The four congresswomen he targeted represent the best of America
We are witnessing a president who uses racially charged — i.e.racist — tweets and rhetoric to control opinion. To control crowds. To incite hate. This week we saw him speak about the four freshman Congresswomen (known affectionately as “the squad”) using a racist trope: “go back to where you come from.” This rhetoric is widely agreed to be racist and has a dark history of being used to spread racism. This is beyond the fact that these four women are Americans, three of them born in this country. The US Representatives are: Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Rep Omar was born in Mogudishu and is now a naturalized citizen. I drew the above sketch on my phone during their recent press conference when they responded to the president.
It is the color of their skin that is what our president takes issue with, and by insinuating they are not “from here,” he is casting them as “other.” I am told and have read that people of color constantly have to deal with others telling them to “go back to their country,” implying that they do not belong here because of the color of their skin. They are outsiders and are being made to feel like they don’t “fit in.”
The President is also using dangerous rhetoric to attempt to control the way Americans think about our government. In recent statements, he claims that because these four women criticize our governement, that means they don’t love our country. They criticize our president, so he invites them to leave: “If they don’t like it, let ’em leave, let ’em leave.” Do you see him telling Bernie Sanders to “leave, go back to where you’re from?” Sanders is constantly criticizing, but because he’s white and male, it’s okay. Criticism of our government and our president — no matter who he or she is — is a right that every American has.
“You can’t talk that way about our country. Not when I’m president,” Trump said. “These women have said horrible things about our country and the people of our country.” (AP News)
Trump’s insinuating and racist statements are dangerous.
At his most recent rally in Greenville, NC, as Trump spoke about the four congresswomen, Rep. Ilhan Omar in particular, the assembled crowd began to chant, “Send her back, send her back.” Trump stopped speaking and stood to listen for 13 seconds as they chanted the hate. Later the next day at a press conference, the president said he tried to stop them. He did not.
Then, in a reversal just yesterday, Trump now praises the people at the rally, and believes they were “patriots.”
This is all an attempt to manipulate the news cycle and fire up his base. I drew this cartoon gif yesterday in an attempt to show what I believe is happening at his rallies. Last night, I listened to veteran journalist Bob Woodward on PBS’s Washington Week. When asked about the Trump rallies, the first thing Woodward said is that this is about hate.
That’s what it is and we have to stop it. This is modern McCarthyism.
What I didn’t draw in this gif, but perhaps should have, is that after the chanting, after hearing Trump’s insinuations, the assembled crowd would perhaps leave the rally and go spread the hate. They may not intend to, but the words of the president along with the group-think of a large crowd, would be internalized. And this is how hate would/could become normal and acceptable. And people of color would be in danger, more so than before.
And the right to criticize our government — a backbone of our democracy — is in danger.