Hate Crimes are Increasing—Likely More Than We Realize
Now that the federal authorities have arrested Cesar Sayoc in connection with the explosive devices sent to many of those whom Donald Trump rages against as enemies — prominent Democrats, other critics of the President and CNN — some will argue that he is merely a disturbed individual, a lone actor, with no connection to the atmosphere created by the Trump presidency. This is most likely not true.
Yes, Cesar Sayoc appears to be a troubled man. The terror spree he conducted could only be carried out by a person with certain psychological deficits. However, he is not a unique character operating in a vacuum. Cesar Sayocs can be found almost anywhere in America.
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It is this reality that burdens public figures, especially presidents, with the responsibility to use care and caution as they lead the nation. The exception is Donald Trump, whose superheated rhetoric could make himself a factor in the run-up to terror.
Investigators will eventually reveal many factors that could have played a role in the process that led to the mailing of the explosive devices.
Likely Trump’s rhetoric will be just one of many elements. However, denying that it played a role is not an option. Neither can we expect Trump to change.Trump campaigned using taunts and suggestions that all the Cesar Sayocs could have heard as calls to violent action.
When a protester interrupted a rally, Trump announced that he would “like to punch him in the face” and waxed sentimental about the days when protesters would be “carried out on stretchers.”He referenced a “Second Amendment” response to Hillary Clinton’s possible election and offered to pay the legal bills for those who assault his protesters.
The President’s encouragement of violence, combined with rhetoric about the press being “enemies of the people” and political opponents being un-American, are green lights for those who are vulnerable to suggestion. Worse, when you think about the President’s impact on fevered minds, is his penchant for conspiracy theories. With no evidence, he recently suggested terrorists were among immigrants now marching toward the United States.people to believe that almost anything can be true.
Taken together, Trump’s paranoid rants encourage people to believe that almost anything can be true.
Trump allies and fans rejected the notion that he was playing a dangerous game and instead praised his willingness to forgo political correctness and speak plainly. However, this wasn’t plain speech, it was incitement, and the notion that milder rhetoric is somehow less sincere is absurd.Politicians who honor the boundaries of decency and public safety are not mealy-mouthed pleasers. They are normal adults who respect public safety.
As president, Trump never pivoted from his destructive campaign mode to become a leader of all the American people. Just weeks ago, he praised fellow Republican Greg Gianforte for assaulting a reporter who had asked him a question. “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of … He was my guy,” said Trump.