By Sofia Reyes
In the year of 2016, we live in a world where terrorist attacks, police brutality, hate crimes and sexual assaults are daily discussion topics. Our society, along with the world, now accepts violence as a means of human improvement. As a result the growing aggression of the American political scene has become an acceptable factor to our “progressive” society.
Recently, American political leaders have become more hostile. This has been reflected in the countless acts of verbal and physical attacks since June of 2015, the start of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Documentation of this quick escalation of violence—crowds of voters shouting discriminating slurs and engaging in physical combat—are direct examples of aggression spurred by the violent rhetoric of presidential candidates.
President-elect Donald J. Trump has been especially notorious for outright statements reminiscing on the old days when a, “[a disruptive protester] would be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” Trump said this while speaking to supporters at a Nevada rally in February of 2016.
Each candidate has focused on attacking their opponents within and outside of their parties. Candidates have questioned stances on political issues, past affairs, private lives and even created rumors; all aiming to degrade their opponents. The Republican party has seen some of the worst attacks against fellow candidates.
During the ninth Republican party debate Trump attacked presidential nominee Jeb Bush in personal terms blaming his brother, former President George W. Bush for the destruction of the World Trade Center towers.
During a telephone interview Trump accused the Texas senator and presidential nominee Ted Cruz’s father of being involved in John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Cruz assertively responded by calling Trump a sniveling coward, serial philanderer and pathological liar.
Former Secretary of State and Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also shared in attacks against Trump mocking his tax returns and stating, “what kind of a genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?” Clinton said.
Some individuals may believe these methods are justified, because politics is war. And in a war where the stakes are high, politicians must use any method possible in order to win their battles and gain power. However when politicians resort to publically humiliating opponents in order to gain support, it begins to manifest themselves as bullies. The political leaders of this generation have therefore made animosity acceptable.
According to the Cable News Network the Southern Poverty Law Center has counted more than 300 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the US since Election Day. Both anti-Trump and pro-Trump supporters have been the perpetrators of these crimes.
On Nov. 14 an Ohio State student was arrested for shoving an anti-Trump protestor down a flight of stairs.
Numerous anti-semitic and white supremacist graffiti has appeared in public domains, along with threats against muslims made by pro-Trump supporters.
Anti-Trumpists have also resorted to violence as a Caucasian male in Chicago was robbed and beaten by a group of African Americans heard in captured footage yelling ‘don’t vote Trump.’
Regardless of whether the offenses were carried out by pro-Trump or anti-Trump supporters, it is obvious that individuals resorted to a means of violence in order to express their agitation.These remarks call into question the true moralistic valor of Americans as many citizens have been revealed to agree with segregated sentiment.
People no longer seem to see the importance of decency and political correctness, especially necessary in the public realm. Instead America now blatantly disregards fellow citizens emotions and safety. Although it is respectable for each person to hold their own opinions and political allegiances, looking at methods of dividing in order to establish one ideology as supreme is not.
Although our country is currently in the wake of a great ideological and political shift, people should not look to violence as a method of solving our problems. Leaders must start leading justly and citizens must start respecting in order to make treu steps toward resolutions. Together as a nation we should not lower ourselves to the same level as the bully because America needs hope, not war.