Hate speech must be spotlighted and condemned

Our blogging friend Jill has written two excellent, but very troubling posts about the existence and danger of hate speech (see links below). Our leaders are too silent on calling out this extreme bigotry and hate. But, more rational heads must put a spotlight on this hate speech and condemn it in the strongest terms. It matters not what your political, religious or demographic group might be. This represents the ugly side of America.

Let me start with the immature and poor judgment of actor Jessie Smollett, who took advantage of the racism that has been associated with a small, but extremely strident group who are tolerated by those who wear MAGA caps. More on this below. The police feel he staged an assault to garner a higher level of income on his TV show. Not only is the idea without merit, it is shameful that he has made a mockery of real racism that is occurring in our country. He has been asked to leave his show and may go to jail.

Unfortunately, this story overshadows two very concerning stories. First, an Alabama newspaper editor named Goodloe Sutton wrote an article calling on the KKK to ride again and take care of what he called liberal socialist Democrats. Here is an excerpt of his hate speech.

“Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again. Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama… This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people. Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there.”

When asked to explain, he said far worse things. This akin to calling fire in a crowded theater. It need only inflame one person to act, which makes the next story even more troubling. The same day I learned of the above article, a Coast Guard Lieutenant named Christopher Paul Hasson, was uncovered as a skin head who was plotting attacks on a list of Democrat leaders and media people. He had an arsenal to conduct such an attack. Here is some of his hate speech:

“Liberalist/globalist ideology is destroying traditional peoples esp white. No way to counteract without violence. It should push for more crack down bringing more people to our side. Much blood will have to be spilled to get whitey off the couch. Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes or any land that despises the west’s liberalism. Excluding of course the muslim scum. Who rightfully despise the west’s liberal degeneracy.”

We should not lose sight of the bombs sent to over a dozen Democrat leaders last fall from a man in Florida. These people are already wound too tight. They don’t need much to instigate hateful action. And, it should be noted those who feel they must fight hate speech with violence are not doing their argument any favors. The Antifa crowd needs to cease any violence. I recognize there is a difference between those who say your rights don’t matter and those who are defending that their rights do, but the latter must not resort to violence.

It is also unfair to paint the Trump base of supporters with a broad brush. Setting aside that all of us are prejudiced to a small extent, Trump supporters should not be labeled racist. With that said, people who are classified as white supremacists, neo-Nazis, skin heads are empowered by the President’s rhetoric and support his efforts. So, to ignore their existence as such is unfair as well.

Right now, there are over 1,000 hate groups in America, the significant majority of which are white supremacists groups. A report on PBS Newshour last night noted that hate crimes have increased over 500% the last two years. By not condemning these groups, they are emboldened to act.

We live in a country where we have freedom of speech. Yet, hate speech is a bridge too far. We cannot condone violence, nor can we can condone inflammatory writing or speech that promotes such. This is well beyond name-calling and labeling.

We must demand our leaders to be our better angels. This is one of my key frustrations with the US President, as his base instinct is to do the opposite of what a real leader would do. But, he is not alone. We need people in leadership roles to spotlight and condemn hate speech and actions. They need to do this loudly and consistently. The President needs to tell some of his extremely strident base to cool their jets. In so doing, he can ask others to do the same.

We must do our part as well. Do not be afraid to call out such hateful behavior. You need not name call or even raise your voice. Just say that kind of verbiage or action is inappropriate, not welcome or does not serve their argument. Civil discourse over issues is our goal and is essential. As an independent voter, I can say without question both political sides have some good ideas and both have bad ideas. Hate speech is mob discourse as it takes those labels and puts violence behind it.

A Renewed Call For Hate???

Dodging Bullets …

11 thoughts on “Hate speech must be spotlighted and condemned

  1. 1’000 hate groups in the US? That is scary. I had no idea. I agree! There must be found clear words. In remaining silently, they get supported and everything gets even worse.

  2. Excellent post, my friend. I think the divisiveness and hate-driven violence is one of the biggest problems in this nation today. I even find myself giving sideways glances to people I see in the grocery store, library or restaurants, wondering if they have a loaded pistol stuck in their belt, just waiting for the right excuse. Many thanks for the links to my posts, also! I appreciate it. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Thanks and thanks for your two excellent posts. I tried to be even handed, but these white supremacist hate groups are not unwelcomed in Trump’s party. He did not invent racism, but he does exploit it.

      • He does, and I think he and his minions find it useful to keep us divided and at odds with one another. Until he goes, i don’t see the chasm narrowing.

      • Jill, agreed. The GOP message for 2020 seems to be the Dems will turn the US into Venezuela. I think the Dems need to focus on what is important. The GOP has a dearth of ideas right now. Divide and conquer is their lone idea. Keith

      • ‘Twould seem you are right. My biggest fear for this election (apart from voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, and Russian involvement, of course) is that the democrats will sink to the level of the republicans and spend their precious time and resources on mud-slinging instead of putting forth their message, their platform, their ideology. We don’t need to get down in the mud and wrestle with these fools!

      • Jill, I fear a diffusion of the message. Job retraining, healthcare, debt reduction, climate change action, infrastructure, etc. should be the focus.

        A first step is for the House to work with the Senate NOW to stabilize the ACA. They campaigned on this issue. Medicare for All is a longer debate, but part of the NOW could be to lower the Medicare retirement age to 62 and measure the impact. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: Shining a spotlight on hate speech is essential. Jill reported today that Goodloe Sutton, the “KKK should ride again” editor has stepped down. Appropriately, an African-American woman will be replacing him. That is progress.

  4. Dear Keith,

    Coast Guard Lieutenant named Christopher Paul Hasson received almost no comment from President Trump. If plans for mass murder are initiated by White American born extremists, the president and his administration can’t be bothered with taking steps to condemn such actions.

    I’ve wondered if the president isn’t actually hoping that there will be an insurrection led by his supporters, if the US House starts ‘impeachment proceedings against him. He is not opposed to the use of violence.

    At least it was a multitude of southern voices that caused the ouster of the Alabama newspaper man, Goodloe Sutton who had inherited the paper from his dad. But his mid February editorial charging that it is “Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” went to far for even Alabama residents.

    As for Jessie Smollett, I’m waiting until all the facts have been uncovered. But if he was responsible for making false claims, then he will pay a price.

    I’m with you that all Dems running for elected office need to focus on bread and butter issues that mean something to average peoples like improving access to affordable quality healthcare, making quality child care programs more affordable, helping students to better afford student loans; raising the minimum wage; addressing head-on climate change issues. I like having the goals listed as there could be many different clever ways to remedy whatever needs fixing.

    Plans like the ‘Green Deal’ and ‘Medicare for All’ plans shut out other even better ideas that exist, even today.

    Hugs, Gronda

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