Shouting “all Jews must die,” lone gunman Robert Bowers was arrested and charged with the shootings.
Having no previous criminal record what might have propelled 46-year-old Bowers the alleged perpetrator to suddenly burst into deadly action?
Words have power and with freedom of speech comes the responsibility to use our words for the benefit of all.
A word is dead
When it is said,
I say it just
Begins to live
(Emily Dickinson – 1896)
The power of the spoken word can move man to acts of great kindness and conversely to violence and brutal murder. What role do words and rhetoric play?
We must differentiate between summoning people to violent action and creating a charged environment that empowers them to engage in anti-social behavior.
Did words alone incite Bowers to act?
The word “massacre” as used in the title is a misnomer. Massacre is defined as “an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people.”
Robert Bowers slaughter was not indiscriminate. It was targeted at Jews. He is a far-right extremist.
According to the Israeli newspaper HAARETZ, Bowers said: “It’s the filthy Evil Jews Bringing Filthy evil Muslims into the country! Stop the Kikes then Worry about the Muslims.” (The word “kike” is an ethnic slur.)
Seemingly he is not a follower or fan of Donald Trump writing, “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no MAGA [Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan] as long as there is a kike infestation.”
So, what was it then that caused the melt-down and scurrilous action of Robert Bowers?
Clearly, he holds right-wing, anarchist views. They didn’t magically appear overnight. Yet after years of non-deadly violence, he erupted.
Could it have been the climate and tone of political rhetoric that began the moment Donald Trump made his announcement that he would run for the Republican nomination in the 2016 Presidential election? Trump’s words could certainly be considered incendiary.
The discourse has only gone downhill since Trump’s announcement.
Here’s a link to CNN’s “Trump Campaign: 11 outrageous quotes.” I will mention only one where he refers to then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people- maybe there is. I don’t know.
What was he saying in the above quote that he wasn’t “stating?” For what type of reaction and action was he sowing the seeds? The unstated is often stronger and far more insidious than blatant comments.
Since he was elected the lies spewed by Donald Trump designed to influence, obstruct, inflame, scare, and incite fury have increased. Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief of the TORONTO STAR has tabulated them. As of this writing 3084 have been listed.
Have the falsehoods the President has been uttering since day one of his Presidency created a divisive climate that may lead our country toward civil war? Some have postulated they could.
Almost daily we are witness to anger, rage, and accusations at Trump rallies. Might the climate of negative and violence-prone discourse tip the scales for someone who is unbalanced causing them to act on impulses they had previously been able to contain? I don’t know.
Hate crimes have risen exponentially since Donald Trump began his campaign and have continued throughout his Presidency.
Enough though of Donald Trump because I believe there are more insidious villains contributing to the soiling of our great nation.
Their modus operandi is not statement or innuendo. It’s silence. The refusal to speak out against unconscionable, unethical and dangerous conduct by the Leader of the Free World. The willingness to allow despicable discourse without an attempt to change its direction.
They do this to achieve their personal ends and for fear of losing their jobs.
All of us as citizens have a responsibility (though it’s a choice, not an obligation,) to speak up against hateful, derogatory or racist speech against any group. Be it Muslims, Christians, Jews, minorities of all persuasions, immigrants, the poor and disenfranchised, people of various sexual orientation” the list is virtually endless.
However, elected officials who are in a position to reign in an administration that is plunging America to its lowest moral depths in the last century and don’t do so, have not just a responsibility but an obligation to act. When they don’t they are not living up to their oath of office and should be removed.
The most accountable of these is the leadership of the “ruling party.” Those who control both Houses of Congress.
Their silence is un-American, unconscionable and reprehensible. It holds more power than statements and inference. It uses its muteness to signal acceptance of hate speech. Worse, it does so not because of agreement with incendiary talk that is destroying our nation. Rather because it believes the ends justify the means.
The leadership is abandoning its moral center in order to enact far-reaching, long-lasting uber conservative change that the majority of the country does not want. It is abuse of power plain and simple.
In my humble opinion, they are using a cerebrally lamed Donald Trump and will discard him as soon as he is no longer of use. If any FOX news commentator is reading this article tell him. No one else will!
Allow me to single out one individual who in my opinion is far more to blame for the decline in civility and rise in negativity we as a nation are experiencing than Donald Trump. His Name – Mitch McConnell.
Why is he more responsible than the President? Because Donald Trump can’t help himself. He has no inner-filter. His feelings of self-worth don’t exist. His actions are reckless, unpredictable and a danger to our country.
MITCH MCCONNELL is the Senate Majority leader. Together with Paul Ryan, he could act if not to restrain Donald Trump, then to mitigate his influence. He could help detoxify the rampant rage ravaging our citizenry” by speaking up and condemning heinous, divisive rhetoric.
He chooses not to do so. For this, I charge him with dereliction of duty and behavior that defines him as morally bereft and unfit to be a member of the United States Senate.
Only when we find leaders on both sides of the aisle willing to sit, talk, compromise and condemn anti-social behavior will we be able to move forward as a nation.
Only when people of conscience are willing to agree to disagree can we achieve progress.
Only when we all are able to communicate openly, to vent our feelings, to be acknowledged and value the rights of others to hold differing opinions will the tenor of hate begin to dissipate.
It will never disappear. That’s the nature of man.
However, we can elevate our discussion, bring more people into the fold and begin to rebuild our society on the basis of respect and dignity for all.
We must do this if our democracy is to survive.
The horrendous killing of 11 people and wounding of six others at the Tree of Life Synagogue was a travesty. Let us try and use this to move forward into the light and create a better and more tolerant world.
At the same time, we must be vigilant and realize that the slogan “Never Again” is not a static one.
Let us respond to all bigotry and hatred in a way that demonstrates our strength and also our conviction and desire to make America a safe haven for all.
Below Bruce Springsteen sings Arlo Guthrie’s song that depicts what America is all about! It’s worth working for!!
Originally published on OpEdNews
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