United States of Hate

image

If I were in a more forgiving mood today, I might feel sorry for the Trump Hate Brigade, caught as they are on the horns of a dilemma. Should they be happy or sad about the massacre in Orlando?

Latino gay people were killed (hooray, they had it coming) by an assault weapon (hooray, every citizen has the right to buy military grade weapons to protect themselves from those they hate) by a Muslim pledging allegiance to ISIS (hideous, all Muslims are terrorists). How is the Trump Hate Brigade supposed to feel when the people they hate are killed by other people they hate? See what I mean about the dilemma?

A dilemma for the Trump Hate Brigade: how should they feel when people they hate are killed by other people they hate?

The Trump Hate Brigade should figure it out now, since in the United States of Hate, promoted by Hater-in-Chief Donald Trump, such dilemmas will become more commonplace. If you’re supposed to hate the Muslims, and the Jews, and the Latinos, and the disabled, and anyone who isn’t exactly like you, it’s inevitable that people you hate will kill other people you hate before you get around to doing it (or condone doing it).

That’s what happens when people give power to those who rule by stoking fear. The motto of rational thought was issued by Descartes hundreds of years ago: “I think, therefore I am.” The motto of The Hater-in-Chief and his followers ought to be: “I hate, therefore I am.”

The ultimate irony, of course, it that the Trump Hate Brigade has far more in common with the Muslim terrorist they condemn than they do with the Latino gay people who were killed. The club-goers were simply trying to live their lives while allowing others to live theirs. The Muslim terrorist hated gay people because they offended his religious sensibilities, so he killed them. How is that any different from the North Carolina legislators who hate transgender people because they offend their religious sensibilities? It isn’t.

The Trump Hate Brigade hate Latinos whom they suspect of stealing their jobs so they want to build a wall and keep them out; they hate Muslims as terrorists so they want to keep them out; some of the men hate women so they mock them in the crudest possible terms; they hate Jews whom they suspect as being more successful than themselves so they threaten them with pictures of ovens. Make no mistake, building a wall is not the same thing as murdering people, but we must never forget that murdering people often follows building walls to keep them out.

Hate leads to murder as night follows day. That’s why it’s critical to confront hate wherever and whenever we see it. That’s why it is crucial to ban discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference. That is why it is imperative that we DON’T built walls, and we DON’T keep people out of this country on the basis of race or religious belief.

The United States of America was built on the principle that ALL men (and now women) are created equal and all are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. The Declaration of Independence deliberately does not specify the race, religion or sexual preference of citizens; anyone can be a citizen.

If Trump has his way The United States of America will die, to be replaced by The United States of Hate where straight, white men are full citizens and everyone else has fewer rights or no rights at all.

Trump claims that he is not a racist, not a misogynist, not homophobic. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true; his emotional range seems to extend only from unmerited self-regard all the way to full-blown narcissism. It may be that he has no emotional band width left for any other hateful “-isms.” But he is well aware that his chief appeal for many of his followers reflects his effort to make the US safe for hate again; he plays to that, deliberately praising violence and refusing to condemn the ugly behavior of his followers.

Trump used this tragedy to praise himself for recognizing the threat of Islamic terrorism, as if the rest of us hadn’t noticed or cared about the deaths of those who died on 9/11 and in subsequent terror attacks. But he has far more in common with the terrorists than he would ever understand. When you encourage hate, you encourage terrorism.

Today gay people were murdered. True, it happened at the hands of a Muslim terrorist, but it wasn’t the fact that he was Muslim or declared allegiance to ISIS that made him attack gay people. It was hate officially sanctioned by religious authorities, Christian as well as Muslim, American as well as Arab.

Tomorrow it could be another despised group, and hate will be the cause.

This election is going to be a referendum on whether we want to continue to base our country on the values of healers like Washington and Lincoln or haters like Joe McCarthy. I love the United States of America precisely because our principles are the highest moral principles of freedom and justice. It would be a tragedy of extraordinary proportions if we allow Donald Trump to create The United States of Hate.

  • CanDoc

    Well said. Terrifying. “But he is well aware that his chief appeal for many of his followers reflects his effort to make the US safe for hate again…”

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    What happened at Pulse may have more to do with hate of LGBTQ folks than any religious ideology. The amateur psychologist in me wondered from the start if this attack was the result of repression of the killer’s own same sex sexuality.
    Reports are now surfacing that he attempted gay relationships as far back as high school and that he was a frequent patron over a 3 year period at Pulse.
    This looks far more like an outburst related to self hate and sexual repression. The killer just happened to be Muslim.

