Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto has one of the hardest jobs in the world right now — consoling and reassuring the people of his city after an attack so horrific it’s hard to imagine how it could happen in 2018. Unfortunately, even though it’s hard to imagine, it certainly isn’t impossible, because impossible is no longer in the vocabulary of violent Donald Trump supporters.
It’s difficult to accept that hate crimes have risen against Muslims and black people, and it’s sickening that crimes against LGBTQ-identifying people have gone up even more than those groups, since the election of Donald Trump.
But anti-Semitic hate crimes have risen perhaps the most of all, going up fifty-seven percent last year over statistics from 2016. FBI statistics show that 20 percent of all hate crimes were religiously motivated and that more than half of those were against Jews.
Against all common sense, when Donald Trump spoke after the shooting, he actually told reporters he felt that if the templegoers had been armed inside their synagogue, they might have prevented the attack from being as bad as it was.
Of course, that completely discounts the fact that it is his own rhetoric that has sparked the rise in hate crimes, and specifically against Jews.
Many people are confused by this because Trump’s own daughter converted to Judaism after marrying Jared Kushner, and Trump has been perhaps more pro-Israel than any President before him. But the people who want to see Trump’s violent rhetoric change the tone in America into something that welcomes their hate are anti-Semites. They are the so-called “Alt-Right” and they are white nationalists, and in many cases, they are actual Nazis.
No, it’s not hyperbole. Using the term Nazi on social media gets a lot of criticism — but it’s a criticism I think might be tempered a little after the mass murder of Jews inside their place of worship by an attacker who specifically cited all of the same things Trump says.
Mayor Peduto is having no part of Trump’s ramping up of the war.
I don’t think that the answer to this problem is solved by having our synagogues, mosques and churches filled with armed guards or our schools filled with armed guards. I think we’re dealing with an irrational person who acted irrationally … We should try to stop irrational behavior from happening at the forefront.”
That means that Trump needs to tone it down and that the Right needs to acknowledge their role in this because this is not a “both sides” issue. There is no equivalent on the left for what is happening among Trump supporters and Republicans who say out loud that they do not want the President to tone it down. Even as we speak, Donald Trump is busy denying that he’s played a role in any of this, blaming the media instead:
The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country. Actually, it is their Fake & Dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
We all must overcome this, and listen to the words of Mayor Peduto: We need to stop the behavior before it starts.
Featured image via screen capture