The other day, during a lesson on immigration and, ironically, the day before a lesson on empathy, a student informed me that he was basing his answers not only on the story we were studying, but planned on relating it to present day through his support of Trump. While on the one hand I felt physically noxious thinking about what the world was coming to, as a teacher I answered in the best way that I could. “Okay, but I expect quotations and critical thinking.” Perhaps, I hoped, this could lead him to the realization that his thoughts are unfounded.
If the results of the primaries are to be trusted, over half of the Republican party, which as of February 7th represents about 30% of total registered voters, or 43% when right leaning independents are considered (GallupGallup), supported a Trump candidacy. He converts people to the Republican side, just to vote for him, because the mission to “make America great again” is incredibly attractive.
Donald Trump takes every opportunity to pounce on anyone who isn’t him, using hate and anger to show his dominance. According to Psychology Today, “Hate masks personal insecurities. Not all insecure people are haters, but all haters are insecure people. Hate elevates the hater above the hated.” If Mr. Trump were to read this he would most certainly disagree, laugh it off the way he did when questioned about the size of… well everything. Thus, while he postures himself as a man with no flaws, it is more than likely that his hate masks deeply rooted insecurities. The same can be said for the many supporters.
According to an FBI study, hate groups generally develop in seven stages.
1. The Haters Gather
The study argues that “haters rarely hate alone. They feel compelled, almost driven, to entreat others to hate as they do.” And there you have it. The current American political race. In June of 2015 Donald J. Trump Jr. announced his official campaign for the presidency, already on the attack. The Trump campaign is continuously calling on others to jump on the hate train: encouraging violence, racism, and xenophobia. In July Trump announced that 20,000 people showed up to support him in Arizona and in August, Trump supporters numbered 30,000 at a single rally. Since then, supporters have continued to flock, many coming from hours away just to hear him speak for the silent majority.
Bound by hate, and an intense fear of losing their privilege, convinced that Trump speaks for the necessary equality of the white majority, the haters gather as one in an effort to take America back from “illegals” and “terrorists.”
You know, the slogan is “Make America Great Again” and I’m adding “Make America Great Again and Safe Again” because we don’t feel safe anymore (Iowa).
2. Hate Group Defines Itself
While the Trump campaign has not yet adopted a swaztika, nor decided to sport the hair, they have unified over a wall claiming to make America great again by keeping out undocumented immigrants, particularly Mexican. They bond over the desire to block all Muslims from immigrating into the country, and threaten the country’s well being.
In December Trump announced that
Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.
Not only is the statement based on negative stereotypes and full of the hatred he seems to condemn, it is unfounded and against all that America was founded on. However, this language of assumption is exactly what holds the campaign together. Donald Trump claims to speak for the people, to voice what “everybody” is already thinking but too afraid to say. Trump supporters believe that the other should be ousted from the country, that the white elite remain the white elite. They join over a blatant disregard for the politically correct, believing instead that speaking one’s mind is always the best policy. They insult rather than discuss, and support force over negotiation.
They are the Wall People, the haters and the rioters. Self-referred to as the “silent majority” begging for change. They have defined themselves as a group, chanting TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP and USA in unison. Other controversial political figures, Paul Lepage, one of many conservative governors to publicly announce he would not allow Syrian refugees into Maine and Joe Arpaio, a sheriff accused of various counts of misconduct, have endorsed the figure, publicly joining the developing hate group. They of course brought their own followers with them.
3. The Hate Group Disparages the Target
From day one, Trump and his supporters have denigrated both individuals and communities alike. From referring to Mexicans as rapists and murderers, to personally attacking Megyn Kelly, Rosie O’Donnell and numerous other public figures; mainly anyone with a different viewpoint.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. … And some, I assume, are good people.”
While he fortunately makes an attempt not to assume the worst of all undocumented people in the United States, he doesn’t do that great a job at it. Furthermore, he implies that immigrants are mere exports of the Mexican government rather than people fleeing terrible situations. Such disparagement dehumanizes the other and makes both verbal and physical violence infinitely easier.
During a Perry, Iowa high school basketball game last month rival supporters alluded to racist comments from the Trump campaign through chants of his name. The Iowa school is incredibly diverse, thus many of the students fell into a group of “undesirables.” One student said of the event, “It’s honestly disrespectful. That’s how I take it. I hear it during the game, on and off the court. Everywhere I go.” The name itself carries racist connotations impossible to ignore, especially for people of color throughout the United States.
4. The Hate Group Taunts the Target
The fourth stage of hate is indicated by growing amounts of hate speech and intolerance that extends beyond conversation amongst participants and is directed at the target. While the chants in Perry, Iowa clearly had an impact on both the team and the community, no single person was targeted. In February, Slate documented the happenings at a Nevada rally.