    • guest

      I still wonder, though, to what extent we should hold religions culpable for creating and nurturing this form of hatred. The Catholic church ostensibly teaches that homosexuals be treated with compassion, but they still discriminate, and *individual parishes* take more or less progressive views. I also feel like if historically your organization was involved in creating a hatred that has become cultural (rather than simply religious) you have an ethical obligation to actively work to correct the damage your institution did in the past. And a few members of the Catholic church do. The current pope, however, isn’t doing nearly enough on that front. His baby steps are an affront in the face of a massacre like Pulse.

      • Who?

        I feel like blaming religion denies a person’s free will to make decisions for themselves. We end up in discussions about whether this fellow was a zealot, a closeted gay man, or a mentally ill person. None of it really matters. Billions of people every day who fit into one or some of those categories manage to not kill others.

        As for the institutions, they will change as their members do, or their members will leave and the institutions will wither and die. A number of my friends are devout catholics, but none of their children are. And that’s quite a few kids that once would have been keen parishioners, but are now, having grown up in that world, walking away. My friends don’t even seem to mind, which I find extraordinary, as I know they would have expected the kids to follow them, as they followed their parents.

  • Carolina

    I was at a lovely wedding of two beautiful women Saturday night. I wake to this news Sunday morning. It is just shattering.

  • BeatriceC

    I really have no words. This is hitting my own family is a way that’s a bit more difficult than many. While nobody I know was physically there, my step-daughter and her wife are part of the LGBTQ community. My heart breaks not only for the people who were at the club, their families and their community, but for my step-daughter-in-law, who’s a gentle soul and is struggling with this horrible attack on her extremely extended family, as she called them in her Facebook post this morning. I just want to gather up as many people as I can and give them all a huge hug.

    • Gatita

      I’m not sure what my son’s sexual orientation is but I do know that he doesn’t conform to people’s expectations around behavior for little boys. He has crushes on “beautiful girls” and has already had his first kiss, but also loves the color pink, enjoys wearing my jewelry and plays with both boy and girl themed toys. I’m completely heartbroken and sick to my stomach that someone would want to murder my little boy simply because he doesn’t fit inside the gender box society dictates for him. Plus I have gay and bisexual friends who are wonderful people and goddammit. Why are people so enraged and frightened by this?

      • Mishimoo

        100% this. My little boy had a cold and was running around in pink pjs most of the day. He wears make-up and asks for my jewellery, he runs around in his sister’s outgrown shoes (mortifying my homophobic mother at a recent lunch because he was rocking pink ballet flats), and plays with whatever toys he feels like. His sisters also don’t fit into traditional gender roles and never have: they’d much rather play dinosaurs than just about anything else. My cousin married her lovely wife as part of the Eurovision fuck-you to Russia, I’m looking forward to some of my friends being allowed to get married because dammit they’re awesome together, and some of my best friends are transgender. The thought that people might hate them and want to kill them just for being themselves makes me furious. No one deserves to be treated like this, especially not for LOVING someone/s.

  • Ishfaq Malik

    In fairness Trump has avoided directing hate to the LGB community and to the Jewish community. He knows there are some targets he must avoid or he’ll get broader opprobrium. It’s a sign that he is actually cunning and makes him more terrifying in my opinion.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Not really. Did you miss the ((( ))) thing? Or his ambiguous statements on the “bathroom laws”? He’s encouraging hate against the LGBT and Jewish communities as well, just not quite as loudly as he is encouraging hate against the Latino and Islamic communities.

      • Ishfaq Malik

        I omitted the T off LGBT on purpose. Transgender people seem to be fair game in the US at the moment. I also kind of missed the ((())) thing so on your advice, I’ll look it up.

        Also, I live in the UK, so while I take and interest in the primaries across the pond, I’m not enmeshed in it.

        I’ll happily (on not in this case as it’s an increase in hate) be corrected if I was wrong.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          I can’t say I’m happy to correct you given that my correction is going in the direction of Trump being even worse than you think.

          I can’t think of any anti-LGB statements from Trump right off, but I’m not sure if that’s because he hasn’t made any or because I haven’t been paying that close attention. Unfortunately, I think you’re right about trans people in the US right now. It’s a disaster.

        • Maya Markova

          Some lesbians are strongly against letting trans women with male genitalia in female bathrooms.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Yes, some lesbians are assholes.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    It’s not a dilemma: expediency will win out and expediency says that they must condemn…Muslims. The Trumpites will suddenly discover how much they really love LGBT people in the aftermath of this attack. They’ll try to totally forget the whole “Latino” issue, because that won’t fit their narrative, but they can even love Latinos, briefly, if they need to. So they’ll be all about how good LGBT people have it in the US, how there’s very little discrimination and shouldn’t LGBT people be happy to live in the US where they can get married* and face practically no discrimination?

    It’s like the way Dubya suddenly discovered that he was a feminist when he needed an excuse to invade Afghanistan–such a sexist place–or how politicians want to ban the hijab because it’s sexist for women to have to cover their bodies, even though they’ll then turn around and say that women who wear less are “asking for it” if they get raped.

