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Kill for Trump: the Violence Has Only Begun

For weeks, I have feared that someone will be killed at a Trump rally. The violence, the intimidation, and the brawls have escalated, and Americans have begun killing their neighbors because of the racist environment encouraged by conservatives in the country and, most recently, escalated by Donald Trump. The racism against President Obama began on Day One of his first administration and, seven years later, is completely out of control. Moreover, I fear that what we are seeing is a preview of what America will be like should Trump be elected. (For comparison, note the way Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s fascist policies have destabilized Turkey and intimidated the press.)

This past week, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a thirty-nine-year-old man “shot and killed three of his neighbors at point-blank range at an apartment complex on the city’s south side.” All three victims were Puerto-Ricans, American citizens, and Dan J. Popp—after asking where they were from—responded by saying, “Oh, that’s why you don’t speak English. You’re Puerto Rican.” Equally abhorrent were the remarks by John McGraw, the seventy-eight-year-old man who slugged a protester at a Trump rally and afterwards said, “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.” And then he speculated that the protester might be part of ISIS. Such incredible ignorance! Shades of random killings of innocent Americans after 9/11—but no surprise because of increasing racist rhetoric. It should be obvious to any rational person that in an atmosphere of such rabid remarks, violence will find its way, and guns, as always, will expedite the anger, especially now that concealed-carry is permitted in several states.

There are many reasons why Americans should be fearful of a Trump presidency, and the most chilling one is what will happen if the Republican elite thwarts him at the Republican Convention or he loses the general election. His followers are so fanatical that if he does not win the nomination, there will be violence in the streets—not a little, but major violence. Ditto, should he not win the election. I have feared for years that President Obama would be killed while in office. His sin is that he was born black. Should Hillary Clinton become our next president, my fears will only increase. Her sin is that she is female. The Trump fanatics are mostly white males who have been left behind by conservative policies (cutting benefits, thwarting economic growth, closing down the government, shrinking the budget at a time when the population is increasing and aging, the infrastructure is crumbling, and our educational systems have insufficient revenue to do what they need to do). Many of these Trump followers not only loathe Obama (thanks to Fox News and Republican politicians) but women, particularly those who have become educated.

Sadly the people who are the angriest have little understanding of why they no longer have jobs, why they have been left behind. All they know is that Trump is echoing their anger. He has brought out the worst in these people, increased their rage, especially against anyone who is not white.

Be prepared for the worst.

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Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = clarson@american.edu. Twitter @LarsonChuck.

February 19, 2019
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