At what point are the things people say considered hate speech? At what point does free speech turn into inciting violence? Does it require a call to action, a demand or line of logic professed that can lead to no other conclusion than that the listener perform some violent act against a group or people or a person? We have all heard the famous “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” unless there is actually a fire. The reasoning being that it could, and likely will, incite panic and lead to injuries, and possibly death. By that same token if I state all the ills of society are caused by left handed people and suggest that we need to fear left handed people to the point of tracking them and labeling them and in some cases eradicating them from our society have I not expressed a call to action? Or have I merely expressed opinion which is legal in a free society?
Many in society today stand by the notion that people get angry, or offended, or call hate speech that which is merely truth. It sounds good on paper but truth is a subjective thing. What is truth to one human is often not to many others. I can get behind the notion that we, as a nation, do not have to agree with what someone says but we still must stand by their right to say it. Freedom is not freedom unless it applies to everyone, regardless of your approval. But when these truths are easily proven to be lies does this change things? After all the debates of the presidential candidates there is a fact check frenzy. many of the things said at each of the GOP debates are proven to be blatantly, obviously, false. Many of these same things are inflammatory, and hateful.
The candidates for the republican nomination to president of the United States are walking this line to rise in the polls as I see it. Donald Trump is currently the most egregious of the offenders. Trump, early on in his campaign, began by telling his followers that Mexicans in America were rapists, drug dealers, and murders. He has followed saying illegal aliens from Mexico were going to be rounded up en masse, along with legal American Latino citizens, and be deported. He has said he would create a database and track Muslims in America, citizens or not. These statements are designed solely to garner popularity in the polls.
I will admit that these are not entirely new sentiments in the right wing conservative christian view but soon after this rhetoric began to flow from the Donald a homeless Latino man was assaulted by two Trump followers. Trump’s reaction was to say “my people are passionate.” This, however, was not the last incident as Trump followers have assaulted 2 other Latinos at rallys to varying degrees and tore up the sign of another Latino protester. To add to that trump told security to remove a man from the Black Lives Matter movement that was making too much noise and his people knocked him down and began kicking him. Trump later suggested the man deserved being roughed up.
Trump knows if he is perceived in any way as defending the people he has demonized, the ones that are being attacked, he risks losing his following. His support is dependent on maintaining this radical persona. This stand against the Muslims, the Mexicans, and the freeloaders is an image he has used to his advantage to stay ahead in the polls. He is, in my opinion, smart enough to know where his popularity comes from but, also in my opinion, he is dumb enough that he does not truly understand the real mindset of the people he is playing with.
This should be no real surprise as Trump has always been wealthy. he has never counted these people among his friends or acquaintances. Even on his reality show “The Apprentice” he brings in celebrities and people of some means. he does not bring in people off the street that could really use a break or a job in his industry. Poor people do not garner ratings and he really wouldn’t like them anyway.
These people though, not all of them, in fact, not even most of them, but, some of these people are of a mindset that words like those Trump uses are a call to action. The rhetoric they have been sold by the far right has been heating things up, making these people angry and scared. The careful manipulation of information by the likes of Fox News and Trump is then designed to support their respective agendas. Trumps agenda is to get elected at any cost. He has told you already that to do otherwise would make him a loser and, he says, he is not one of those.
In order to win though he is preaching hate to people already there. He is pointing fingers at groups of humans and certain humans in particular. He is pointing fingers of blame to hate infused people that are the primary gun loving Americans among us. Some of these people are also already very much mentally ill and easily manipulated. It should be no surprise that violence then ensues. It has already occurred and will continue to do so.
Hate speech or not these “truths” the Donald spouts are creating actions. They have jumped into the realm of inciting people to action. This may then be construed as illegal.
We cannot possibly hope to stop Trump and the right wing from spewing this rhetoric. therefore we cannot head off the violence. All we can do is wait till it happens unless. Unless someone tries to hold them responsible for the outcome of this hate speech. I can’t imagine anyone doing this, and if they did I cannot imagine them winning. However, it would be nice to see someone try for once.