“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.” – former U.S. President Barack Obama, in a statement he issued after a shooter poisoned with the same kind of white-supremacist hate Trump gins up at his rallies, murdered 22 people at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas
A Brief Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted August 6th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
I wasn’t planning to post something so soon on this again on a site where most of our focus should go to news and commentary on issues of interest and concern to our region of the world.
But I dare say that most of us have been focused on the horrific violence that unfolded on people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio (yes, that is Dayton, not Toledo, Mr. President) over the past weekend in a country with a gun fetish that has, for decades, gone murderously out of control.
So when I read a copy of a statement former U.S. President Barack Obama issued this August 5th, referring most specifically to the bloodbath in El Paso that now clearly looks like a hate crime committed by a young white man who issued an essay of his own, polluted throughout with the kind of garbage Trump spews at his rallies, I made up my mind to post Obama’s words here.
I hope that those who haven’t already read Obama’s words, including our friends and neighbours on the U.S. side of the border, read these words because they are words of simple, human decency and of uniting people in a spirit of peace and understanding – something Trump and the ugly mobs who attended his Nuremberg-like rallies will never understand.
Here it is –
“Michelle and I grieve with all the families in El Paso and Dayton who endured these latest mass shootings. Even if details are still emerging, there are a few things we already know to be true.
First, no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States. No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do.
Every time this happens, we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.
Second, while the motivations behind these shootings may not yet be fully known, there are indications that the El Paso shooting follows a dangerous trend: troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy.
Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, these individuals may act alone, but they’ve been radicalized by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the internet. That means that both law enforcement agencies and internet platforms need to come up with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups.
But just as important, all of us have to send a clarion call and behave with the values of tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of our democracy.
We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people. Such language isn’t new – it’s been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world.
It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much – clearly and unequivocally.”
Contrast Obama’s statement above with a slice of what it is like at a Trump rally where, in this case, Trump makes light of someone in the mob shouting “shoot them” during one of his diatribes about migrants at the Mexico/U.S. border.
What I find particularly disturbing here is the clapping and cheering and laughter from people in the mob behind Trump who, on another day, may be perfectly normal-looking parents and grandparents.
What do they tell their children and grandchildren? Were they cheering and laughing after they heard the news about the shootings in the El Paso shopping mall this past weekend? Are they aware of the old proverb that you reap what they sow?
Click on the screen below to watch the clip –
Finally, here is a clip from an MSNBC program, aired just a few weeks ago, that foreshadows the hate-filled violence that unfolded in El Paso this August 3rd –
NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.
A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.
For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .