Democracy under siege in the Americas
We're seeing the violent consequences of hate speech perpetuated by our president.
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“The end is near.”
It is ironic that such phrase, so commonly used in comic strips to make fun of some deranged soul carrying the apocalyptic message had, as of late, become ominously prescient.
It may not be the end of times –not yet, anyway --, but it has started to look and feel pretty close. It’s not only the horrific, racist, out of control violence in the U.S., but the fact that it is fueled by the hateful and irresponsible words the president himself – the president, for goodness sake -- keeps uttering with no regard for the consequences.
Knowing him, no one knows if last week’s tragedies moved Trump at all, even though his bigoted words came back to bite him when, in a 72-hour period, three hate-filled crimes shook once again the nation’s complacent – and obviously inaccurate — image of itself. CNN’s Ray Sanchez and Melissa Gray reported it this way
“Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans, seemingly at random, at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church.
“After mail bombs were being sent to people who’d been criticized by the President, a suspect was arrested Friday — a man who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online.
“And Saturday morning, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services.”
The murderer’s name is Robert Bowers, a white man sick with hate for Jews and immigrants.
In one post on the Gab social media platform, Bowers wrote: “HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) likes to bring in invaders that kill our people,” and claimed Jews were helping transport members of the Central American migrant caravan. Just another equal opportunity hater of the kind flourishing under Trump’s protection.
The fact that despite their relentless demonization by the president and his people, no undocumented immigrant, no Hispanic, no Muslim, no African-American, no woman was among the perpetrators must not be allowed to be ignored by hate-mongers and the usually deficient media coverage.
“It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country and frankly all over the world,” Trump told reporters Saturday before flying to Indiana for a political rally, in a pathetic attempt to sound presidential. Yet, the good behavior didn’t last long. Soon after, the liar-in chief was back to fanning the flames of hate.
“There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Fake News Media,” he added, is the “true Enemy of the People.” That is, the racist killers, the white supremacist terrorists, the twisted, hate-filled white men who inflicted unspeakable pain and spilled so much innocent blood are not the real enemy, according to Trump -- the news media is. Despicable.
To make matters worse, with the election of a fascist president in Brazil, Trump seems to have found a soulmate. Jair Bolsonaro, an ex-soldier and great admirer of the military junta that killed thousands of Brazilians has promised to “give carte blanche for the police to kill.” Even more, he has declared he favors violence against LGBTQ people, Afro-Brazilians, women, indigenous people, minorities, and political opponents, as well as his opposition to democratic norms and values. A man to Trump’s own heart.
The president did not wait long to congratulate the Brazilian.
“We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else! Excellent call, wished him congrats!” an obviously elated Trump tweeted on Monday about their Sunday call.
No, it is not the end of times yet, but it certainly feels pretty close, so don’t forget to vote on November 6.