There’s a lot of blaming Mr. Trump for the violence in America today; the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso being the latest in a shameful national parade. Â And, full disclosure, I’m not a fan. Â But I don’t blame him. Â Regardless of our political beliefs, I believe we can Â agree that Mr. Trump Â is a Â consummate marketer. His genius, in my opinion, is his ability to sense the true mood of a crowd and capitalize on it. Â If he had not sensed our fear and divisiveness, would his campaign rhetoric have been the same? Â I don’t think so. Â Blaming him for our problems is like blaming Hollywood for making violent movies. Â They don’t play to empty theaters.
Mr. Trump didn’t plant the seeds, he simply cultivated them. They have always been there, germinating beneath the surface. Â We have all seen, or experienced first hand, prejudice, frank or thinly veiled. It’s in our societal genes. Immigrants, Jewish people, African Americans, women, homosexuals, the elderly…The list is long. Â Distrust and fear of “the other” Â that, once ignited, quickly rages out of control. Â But what, exactly, are we afraid of?
That somehow “the other” will take away our freedoms, our possessions, our status? Â That “they” will require something of us we don’t want to give? Â Are we afraid of becoming “them?” Â Or is it just Â too painful to confront the injustices, Â unmet needs, pain and despondency in their lives? Â Is it easier to just blame them for their predicament and get on with our lives? Â Wash our hands of the whole sorry mess?
These questions come to mind every time I see another immigration nightmare, violent demonstration, community wracked with drugs and crime. Â I could argue that no one helped me, so why should I help them? After all, my marginalized group of origin, poor white southern women, didn’t and still doesn’t have, Â an action group. Â I could argue that Â I did okay, why can’t they? Â Why get involved? Â I prefer to avoid the heat.
Until it starts licking at my heels….and I experience the consequence of ignoring a fire just because I didn’t start it.
There are hopeful signs that maybe, just maybe, this time we’ve had enough. Â And IF we have, President Trump will take note.