“Two weeks ago, we witnessed the most deadly anti-Semitic hate crime in American history,” said Anti-Defamation League CEO and National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “Today, we have another FBI study showing a big jump in hate crimes against Americans because of their race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. This report provides further evidence that more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America. That begins with leaders from all walks of life and from all sectors of society forcefully condemning anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate whenever it occurs.”
Greenblatt admonished authorities to fix the spotty reporting system: “It is incumbent on police departments, mayors, governors, and county officials across the country to tally hate crimes data and report it to the FBI. The FBI can only report what the data they receive. We must do more to make sure that cities report credible data.”
President Trump’s apologists deny any connection whatsoever between Trump’s harangues against the so-called caravan and the Pittsburgh slaughter of 11 Jews, whom the alleged murderer said were trying to bring invaders into the country. However, few Americans who are not die-hard Trump cultists would deny that Trump has normalized racist speech, excused white nationalists, — some “fine” people marched in Charlottesville, he insisted — equated immigrants with criminals, identified as a “nationalist” himself and fanned the white grievance syndrome.
However, it is not only Trump who is responsible. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) refused to pass a resolution condemning Trump’s Charlottesville remarks and has refused to kick Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) out of the caucus even though he met with and embraced the views of Austrian neo-Nazis. Holocaust denier Arthur Jones ran under the GOP banner in Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District (he lost, but received 56,000 votes), as did avowed white-supremacist Russell Walker in a race for the North Carolina state House of Representatives. (Walker also lost.) Corey Stewart ran on a race-baiting, anti-immigrant platform in Virginia for the U.S. Senate (again, he lost) and received praise from Trump.
In becoming a nativist party and catering to a segment of the electorate that thinks whites have been persecuted, Republicans have encouraged hate-mongers, anti-Semites and white nationalists to come out in the open. Other factors, including social media, contribute to the problem, but nothing so emboldens racists to express their views in non-peaceful ways than to hear political leaders sound dog whistles — and sometimes bullhorns. The House should hold hearings on the problem, solicit expert advice and — we would hope in conjunction with the Senate — take a zero-tolerance position in their own parties when it comes to noxious bigotry. Republicans’ silence makes them complicit; their unwavering support for Trump makes them morally responsible for the surge in hate crimes.