The events of this week are shocking, but not surprising. A white supremacist mailed pipe bombs to CNN and prominent Democrats demonized by Donald Trump and the propaganda machine that is Fox News. A racist white man killed two African Americans in a grocery store after he failed to barge into a black church on a murderous mission. And yesterday, 11 people were killed and others wounded by yet another crazed individual armed with an assault weapon in an attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Make no mistake, fear and hatred fuels violence. Hate is the currency of tyrants. Trump and the right wing media have whipped up the Republican “base” to believe that group of Central American migrants making their way to America are some sort of massive threat. It’s a fake crisis to distract voters before a vital election. But it also led the crazed anti-semite to murder innocents because he connected them to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS, a humanitarian nonprofit group that assists refugees.
Incredibly, Trump’s response has been to blame the media and Democrats for the rising tide of hate. It’s easy to hate Trump, and it’s easy to hate the bigotry we’re exposed to on social media and in our community. But as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “hate begets hate and violence begets violence.”
We simply can’t afford to hate our political opponents. The fascist playbook calls for dividing and conquering the public by having them highlight, fear and despise differences. We must find common ground and remind ourselves of our shared values. As Dr. King put it: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Understanding begins with listening.
What Are We to Do Now?
Be ever vigilant on social media of stories that get your blood boiling about the stupidity of racists, bigots, and hate mongers. It’s a fact that the Russians meddling in our elections created created fake accounts and promoted stories to BOTH conservatives and liberals. For examples, to liberals they pushed stories of police brutality against black lives, and to conservatives, they pushed stories of black on white crime and MS13 gang brutality.
Study and understand how propaganda works, and leverage media and the arts for the common good. The United States Holocaust Museum in Washington DC has an online exhibit that is an excellent learning resource. Let’s promote positive symbols of love, compassion and empathy.
Support groups that are working to help people in need around the world and right here in America. The list is long, so this is just a starting point. Leave your suggestions in comments.
- Southern Poverty Law Center, researching hate groups.
- ACLU fighting in the courts
- Amnesty International fighting for human rights wordwide
- Doctors Without Borders helping refugees and asylum seekers
- HIAS helping migrants and refugees
- RAICES helping migrants in Texas
- Anti Defamation League
There is a fund started by Muslims for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. It is has raised $80K with a goal of raising 100K. Check it out here.
Display a Hate Has No Home Here sign in your yard or window or get a bumper sticker. Gary Auerbach tells of an immigrant woman who knocked on his door because of the yard sign and said it made her feel safe to see that a neighbor had it. Should Indivisible Winchester try to order 100 signs?
Think about the compassionate loving people you admire and try to emulate them. Mr. Fred Rogers is one of my heroes. He said, “look for the helpers (youtube)”. Share good news. Pastor Randy Tremba who recently retired from a 41-year ministry in Shepherdstown, WV started the Good News weekly newspaper in that town because he felt people need to be reminded of good news. We need good news now more than ever, so be sure to share stories of love and understanding when you can. Randy always said simply, “God is Love.”
Indivisible Winchester is committed to combatting hatred where we live by promoting dialogue, fairness, transparency, hope, compassion and fearlessness. We’re strong together.
Caption for photo above: A young boy holds a sign at the intersection of Murray Ave. and Forbes Ave. in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh during a memorial vigil for the victims of the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue where a shooter opened fire, killing multiple people and wounding others, including several police officers, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)