Words by: Tahyira Savanna
It’s been a full week since President Trump made remarks against four freshman congresswoman notably referred to as the “Squad” via his Twitter feed.
Trump told the four women, who he initially did not name in person, that they should “Go back to where you come from” dismissing the fact that three out of four of them are American born citizens except for Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is a naturalized citizen born in Somalia.
During a rally held in North Carolina last week, Trump did, in fact, name his opponents saying “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I told them I don’t have time to say three names” in which his crowd responded by chanting their anthem “send her back.” The chant is a play on his last election’s campaign against Hillary Clinton where Maga supporters chanted “lock her up.”
The scene is grim, to say the least. The President attempted to walk back the behaviors displayed at the rally saying “I don’t necessarily agree with it, I felt kind of bad about it” but also continued to say “these people love our country.”
The two other congresswomen who won their seats during the midterm elections that are also being attacked is Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ayanna Pressly. The women held a joint news conference days after the President’s racist address in which they denounced his anti-American wording and reminded voters that America has long been a country of immigrants. The message being sent from the Head of State and the GOP is that if you are different then you do not count and that it is ok for others to use harmful language towards you.
Ocasio-Cortez has already been the focal point of online harassment as a Facebook group created by current and ex Border Patrol agents was exposed a few weeks back for inciting rape violence against her. The group has over 10,000 active Facebook members that in some instances have already been traced back to officials, the Department of Homeland Security stated but the true number of conspirators are still inconclusive. An investigation into the Facebook group has been launched.
Today, in Louisiana a police officer has been fired for comments made on his Facebook page towards Ocasio-Cortez. Officer Chris Rispoli stated that the Representative from New York is a “vile idiot” and that “she needs a round,” insinuating that the congresswoman is shot. He was responding to an alleged fake news article that misappropriated a quote to the congresswoman that said: “we pay our soldiers too much.” Ocasio-Cortez responded on her twitter feed by saying: “This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language & threatens elected officials who don’t agree with w/ his political agenda,”. She continued, “It’s authoritarian behavior. The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability.”
The entire “squad” was targeted in yet another recent Facebook post by the Republican County Chairmen’s Association of Illinois, which labeled them the “jihad squad.”
“Political Jihad is their game,” the since-deleted post read. “If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology you’re racist.”
The response from Trump’s party has been relatively unacceptable. It is no longer okay or safe for those who hold public positions and have taken an oath to uphold American values, remain passive about circumstances of bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, and racism. We have continually thrashed into this hatred filled underbelly that will be marked in history by this Administration and those who chose to stay quiet about it. The GOP is afraid to over analyze any statements made by the President on Twitter for one big reason. They know that many of their constituents might feel the same way; which is a much sadder case. With the demographics of the U.S. shifting away from Whites being the majority race, the response to fear has increased attacks not only against Democrats who are non-White but also in communities where black and brown people live. The mainstream media has a job to do as well. As they continue to promote the fact that we are not as divided as we seem, the amount of support drawn from Trump’s racist rants tell a different story.
Do you feel safe in your community as it pertains to racial attacks?