    Trump, I’m sure, is happy that this happened. It gives him an excuse to ratchet up the anti-Islamic rhetoric and, completely illogically since the perpetrator was a US born US citizen, the anti-immigrant rhetoric. And the gun lobby is highly experienced and skilled at deflecting blame from themselves. It wasn’t the guns, it was the religion. If only there had been a “good guy with a gun” to stop him**, etc. If the US didn’t ban assault rifles after 20+ primary school children were massacred, they’re not going to do so for a few foreign queers***.

    *Yes, I know, but they’ve forgotten how much they struggled to make that impossible now.
    **Oh, oops! There were armed people at the club. They only made matters worse.
    ***Not that I’m in a bitter mood or anything.

  • guest

    I am a little confused by the attacker’s father’s claim that the killings weren’t motivated by religion, but by the fact that he witnessed a gay couple kissing in public. Okay, but what made him feel so uncomfortable about that? Not all muslims are homophobic, obviously, but neither all all Christians: that doesn’t mean religion isn’t the reason why those who are homophobic are that way. (I was raised in a Christian parish that taught me it was a sin, and the first time I saw a gay couple kissing it was intensely uncomfortable – it makes me angry to remember it, because I was taught this by my religion [not even my parents, who simply didn’t mention homosexuality, ever]. Religions do teach homophobia. Certain ultra-conservative Christians are fostering domestic terrorism against abortion clinics and members of the LBGTQIAPK community and they’re always trying to act like “oh no, we didn’t tell our members to KILL anyone* but they still taught them to hate and fear. I know, because I was there. I went to college and I grew as a person and I no longer feel that way, but I wasn’t born with that discomfort in me. It was put there by my religion.)

    • Who?

      My dad’s an atheist and he finds expressions of affection in public embarrassing and awkward, unless maybe child (as in infant) and parent. He acknowledges that is his hangup, and would no more call someone out on it, let alone shoot them for it, than fly to the moon. He also wouldn’t ban public displays, he just doesn’t like watching. So he doesn’t.

      We are all different. Some people are fine with that, others not.

      Many Australians who hate Muslims have never met one, and I’d guess many Americans with the same feelings would be in the same situation. Hating gays is probably the same, though there it would be ‘have never knowingly met one’.

      • Yes, I believe it’s much the same in the US. I know a lot of people who casually talk about how terrible all Muslims are or how they need to all be deported in public. On Facebook. In restaurants.

        Speaking up to defend a billion individuals and insist that they are, in fact, not all monsters just gets me shouted down, and I don’t try. I can’t argue with pure illogic and fear.

        • LaMont

          I’m in a far-left bubble of the US, so I get the opposite – trying to mention how religion steeps people in hateful ideology and perpetuates homophobia/sexism/etc. (even if it doesn’t cause it) gets me shouted down as pro-gun (I’m not), anti-Muslim (I blame Christianity for all homegrown hate, pretty much), and anti-freedom (go nuts praying if you want, I just think we need to take our morality from modernity). It’s exhausting.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Atheism also doesn’t teach you to hate public affection.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      My impression is that this is a case where religion was used as an excuse for homophobia rather than being the cause of the homophobia. He was, for whatever reason, uncomfortable with two men kissing and that led him to act out violently. Religion provided him with an excuse. If he had been an atheist he might have gone on about evolution and the “unnaturalness” of homosexuality or some other nonsense.

      Many religions, including many (but not all) Islamic and Christian sects, do teach homophobia. But you get out of religion what you want. He wanted an excuse to kill and he got one. Another person might want an “excuse” to help people who are in need and use their religion as an excuse to illegally feed the homeless. (Yes, that’s illegal in some places. Some do it anyway, sometimes inspired by religion.) In the end, it’s just a matter of being a good person, whatever your inspiration.

      • Daleth

        My impression is that this is a case where religion was used as an excuse for homophobia rather than being the cause of the homophobia.

        How can you separate the cause from the excuse in the case of a person who was raised from birth in a homophobic religion?

        • LaMont

          If people were just looking for an excuse to be homophobic, we’d see equal rates of homophobia among the nonreligious, and a major secular push to oppress the LGBT population. Religion need not be the cause of all bad ideas to disproportionately perpetuate bad ideas. Especially since people wrote this down millennia ago and still use the same books for moral instruction.

          On the whole, good people will do good, bad people will do bad. But when you’re teaching people from ancient immoral books, you’re going to trip up some good people and convince them to do some bad based on outdated rules. I’m really happy most religious people don’t get tripped up, but it’s not illogical to follow the rules you’ve been taught. I’m only so touchy about this because mainstream religion gets such a *pass* from moral, liberal people and I can’t really understand why. (And extremist religion gets “No True Scotsman”ed out with “that’s not Christian” or “that’s not Muslim” when it is!)

