Opinion: Political strife is brewing hate and violence on US soil

America has become increasingly contentious and divided over the past couple of years. Our nation has witnessed with wide eyes and growing anger all of the destruction and hate that so many have spewed into society since the begin­ning of the Trump administration.

The divisive and fear-filled rhetoric that President Trump and his support­ers cling to has caused unprecedented unease and conflict between Americans of all identities and backgrounds. There has been an outstanding split between Democrats and Republicans with an attempt by the Trump administration to divide us and play the blame game with each other.

The media — coupled with the pres­ident’s administration — has success­fully created a rift between Americans, causing the spread of hatred, anger, and the inability to critically discuss and prob­lem solve as united Americans.

The acts of violence and terror in recent years provide all the proof needed to condemn “dog-whistle politics” — a political tactic that uses coded language to convey a certain message that is not always obvious. An example of this is the War on Drugs, which was framed as a safety issue when the real goal was to disproportionality imprison poor people and communities of color.

The recent mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh — where 11 innocent people were heart­lessly gunned to their deaths and seven left injured — was another trag­edy where lives were lost and a com­munity was left in grief and fear. The shooter’s actions were cruel, but they are a symptom of a broader issue in America right now: violence against those who are deemed “other” and hateful divisions between people.

Robert Bowers, the shooter, had been a vocal anti-Semitic on social media plat­forms and went as far as to say to police after the shooting, “I just want to kill Jews.” In an audit done by the Anti-Def­amation League in 2017, it was found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. rose by 57 percent from the year before. The correlation between this and comments made by Trump after the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally — where he refused to condemn the actions and words of Neo-Nazis and white supremacists — cannot be ignored.

Hate crimes against other communi­ties have also been more prevalent throughout the Trump administration than in prior years. Oct. 24, a white man — with a history of violent behavior and making racial slurs — shot two African-Americans at a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky after his failed attempt to barge into a predominantly black church. Nov. 2, a man opened fire into a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, killing two wom­en and injuring five others before taking his own life. This man was found to have shared several racist and misogynistic comments on YouTube videos in the past.

Another recent incident involved a man who groped a fellow passenger in front of him during a flight. After his ar­rest for sexual assault, he rationalized his behavior to the police by saying, “The president of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”

Many of these horrific incidents have come to light amidst the discovery of pipe bombs that were mailed to multiple vocal critics of Trump and individuals whom Trump has shown dislike for, in­cluding: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros and Robert De Niro.

All of these stories have something in common — hate. These criminals were compelled to commit evil and hateful acts against their fellow Americans, and their actions and words show the true spirit of the Trump administration.

This schismatic strategy of the pres­ident is dangerous, as it has threatened our safety, democracy and humanity. We have to put our personal political stanc­es aside and recognize that conflict is not the solution. The very fate of our nation and even the world depends on our abil­ity to come together and find common ground on freedom, love and respect.

ILLUSTRATION BY BRUNO MARQUEZ

Alyssa Tatro

Alyssa majors in urban studies and community development. She is interested in and concerned about issues in Tacoma that impact the community. She is obsessed with all things chocolate and piggies.