Dimitri Koufis, Class of 2018
“Our unity cannot be shattered by evil,” President Trump stated in the aftermath of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. “In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one.”
These consoling words came from the mouth of a man who has stood on a platform of anger and strife.
The United States has endured a week of mayhem and grief after three major hurricanes and the deadliest mass shooting in US history. Now is the time for unity more than ever, but the words of a man who consistently incites division only perverts the entire concept of unity.
The day before the tragedy in Las Vegas, Trump tweeted about the mayor of San Juan.
“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They…want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”
After a natural disaster like Hurricane Maria, I’m sure the President would want “America [to] come together as one,” to help our fellow citizens repair their homes and rebuild their lives, but his tweets contradict that. Only a couple weeks after the hurricane struck Puerto Rico, the President used the catastrophe to pit political parties against each other and attack the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz. Before Trump’s Saturday morning tweet the mayor commented about Trump’s public relations stunt: “This terrible and abominable view of him throwing paper towels and throwing provisions at people, it’s really — it does not embody the spirit of the American nation.” Once again, the president went out of his way to attack someone via Twitter for criticizing him.
It’s not productive to simply ridicule the President and his staff because they clearly do not respond well to criticism — constructive or otherwise — but we cannot laugh off his heinous remarks. The statements and attacks he makes 140 characters at a time cannot be brushed off as “just words.” The man who expresses himself this way represents us as a country, no matter what political party you support.
As President, he has immense power. Rather than ostracizing his supporters and staying safe in our “Berkshire Bubble,” it would be much more effective to converse with them, try to understand how these people were able to overlook Trump’s racism and sexism and vote for him. The fact that so many voters were able to overlook basic human rights demonstrates that our political system has failed us–not only because racism, xenophobia, and sexism should never have a place in any society, but also because our political community has declined to the point where a great portion of people saw — and still see — Trump as their best option. There is something profoundly wrong with a system when a man who incites violence and validates hate is “the best option.”
This is not to take jabs at the Republican party or their supporters, but rather to call out the Democratic party for not backing a candidate who was able to inspire Democrats as well as Trump inspired his base.
While we must continue to analyze and scrutinize the current administration and its radical supporters, we cannot push the blame so far away from ourselves that we forget we are a factor in the rise of the Trump ideology.
Disagree with Dimitri? Want to add to the conversation? Comment below!