Turn down the hate

Turn down the hate

In Kankakee, Illinois, a local school employee is on paid leave after a political photo was posted on his Facebook Timeline. Dr. Genevra Walters, Superintendent of Schools for Kankakee School District 111, in collaboration with the Teacher’s Union, had a presentation to the staff about the inappropriate use of social media in the wake of the election.

The presenters collected postings from Facebook that were inappropriate from the left and from the right. One of the images depicted Barack Obama’s image from a campaign poster, with a noose around his neck. Another image on the same posting depicted Hillary Clinton with a noose around her neck. The meme copy made references to hanging people for treason.

The exercise was designed to give staff ideas for teachable moments with students about our responsibilities as citizens and as an effort to combat the political hate that seems to grow daily.

According to census figures, the racial composition of the City of Kankakee is 40% White, 37.5% African-American and 2.5% mixed race. The image of an African American with a rope around his neck didn’t sit well with residents.

It would be easier to understand this continued hate spewing had Donald Trump lost, but he won, and the intensity and frequency of racial/ethnic/religious hate have increased to four times the normal rates, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center who keeps statistics on racial and ethnic hate.

What is frightening is the number is greatly understated since most of these types of incidents go unreported.

The reality is America has elected a racist as President. His comments in the campaign as well as his prosecutions for violating the Civil Rights Act, and fair housing laws, along with his comments about Blacks handling his money, have shown he is a racist.  What are we to expect from his supporters if Mr. Trump is a racist? They take their cue from him. Based on his behavior and rhetoric, it is OK to spew racial and ethnic hate.

It is not just the Tea Party and Alt-Right that has a tradition of hate spewing. The left also has its hall of shame in that department.

Lately, I’ve seen more of Melania Trump than I care to see and I mean that literally. She was a model before she married Donald Trump and often models do nude photo shoots. Some of her photos have been taken off the internet and turned into memes mocking her as the Future First Lady. Unprecedented some of the memes proclaim, that the wife of a Head of State would have such photos.

Really? Unprecedented? I don’t think so. Who here remembers Carla Bruni, the wife of the former President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy. Google her name and “nude” sometime, and see what you come up with. That is the modern entertainment industry and her having done nude photos have not one thing to do with being First Lady. We need to lay off the families. I find it amazing how quickly the left forgot how they were upset when Michelle Obama was ridiculed.

The ridicule is continuing long after the election. We need to put it away and put it away for good. It is not humor to talk about someone having an extra chromosome, which is what causes Down Syndrome.  Making a reference to a political person you don’t like using that kind of language is mocking those with a disability. The left made a big deal of Mr. Trump mocking a reporter with a disability, yet the extra chromosome comment didn’t come from Mr. Trump or the right. It came from the left.

We seem to be regressing and getting more hateful. I’m not going to blame Facebook, it is just the method hateful people use to spew venom. While social media may allow people to work themselves up into a frenzy, it comes down to a personal choice. Are you going to choose hate? That is the big question.

We can speak out against all the hate spewing but it gets down to a personal choice. It is also a matter of condoning that kind of behavior on social media. Never forget, silence is consent, and if you see these kinds of posts and just let them go by, then it is consent. What can you do? Speak up and unfriend people. Have no time for the bomb throwers.

I took that approach a few years ago and trimmed my friend’s list from 5,000 to 2500. I also got rid of the memes that ridiculed The President and those with whom I disagree personally.

You know, if someone does not agree with your political position it is not treason, I hate to tell you. It is also not treason because some news report says it is treason. Treason is very specific and rare. There have only been 13 trials for Treason in the USA and one of the 13, against John Brown who was fighting against slavery, was outright racist. Stow the treason rhetoric unless you personally work for the US Department of Justice as an attorney, and you personally are bringing a case against a fellow American for treason. If you don’t fit the criteria I listed, then you are just spewing hate.

In his 60 Minutes interview last Sunday, Donald Trump looked directly into the camera and told his supporters to knock it off. It appears they were not listening.

To my fellow Hillary supporters, some of you need to knock it off too. Spewing hate gets us nowhere.

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