          • guest

            This. I know lots of lovely religious folk, but I now consider myself an atheist, and I’m confused about why we keep giving religions a pass (not the “big” versions of a religion, necessary, but the specific parishes and sects that *are* condoning hate).

          • T.

            Equivalent of upvote when not logged in. So much this.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          In this case, I’d say it’s an excuse because his family, at least per his father’s interview with the Guardian was not particularly religious. The equivalent of Christians who go to mass on Easter and Christmas and sleep late other Sundays. Also, he appears to have claimed allegiance to multiple radical Islamic groups that oppose each other. So it’s sort of like a Christian radical wannabe shooting people for the Queen and the IRA. He’s not a well connected terrorist. He’s a wannabe terrorist. He found a button to push and he pushed it, but his only obvious motive was the desire to do violence.

          • demodocus

            His ex seems to think he was genuinely certifiable.

    • RMY

      Some homophobia is motivated by misogyny (disliking seeing men in any way that can be considered feminine), not religion. Those homophobes tend to react more strongly to gay men than lesbians.

  • Nick Sanders

    An acquaintance of mine wrote this in response to the tragedy, and I feel it should be spread as far as possible:

    https://makeothersuncomfortable.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/dont-send-your-prayers/

    • Who?

      Apt. And lovely.

    • Roadstergal

      This.

  • Wait…What??

    The shooter was a registered Democrat. I agree with what you say, but more than likely he was not a Trump supporter.

    • Nick Sanders

      I didn’t see any claim that he was a Trump supporter.

    • Who?

      Sure. Hardly matters now. He has murdered more people than any other person in the history of the US. He did it with guns he walked into a shop and bought, and committed no crime until he shot the first of his victims.

      He’ll be used by Trump as a poster boy for forced removal, incarceration of anyone he doesn’t care for the look of, and who knows what else. Trump’s rhetoric has already started. His speech tomorrow will be a treat.

      He’ll be used by the NRA as a reason why more Americans should arm themselves. I’m just waiting for them to get up and rip into Pres Obama for mentioning gun laws ‘at this difficult time’.

      He’s helped the hateful, fearful and angry end of the US political right a lot today, whoever he was registered with.

      • Medwife

        He apparently beat his ex-wife, but her family rescued her and they kept the whole thing on the down low. So he did commit crimes, just wasn’t held responsible for it.

    • Gatita

      There are registered Democrats who are choosing to vote for over Hillary because their favored candidate, Bernie Sanders comma isn’t getting the nomination. I think it’s insane but they’re out there. It’s the Bernie or bust crowd.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        It’s not all the “Bernie or bust” crowd (which I think is pretty small.) Some of them are just Archie Bunker-type “Reagan Democrats.” That’s especially true in the Rust Belt, where he’s popular and where I grew up.

        • Who?

          So interesting-it’s a big country.

    • Box of Salt

      Does it matter how he was registered to vote?

      He’s a shooter, with no regard for others.

      That’s the only thing that matters.

  • demodocus

    Presidential candidates never lack for ego, but that guy always struck me as taking the cake. His campaign seems to breed violence among both his supporters and detractors. Few clevelanders i know want to be anywhere near the convention that week, liberals and conservatives alike.

    It’s so sad, all those mostly young people out having a good time and this other (likely young) person who was so blind. Fundamentalists of any stripe scare me because its so easy to step over the line between condescension and actually hurting others..

    • Who?

      I think his ego is in fact very fragile-look how petulant he gets when someone disagrees with him or calls him on his nonsense.

      And what is with his constant refrain: ‘disgusting’-he’s got some pretty messed up stuff going on in that orange beachball head of his.

      • demodocus

        oh, i agree. The never-ending refrain of “I’m a winner and everybody else are liars and losers” is a clue. That pants-on-fire political site usually rates him somewhere around self-immolation, but they’re probably a media conspiracy or something.

    • Maya Markova

      I do not see why Trump is dragged into the Orlando affair at all. The murderer, while technically an American, identified with another country (ranted that the USA were attacking “his” country) and pledged allegiance to people who throw gays off buildings thousands of miles away from the USA. There may be much hate in the United States, but this particular brand was imported.

      • An Actual Attorney

        I realize that you are not American, so you may not have followed the news about this closely. But this shooter was not “technically” an American, he was an American. Full stop. He was not closely identified to the country of his ancestors. While Trump disgustingly tweeted out congratulations to himself, there is nothing to suggest that this had anything to do with ISIS. The shooter claimed allegiance to IS, but that seems more and more like a distraction said by a very disturbed closeted man with access to high powered weaponry.