Are the GOP presidential candidates inspiring hate crimes?
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On Friday, a gunman killed three at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. Later, in explaining his motive to the police, he
Last Monday, gunmen opened fire on Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis who were demanding action against two white Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, twenty-four, an unarmed black man, on November fifteenth.
Meanwhile, the FBI reports an upturn in threats on mosques and Muslims in the United States.
In Connecticut, police are
In an Austin suburb, leaders of the Islamic Center of Pflugerville
Hate crimes will never be eliminated entirely. A small number of angry, deranged people inevitably will vent their rage at groups they find threatening. Some will do so violently.
Perpetrators of hate crimes often take their cues from what they hear in the media.
But this doesn’t absolve politicians who have been fueling such hatefulness.
Perpetrators of hate crimes often take their cues from what they hear in the media. And the recent inclination of some politicians to use inflammatory rhetoric is contributing to a climate of hate and fear.
Carly Fiorina continues to allege, for example, that Planned Parenthood is selling body parts of fetuses.
Although the claim has been proven baseless, it’s been repeated not only by Fiorina but also by other candidates.
Even in the wake of Friday’s Colorado shootings, Donald Trump
Some candidates are also fomenting animus toward Muslims.
And Trump not only fails to condemn violence he provokes but finds excuses for it.
Indeed, much of Trump’s campaign is built on hatefulness. And Trump not only fails to condemn violence he provokes but finds excuses for it.
After a handful of white supporters recently punched and attempted to choke a Black Lives Matter protester at one of his campaign rallies, Trump said “maybe he should have been roughed up.”
Trump began his campaign last June by falsely
Weeks later in Boston, two brothers beat with a metal poll and urinated on a 58-year-old homeless Mexican national. They subsequently
They have a responsibility to calm people with the truth rather than stir them up with lies.
But instead of condemning that brutality, Trump excused it by
I’m not suggesting Trump, Carson, Fiorina, or any other presidential candidate is directly to blame for hate crimes erupting across America.
But by virtue of their standing as presidential candidates, their words carry particular weight. They have a responsibility to calm people with the truth rather than stir them up with lies.
In suggesting that the staff of Planned Parenthood, Muslims, Black Lives Matter protesters, and Mexican immigrants are guilty of venal acts, these candidates are fanning the flames of hate.
This in itself is despicable.
Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future and The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism. His latest, Beyond Outrage, is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.