Hate Crimes and Hurricanes- Labor Day and The Trump Effect

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave America its Labor Day present early, by way of reassuring us as to what a sane and balanced man we have running our country.

Hurricane Harvey was wonderful, Trump said, in the following statement regarding the survivors of the storm he’d met at the disaster relief center he visited.

They were just happy,” Trump said, referencing the disaster in a speech that included a bizarre list of phrases. “We saw a lot of happiness. It’s been really nice. It’s been a wonderful thing. It’s been beautiful.”

What does one say in response? People have lost everything. Harvey wasn’t beautiful at all. It was a particularly vicious hurricane, one that killed many people and ruined all they had. This was not supposed to be fun. It was not intended as an opportunity for Donald, captain of Gondor, to show his quality. It’s a life changing cataclysm. There are decades of recovery ahead for the city. What Trump mistook for happiness, is people’s relief at still being alive.

There is a large question as to whether Trump knows what is real and what isn’t. He’s been on a roll since he began, but since the Charlottesville mayhem things have really grown extreme. He downsized the Historically Black Colleges and Universities conference, he pardoned Joe Arpaio, and he even ordered that ICE checkpoints be kept open during the evacuation process of Houston.

All of this is starting to take a very serious toll. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that Trump’s tendency to condescend toward and abuse people of color is one of the things prompting the extreme and careless manner of the nuclear testing being done by North Korea. And domestically, the harm can hardly be calculated.

At a time like this, when racial relations in America are already abysmal, and violence has been breaking out like a smallpox outbreak, it seems reasonable to expect of a good President, that they be doing what they can to calm things down. But the occupant of our highest office seems bent on doing just the opposite.

Trump’s decision to end DACA, an Obama-era program allowing undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to stay here, is the latest in a succession of blows to this country’s social cohesion. Several states have already threatened to sue. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was established in 2012 to protect young immigrants who came to America as children without legal status.

About 800,000 people have signed up for the program, and remain free from the fear of deportation only by its leave.

Supporters and critics of the program alike say that leaving such people in uncertainty is an inhuman thing to do.

“It’s a cruel hand that extends the American dream and then steals it away. #DACA #DREAMers,” wrote Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., in the first of three tweets on the topic. Democrats have been universal in their condemnation of the president’s conduct. We remain the party of freedom and decency.

The problems with Trump’s attacks on people of color seems to grow bigger every day. Since Donald Trump won the election, news outlets and social media accounts have been overflowing with reports of swastikas at schools, racist taunts, and various other hate-fueled attacks. Slate.com catalogued 1064 such incidents of his kind to take place since last January.

More recently, an investigation by BuzzFeed found examples from dozens of school districts nationwide of students using Trump’s own words to bully their classmates.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has repeatedly criticized the president for “the Trump effect“, which it has called a virus in our country. It has catalogued 1064 such incidents since Trump took office last November. Most Americans have heard of Heather Heyer by now. Sadly, she is far from being the only casualty.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan were arrested for stabbing three people in Anaheim, California.

Student Richard Collins III was killed by a white supremacist days before his graduation from the venerable HBCU Bowie State University. A man named Sean Urbanski walked up to him as he waited for an Uber with friends, and allegedly yelled, “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you!” As this directive was not complied with, Urbanski stabbed Collins in the chest.

Larger scale assaults have been planned as well. The Crusaders are a terrorist group formed by residents of a town called Liberal, Kansas, three men named Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright, and Patrick Stein. These men thought of themselves as patriots resisting a Muslim takeover of the United States. And they knew where there were some Muslims down the road, who could use a good stiff resisting.

So they laid out a plan to load up two cargo vans full of ammonium nitrate, and blow to high heaven an apartment complex inhabited primarily by Somalian refugees in their town, people who came to work at the local meatpacking plant. This plot was only foiled, because Allen got busted for beating his wife and the police found guns and the plans when they came to arrest him for that.

Edward Gibbon famously wrote that history is little more than the register of crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind, and in some ways he was right. There’s a lot of crap like this on every page. Still, it remains the only light we have to guide the future by. We have been down these roads before, and we know it isn’t where we want to be.

Labor Day is representative of a dream of a unified world, people working side by side with people, to make the world a better place for all those who live in it. Starting with the hundred people killed in the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, many have died, fighting to secure the rights that Americans now enjoy. We pay homage to their sacrifice on Labor Day. Let us honor the fallen ones by treating each other with kindness. It’s a small thing to ask, and a big thing to give.

 

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