Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 09/21/16 01:10
by Dave Mindeman
I'm not very proud of my country right now. The rising hate speech and the openness of white supremacist groups is not making America great again by any means. We are going back to a dark ugly time of racial division and xenophobic blame.
To a lot of people who only look at the surface...the headlines...the black and white of things, a lot of stereotypes are being classified as sealed in granite.
Muslim = Terrorism. Black = Dangerous. Mexican = Illegal.
We only listen to the things that reinforce our fears and seem to have forgotten the realities of a diverse society.
America is a melting pot. That means that American citizens come in all races, all creeds, all ethnicities, and all religions. When we start to divide ourselves along those lines, we lose our own identity.
The St. Cloud Mall attack was horrendous. The response, for the most part, was American in the best sense. But underneath there was still some things that were sinister and ugly.
There is a significant Somali community in St. Cloud and they have embraced the city and want to call it home. But, of course, there is an element that does not want them here....and the political calculus of fear that Donald Trump seems to thrive on gives that element a feeling of legitimacy.
Read the commentary in the Star Tribune today
. It comes from a St. Cloud Somali-American resident. Born here. Raised here. Goes to school here. It is her home.
Yet, the St. Cloud attack filled her with fear. Fear of the violence but mostly fearful of the reaction. The comments on social media. The potential retaliation, as if everyone with Somali heritage is now suspect.
When Dylan Roof killed all those wonderful people in that Charlotte Church there wasn't an assumption that all southern white people were racist. There wasn't a cultural backlash by the African-American community against Southern white Christians. No, in that case, there was only forgiveness and quiet grief. It was remarkable and so courageous.
It was encouraging to see a rally for unity in St. Cloud
today. Of course, it was young people who organized it. Young people who seem to have more respect for each other than many of the adults who are raised in a different less tolerant time....and cannot let go.
I wish I could say the same about all of St. Cloud. But this rally has been an exception to a lot of less than pleasant thoughts, words and deeds of late.
You can dismiss me as a partisan in what I say next, but I still believe it to be true. Donald Trump exacerbates all of this. He does not commit the acts, but he allows his hateful rhetoric to dictate a good portion of the response. He makes it OK to blame innocent members of a religion or ethnicity. Merely because they come from the same culture as the one person who commits the foul deed.
Horrible as these incidents have been, we must not react the way the terrorists hope we do. We must not turn on each other. A lot of the people who have recently come here have experienced their own country's terrorism far more than we have. We need to help them make this their new home. We need to work together to drive away the hate and suspicion. We need to work together to prevent radical hate to poison many of the young people who struggle here.
I keep hoping we are better than the dark forces that have been given a foothold in our country these days. We are indeed in a serious struggle for our identity.
Let me be so bold as to quote Ronald Reagan here...."Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." I don't really care who said it, it is still very true.
The enemy seeks to divide us - to make us turn on our own people. And yes, the different cultures that have come here to find a new life - they are our own people. All of us, at some time in the past, have ancestors that struggled to find a new life in this great country.
And it is a great country. It always has been.