Election 2016

If We Ignore Trump's Hateful Rhetoric, Are We Somehow Complicit?

History has shown us what happens when people fall silent in the face of hate speech.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

Update:

On Thursday I traveled to Las Vegas with my “Stop Hate” message for Donald Trump and the media that covers him. I was at the front of his rally and after listening to 45 minutes of vitriolic hatred I raised my banner and shouted, “Stop the hate, Donald Trump’s hatred incites violence and leads to war.” I repeated this message over and over while the crowd ripped the banner and covered me with their signs. Trump was distracted and frazzled, thrown off message since earlier he said he loved protesters. He shouted “get her out of here” and then called me a “young woman that doesn’t know… she’s lost.”

I was then pushed through the crowd by the supporters who continued to shove signs in my face, someone punched me in my chest with their fist while they chanted, “Trump! Trump!” as loud as they could. I continued with my message. A few people in the crowd apparently tried to return my jacket, which I had left behind in the scuffle, to me, but Trump told them “leave her jacket there… to hell with her.” LVPD then dragged me through the crowd out to the back of the hotel and on to the street, where they said if i came back i would be charged with trespassing.  I was shaking from the gauntlet of hatred i was pushed through.

Watch the video (story continues below):

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Donald Trump’s candidacy for president of the United States is an affront to human decency, and I, like so many others, can no longer be silent.

Trump's disparaging attacks on Muslims, women, immigrants, and the disabled prove time and time again that he does not seek to serve all Americans in his candidacy.

The bigoted and Islamophobic statements Trump made in calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” only serve to push the United States deeper into a military quagmire in the Middle East and foment attacks on American Muslims. His hate-filled rhetoric is a verbal tool of oppression that works to alienate peace-loving Muslims in the U.S. and around the globe.

I thought GOP candidates would have learned from their 2012 attacks on women, but Trump has only lowered the bar. A commander-in-chief should not believe that military rape is inevitable, but instead should work to dignify the issue and attack it at its root cause.

Trump’s unique style of bullying and fear-mongering is the bedrock of an insidious hate-filled mentality that pollutes logic and rejects reason. We cannot trust a person who seeks to move people through fear of others. History has shown us what happens when people fall silent in the face of this kind of hate speech and refuse to stand against it.

His supporters tout his "bravery" and "honesty" in "saying what needs to be said," but there is no courage in spreading lies and spewing hate, and there certainly is no courage in inciting a lynch mob mentality against protesters. Unlike the more subtle and coded dog-whistle political strategy the GOP has followed since the ‘60s, Trump’s overt racism has changed the game for rhetorical strategy, leaving me to question, how is Trump paving the path for this violent, oppressive language to worsen in the future and take root?

We look to the Balkans and Rwanda for reminders of what hate can do. The hate Donald Trump’s campaign is built on has been the driving force for war and militarism throughout history. Millions of lives have been lost because hate-filled language was taken to the extreme. Dismissing the possibilities shortcuts the path to reality; ignoring this hate is complicity in future atrocities.

Trump’s candidacy has been built on outrageousness, and he keeps one-upping himself. Like someone caught in an endless cycle of Netflix binge-watching, Americans are fixated on Trump, waiting to see what’s next instead of realizing that they’ve been watching useless garbage for far too long. The trouble is, this garbage could be the foundation of policy and executive orders. The entertainment that Trump is orchestrating and starring in, which now includes the extremist-beloved Sarah Palin, has played on for far too long.

StopHateDumpTrump.com

Chelsea Byers is a political organizer and community strategist. 

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