in politics, anyone afraid of muslim terrorism, or anyone with an inkling of doubt toward Hillary Clinton’s ability to lead, believed him. Trump’s supporters took his words, understood them, repeated them, and somewhere along the line, they became ok. Criticizing women for their weight and appearance, blaming “bad” temper on menstruation, and getting away with lewd, inappropriate language about and towards women, sexism was enabled. Labeling Mexicans, “rapists” and “criminals,” immigration the fault of America’s problems, and publicly allowing and encouraging white supremacists to support him, racism was enabled.
It was Donald Trump’s negative adverts and political rhetoric during his campaign that opened the doors to violent attack. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the first ten days after the election, there were 900 bias-related incidents against minorities. The CAIR recorded the number of hate crimes in the first half of 2017 spiked 91% compared to the same period in 2016, which had previously been a record-breaking year. and the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit tracking anti semitic incidents, found an 86% rise in the first three months of 2017. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The combination of Trump’s incendiary racism during the campaign and his attacks on political correctness gave people license to act on their worst instincts. No, Trump is not responsible for starting and creating racial tension, but his campaign harnessed the bubbling hatred and exploited it.
This new Republican strategy of terrifying people into believing liberals are out to get them and Trump is here to protect them, is how domestic terrorism has grown. Trump founded the term “fake news,” as a scapegoat for his inappropriate actions. He translated real news into conspiracy theories as a way to further polarize the two parties and gain him stronger support by his core followers. Most Republicans, eager to have voting majority in the White House, accepted Trump’s shirking of responsibility, and thought his support would give them the political edge they needed to push forward their agenda.
Beyond the fear victimized communities are experiencing, this trend of hatred reflects a deeper social change in American society, an acceptance of bigotry. You are allowed to be offensive, you are allowed to be racist, and you are allowed to tarnish traditional American values; Trump will stand behind you.