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.