“Behind [Trump], a man held a sign that read, “Veterans to Trump: End Hate Speech Against Muslims.” The crowd, estimated at 8,000 people, could see the man and the sign and started to yell. “Get him out!” said some attendees. “Throw him out!” yelled others. Trump noticed and voiced the anger of his supporters. “Get the hell out” he said, as security removed the protester. The crowd booed and cheered and chanted (“USA! USA!”), and Trump continued with his address, moving—as usual—to attacks on immigrants, Muslims, and foreign countries. ”
It did not matter that the man stood physically before them, his face a clear representation of his humanity. Both man and sign came only to represent the object of hate. Similarly, Huffington Post told the story of Yasmine Alamiri who “was standing in the press pen at a Donald Trump rally in Radford, Virginia, late [in February] when a man in the crowd called her a terrorist.” She also reported that she was verbally assaulted for being a member of the media (another enemy of Trump and his minions).
At an Iowa College rally a woman was recorded saying that she would “vote for white supremacy.” Others reported hearing, “‘Send the illegals back to where they came from!’ ‘Excuse me immigrants,’ and ‘Is that English or is that stupidity?’ toward a sign written in Spanish.” This politically and racially charged rhetoric is not new, but it is certainly being justified by a campaign that laughs in the face of political support. Likewise, a mother in Virginia claimed on Facebook that her third grade son, among other students of color, was targeted by another student as someone who would be sent “home” when Trump becomes president.
Furthermore, a mosque in New Jersey told the LATimes in December that hateful messages had risen drastically in the previous weeks with disrespectful and threatening messages that referred to comments by Donald Trump. The group reported that the rise in hate was greater than the upswing following the attacks of Charlie Hebdo.
5. The Hate Group Attacks the Target Without Weapons (but with physical violence)
In recent weeks, violence has continued to escalate as the hate model predicts. The fifth stage represents the time when “hate groups become more aggressive, prowling their turf seeking vulnerable targets.” Actions of rioters at a Trump rally in North Carolina turned the heads of the nation, many only peripherally aware of the impact the candidate has had on the country. Recently, physical assault has become an expected part of the campaign stops.
The violence in North Carolina is not isolated, and the Trump campaign is doing nothing but instigating. At the same rally, Donald Trump said, “Get out of here, go home to mom.” He has also advocated physical violence, going as far as to say that he “will pay the legal fees” of violent supporters and that he would “would like to punch [protestors] in the face.”
Even more recently, Bryan Sanders was attacked in Tucson, leaving the scene with a bruised ribcage and swollen jaw, states the New York Daily News. Following the attack, Sanders told reporters, “I don’t know him. He’s just an angry person and his anger is being accentuated by the political movement.” “It’s disturbing for me to watch,” Sanders added. “Who would have intervened if this man had kept going? I’m actually frightened.” If security forces had not acted in time, the violence could have accelerated, causing even more damage. Fortunately, that was not the case this time.
6. The Hate Group Attacks the Target With Weapons
Violence at the hands of Trump supporters has been brewing from the beginning. In August The Atlantic published a full report on the murder of a man of Hispanic descent, living on the street. One of his attackers justified the action saying, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” Apparently, this is going to be done by the people of the country and not the government or other forces of justice.
According to the Orange Man himself, not even murder would turn supporters away from him. Perhaps, it would actually draw them closer, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Even more recently, Trump proposed that were he to lose the election by a technicality there would be a high change of rioting. In an essay for the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan said,
When Trump says, “I think you’d have riots,” he can claim (and does claim) that he is merely making a prediction, but his target audiences — his detractors and his supporters — will hear the prediction as a threat and an invitation respectively. To the one group he is saying, “This is what will happen to you if you gang up against me; the party will be ruined.” To the other group he is saying, “If they do this to me, you know what to do in response.”
If the model continues to fit the rise of Trump and his supporters, a riot doesn’t seem far fetched, but rather an inevitable part of the hate process. If the growing hate is not stopped America can look forward to more murders like that in August: haters taking justice into their own hands and taking the life of the hated object. On March 10th, John McGraw,, who has since been charged with assault, attacked a protester who was already being removed from the arena. McGraw said on video that, “the next time we see him we might have to kill him.”
7. The Hate Group Destroys the Target
The model shows that hateful rhetoric is merely a stepping-stone in a much larger process. According to the research,
“The ultimate goal of haters is to destroy the object of their hate. Mastery over life and death imbues the hater with godlike power and omnipotence, which, in turn, facilitate further acts of violence. With this power comes a great sense of self-worth and value, the very qualities haters lack. However, in reality, hate physically and psychologically destroys both the hater and the hated.”
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