February 14 marks the one-year anniversary of the school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Florida has a serious gun problem with a total of 51 mass shootings between 2016 and 2018 leaving 118 people dead. Much will be written about the tragic killing of 17 innocent people one year ago. But during Black History Month I ‘m asking you to reflect on another high-profile mass shooting.
The killing was carried out in a place of worship by a white supremacist with expressly hateful feelings toward blacks. Dylann Roof, a self-described white supremacist, said he hoped his 2015 killing of nine parishioners would incite a race war in America.
Some white Christians hold the view that people of faith are under siege while some Evangelicals say they are being persecuted. Perhaps it is their way of shifting the conversation from the fact that there’s this toxic divisive language coming from the leader of our country. The language is effective with those who look to Fox News and the White House to make sense of our changing society.
According to the President, Pro-Trump supporters are the victims, not black Americans who have seen an increase in hate crimes in recent years. Most incidents were motivated by race or ethnicity.
“Both sides” are not responsible for the horrific political terrorism we’ve seen recently. Only the right is to blame starting with the president and complicit enablers in the Republican Party. They’ve been playing with fire and it was inevitable that people would get burned. This is what the president said after innocent worshipers were slaughtered, “There is great anger in our country caused in part by inaccurate and even fraudulent reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open and obvious hostility and report the news accurately and fairly.” Divert, deflect, attack—it’s the only thing he knows how to do. Yet, in focusing our anger on Trump, we let so many other Republicans off the hook.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was invited to the 2018 State of the Union — a Holocaust denier who threatened the life of a black civil rights activist. We are in the midst of a wave of hate crimes and they are clearly linked to the climate of paranoia and racism deliberately fostered by the president and his allies in Congress and the media.
One side of the political spectrum is peddling hatred, while the other isn’t. And refusing to point that out for fear of sounding partisan is, in effect, lending aid and comfort to the people poisoning our politics.
Racists are emboldened, but the forces of democracy are rising too. And it 2018 American voters used their power to do to white nationalists what they feared the most. Replace them.