Monday, July 04, 2016
Why You Should Worry About Trump's Tweets
Is Trump a capital-R racist? Is he the second coming of Hitler? Perhaps I'm giving him far too much benefit of the doubt, but I'd say no. Hitler wouldn't associate himself with Omarosa, for example, and he wouldn't be too happy about his daughter converting to Judaism to marry a Jew. But that doesn't mean that Trump isn't a godsend to the racists and anti-Semites out there.
Even if he doesn't intend to be, Donald Trump has become a very public mouthpiece for bigots, xenophobes, and white supremacists. This is not in debate. It's fact:
The tweet above? Originated in a vile white supremacist message board.
It's not the first time he's passed along a message crafted by neonazis.
Or the second.
He does this a lot. Passes on memes, photoshops, and tweets from some of the most hateful people from the darkest corners of the Internet. He does it uncritically, no filter. During a presidential campaign, when he knows every piece of communication from his camp will be heavily scrutinized, he copies things he sees and sends them to millions of people, without even checking the source or worrying about whose message he's passing on.
If he's not doing it deliberately, then he's being hoodwinked, again and again, by KKK-loving anti-government hatemongers. We should worry about someone who is continually deceived into spreading messages lovingly crafted in the backrooms and basements of people determined to wipe out everyone except for white American Christians.
How stupid can one be, really? [UPDATE: Pretty damn stupid. Trump put out an official statement saying the image was taken from another Twitter user. This is another image put out by the same Twitter user.] Trump's latest defense, that the star in the tweet above is a "sherriff's star" is absurd on its face. The image was produced by an anti-Semite for a white supremacist message board. Hillary's email problems have nothing to do with the $100 bills and Jewish star... That's common messaging from Hitler worshippers who believe Hillary is bought and owned by the so-called Jewish elite.
It's not "the media" (the Jewish-owned media, the image's creator would point out) that is twisting this image into something it's not. It takes a lot of squinting and a ton of mental gymnastics to interpret this graphic as a criticism of Hillary's email shenanigans and a reference to the FBI's ongoing investigation. For instance, why $100 bills and not emails or email inboxes as the background (those cute little AOL inboxed would be a particularly germane graphic to use)? And why not use the FBI logo or the FBI shield (which is not a Star of David) if you intend to refer to the investigation taking place? Nothing about this image says emails or FBI. It's made entirely of anti-Jewish imagery.
Which is exactly the kind of imagery you'd expect once you know this was created for a white supremacist message board.
The fact that Trump has continually given a voice to this type of hate imagery and hate speech should worry anybody who isn't a card carrying racist. Trump's own staff attempted to take his Twitter privileges away because he repeatedly shares content from the internet's scariest trolls. So claiming the image above depicts a sherriff's badge and isn't in any way connected to anti-Semitic bullshit doesn't hold water--if that were the case, then why is Trump's communications team trying to reign him in?
If Trump retweets something, does he believe it? It doesn't matter. What matters is he is exposing these hateful viewpoints to millions of his followers. Every time he retweets a supremacist, he sends that supremacist thousands of new followers. Whether he means to or not, Trump has emboldened the once dormant hate group movements in this country.
If he's giving them such a voice now, can you imagine how loud they'll get if he ever comes to power?
It doesn't matter if Trump is Hitler. He hasn't done anything to counter these voices. He hasn't preached tolerance or expressed scorn for the people who would gas his Jewish grandchild if given a chance. For someone who talks so much, he's said remarkably little about the white supremacists who have gravitated to his campaign.
Plenty of politicians rose to power in 1930s and 40s Germany on the back of Hitler and the nazis. They didn't have to make speeches about the stab-in-the-
back myth or come out against the Jews. All they had to do was give the growing tenor of hate their tacit approval. All they had to do was go along for the ride.
Trump may not be Hitler. But he sure is enjoying the benefits of that kind of hate. He's riding on the backs of racists, bigots and xenophobes. He's echoing their voices and spreading their messages far and wide.
If we don't hold him accountable for that, then he'll only be accountable to them.