Throughout the 2016 presidential election, then-Republican candidate Donald Trump attracted a large array of controversy for numerous aspects associated with him, including his comments, supporters, and violence at rallies. Regarding the former, Trump notably broadened his popularity among Rust Belt voters by appealing to their sense of fear about the uncertain future, talking about how they would lose their factories and working-class jobs to China and immigrants. As a result, his advocates grew to become enlivened by his brutally honest personality, particularly at assemblies where it was widely reported that people who held opposing viewpoints got hurt.
Fast forward to the middle of November, where the electoral college results revealed Trump’s victory, and one can see how that small-scale fervor translated to the national scene. As the Southern Law Poverty Center (SLPC) reported, there were over 400 cases of hate crimes and/or intimidation against minorities between the period of November 8 and 14. These numbers were not helped by the fact that a sect of the infamous white supremacist Ku Klux Klan planned a victory parade in North Carolina.
In 2017, a study from an organization called SafeHome.org came out revealing a startling increase in social media groups promoting hatred against non-whites over at least the past two years. While pre-dating Trump’s arrival onto the political scene, the rise does corroborate with another study by the SLPC about the amount of anti-Muslim groups tripling between 2015 and 2016, which is the time Trump began his bid for the presidency.
Despite these horrendous statistics, which should not be ignored, there has been a small incline in the opposite: that is, an increase in the amount of crimes against people who proudly voted for the Republican nominee. During the president’s inauguration, for example, peaceful protests done in the name of anti-fascism quickly gave in to violent ones, resulting in six policemen getting injured in the DC area. Perhaps the most notable incident, however, involved the live-streamed torture of a mentally-handicapped kid by four African Americans, who taunted him with hateful explicit statements condemning the president.
Unfortunately, today saw that same sentiment continued as members of a surprisingly peace pro-Trump march found themselves clashing with an anti-Trump group dressed in all black. Taking place on a southern beach in California, the latter refused to move, resulting in several fights breaking out between the two that quickly grew beyond the conventions of a brawl when some folks of the anti-Trump opponents began to pepper spray the other group.
Things continued to escalate, with thousands of people reportedly joining the fight, mostly on the pro-Trump side. Luckily, law enforcement arrived in time to end the altercation, resolving the situation by arresting four of the counter-protesters on pepper spray and battery charges. As it to be expected in this age, though, video and photo footage of the transgression found its way onto various social media sites, which subjects on all sides of the political spectrum took to spreading to their respective networks, provoking media firestorms about the nature of the event.
Looking at all these things with an objective outlook, a couple of things have been made clear. First is the old adage that two wrongs do not make a right. In spite of all the horrible vitriol spewed against minorities, responding against these perpetrators with violence only results in pain and poor publicity. The second is not to use small acts of violence as the justification for stereotypes. In other words, just as this group clad in black is not indicative of all who oppose Trump, not all Trump voters are bigots or hateful people.
[Featured Image by Brennan Linsley/AP Images]