Nationalism is one of the most dangerous forces in the modern world, playing a major role in the origin of both World War I and World War II. Nationalism is the belief that one’s country is superior to others. President Trump’s “America First” doctrine is clearly extreme nationalism, leading him to denigrate countries in Africa, Latin America and the Muslim world. Also, his nationalism has led to U.S. withdrawal from numerous international agreements, such as the Iranian nuclear agreement, not to mention multiple major trade wars, now with China.
Racism, too, is a dangerous force in history. Trump’s racist language, tweets and his racist theater for the masses aims to castigate blacks, Latinos and Muslims at home and abroad.
It is clear that Trumpism is built on extreme nationalism and racism, destructive forces that make the world a more dangerous place, increases hatred and xenophobia towards immigrants (e.g., the heart-wrenching massacre in El Paso) and heightens the possibility of serious racial conflict at home. Trump uses nationalism and racism to create enemies at home and abroad to take attention off his real agenda, creating an authoritarian regime designed for the wealthy.
White supremacist actions must be confronted
The demented motives of both shooters in Dayton and El Paso go back much further than President Trump’s racial rhetoric. These young men had long been isolated from society and through the dark websites had become self-radicalized into hatred ideologies. Fewer than 24 hours after the shootings, it was irresponsible for the Democrats and the media’s talking heads to become apoplectic and directly blame Trump for the actions of these angry men.
There is a huge difference between harboring a personal bias and practicing racism. White supremacists form less than 1% of our population, not a justifiable reason for leftists to paint conservatives with the same racist brush. The remaining 254,000,000 adults are attempting to live together in a relationship of diversity.
These shootings by white supremacists and black gangs make it incumbent on Congress and legislatures to create common sense laws that will increase the identification of killers and reduce obtaining military capacity guns.
Republicans must assume stronger leadership in stopping domestic terrorism before the Democrats seize ownership of the messaging. Hopefully, Trump realizes that 2020 is a déjà vu scenario of his 2016 victory, only in reverse. Trump won because the public voted against Hillary and not for Trump. This Never-Trump movement could bring down more GOP candidates in the House and Senate. Have the Republicans already forgotten the loss of 40 House seats in 2018 due to the anti-Trump vote?
Words of prejudice and hate can kill
A troubling question is being raised throughout the country: Did our president’s casting of vile and fear-ridden words against various groups of persons play a part in the shooting massacres seen in mosques, shopping malls, congregations, schools, concerts and other venues?
In terms of social research and also within religious perspectives, a response of “yes” certainly leans in the direction of that query.
Dr. Gordon Allport, a social psychology professor and author, describes in his book “The Nature of Prejudice” a five-stage process of how the utterance of slurs and hateful labels become weapons of dehumanizing a specific group of persons. The social soil of heightened prejudice now becomes cultivated in this early phase of having these targeted persons to be perceived more as objects.
Thus, set in motion is an incubating momentum for the next four phases of a gradual lethal process to evolve. These overlapping stages become: social avoidance, discrimination (both social and often legal), physical attack and extermination.
Furthermore, derogatory words violate the core of almost all of the major faith groups. Residing in these spiritual foundations is an emphasis on “love for your neighbor as yourself.” The “stranger” or “other” is to be welcomed. Especially marginalized persons, such a mother seeking asylum or the transgendered person, are to be shown kindness.
But when our social and spiritual soil becomes soaked by the influence of ruthless words, a deadly prejudice begins to find its birth via a horrible process.
Indeed, words can kill.
Rev. Thomas Summers
The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.