Donald Trump supporters are their own worst enemy. Not Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims or any of those targeted by the ideological -- and as we've seen at his rallies -- physical - wrath of his particular branch of the Republican Party.
This branch is infected with a particularly strong strain of vitriol and ignorance. Indeed, Donald Trump's truth has poisoned and killed the Republican Party tree.
The presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States speaks words that aren't just fueled with racism, classism, bigotry and misogyny, but with purposeful intent to divide and cause fear.
A masterful puppeteer, Trump calls for his marionettes to do his overt and implied will, even calling for his followers to raise their right hands and pledge their vote/allegiance to him.
Eva Schloss, Anne Frank's stepsister, wrote in an essay to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, that Trump is "acting like another Hitler by inciting racism."
For Trump's part, he told media that he didn't know it was a problem. And that ... his feigning ignorance ... is a problem.
He has no idea how closely his call for people to raise their hands evoked the rise of Hitler? He doesn't "know anything about" David Duke, the longtime Ku Klux Klan leader and Holocaust denier, even though he has spoken to and about him before? He has no idea that his followers are using the "N" word and screaming at people to go back to Africa?
Donald Trump has no idea, until he compels his ideas to become those of people already void of their own. Those who have hopped aboard the racist I-hate-America-train.
Is Trump responsible for everything every single one of his followers say or do? Of course not. There are plenty of people who have been waiting at that hate train station since well before President Obama first took office. Content to wait to board until their conductor arrived; they applauded every obstructionist movement the Republican-led Congress made.
So, no, Trump is not to solely blame for that mindset; however, he is culpable. He has not denounced the overriding racist narrative that comes as a result.
Of course, that would require him believing such sentiments and actions should be denounced, wouldn't it?
To the contrary, Trump offers to pay the legal bills of those who do harm to protesters and has stood up on his stage speaking of the desire to punch them in the face himself.
Donald Trump incites, commends and rewards such behavior.
As Father Michael Pfleger posted on Facebook following protests in Chicago:
Imagine if the parents of Trayvon or Tamir, or Sandra or Rakia, or Eric or Michael Brown.......had been at Podiums telling people to "beat the crap out of them" "Knock them Down" " Drag them out of Here".....They would have been arrested for inciding [sic] a Riot....But Trump....a Presidential Candidate shouts these out on Campaign stops and NOTHING Happens....Wow.....Oh that's right he's a rich White guy whose using code words like "make America Great again" ...........My Bad!
Trump uses racial code words like "thugs" and "professional protestors" to deflect blame. Look back at your history books, or better yet, ask an elder; this type of talk has always been around. Even though I was approximately 14, I clearly remember Geraldo Rivera using the word "thug" to describe Trayvon Martin and Baltimore protestors.
So Trump isn't the first ... but he's the first presidential candidate to do so openly.
The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."
While one may not be able to define Trump as perpetuating terrorism because he has not broken any laws of which we are aware, and by definition has not coerced, the argument could be made that through his manipulation of media and individuals, and of the very party he claims to represent, he is intimidating and bullying the civilian population in furtherance of his own political and social objectives.
His weapons are his words. His army the people to whom he has given permission to hate. His enablers, many of his fellow Republicans and the media that has allowed him to speak and act absent accountability.
Some say that Trump has tapped into a festering political divide. He didn't tap, he purposely pried it open. And by doing so, let loose and nurtured a racism and misogyny in this country that has always existed.
As the fictional character President Frank Underwood from Netflix's House of Cards noted in one episode this season with his smooth southern drawl, "I'm not sure if you've noticed or not, but politics is no longer just theater, it's show business; so let's put in the best show in town."
Boys and Girls!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Step right up!
Don't be shy!
You won't believe your eyes!
See how Trump gets thousands to his rallies!
Listen to how he doesn't give any detail to how he would improve our country!
You will be transfixed!
But pay no attention to the details ...
Just watch the show.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Aren't those the unalienable rights we want our next president to fight for, no matter from which party she or he comes?
It's crucial we educate ourselves about the issues at hand and not be blindsided by a political carnival act. Failing to vote could mean we find ourselves one step closer to a pursuit of divisiveness.