Egypt: Ever Art crosses Suez Canal on its first voyage    IFC loans Egypt's El Sewedy $150 million for more access to renewable energy in Africa    Gold prices in Egypt on June 29    Saudi citizens could enter Schengen countries visa-free    Egypt's Petrojet returns to Libyan oil sector after 11 years    Cemex, VeryNile sign deal for Egypt's Nile River    NATO remarks Egypt's role in maintaining stability in Middle East and Africa    Congo needs Egypt's expertise to diversify its economy – FPI official    Dostarlimab drug cures rectal cancer patient 100%, trials show    Egypt: A royal train turns into a new tourism attraction    Conclusions and Recommendations of the 1st edition of Africa Health ExCon    For the first time John Legend to perform in Egypt    Egypt discovers newly treasure trove of ancient artifacts at Saqqara Necropolis    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Liverpool fans: "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Cristiano Ronaldo    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Egypt's telecoms regulator announces working hours for holy month of Ramadan    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Braving the rhetoric
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 15 - 11 - 2018

In October this year, 15 potentially explosive devices, or what are known as pipe bombs, were sent to prominent and high-ranking Americans including the Obamas and the Clintons. Film star Robert De Nero, former vice-president Joe Biden, Eric Holder, former US attorney-general, and billionaire George Soros were amongst those who received the bombs.
A pattern emerged whereby all those targeted were critics of US President Donald Trump or had been slighted or defamed by him. The US then went on the defensive as the authorities asked anyone who had been a critic of Trump, or whom Trump may have publicly slandered, to remain vigilant.
Once the suspect, Cesar Sayoc, was caught, his partisanship surfaced. His van, which doubled as his base, was festooned with stickers that supported Trump and denounced his critics. He had also plastered red targets over the faces of those he construed as enemies in the van.
Trump has had altercations with most of the bomb recipients. He has denigrated Democratic Party presidential elections candidate Hillary Clinton, for example. He listened to and chuckled at the “lock her up” rants during his campaign rallies, he said that the “Second Amendment people,” those who believe in the right to keep and bear arms in the US, should “do something” to Hillary, and he dubbed her “crooked Hillary.”
The same thing goes for all those who were targeted.
Later, in a shoot-out on 27 October a gunman, Robert Bowers, a white supremacist, killed 11 Jews at a synagogue in Pittsburg in the US. He had targeted Jews on social media and made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting.
For much of the media, Trump's behaviour and rhetoric had egged on Bowers and his like. During an earlier white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, a civil rights protester was killed, and Trump's comment then was that there were “very fine people on both sides,” equating white supremacists with ordinary Americans. In a petition, thousands asked Trump not to visit Pittsburg after the shooting unless he denounced white nationalism ahead of it.
The question today is whether the divisive political rhetoric in the US fosters hostility or even criminal acts. In other words, was Sayoc a by-product of Trump's rhetoric? Was Bowers a consequence of the same? And is this rhetoric reshaping American politics as well as Americans at large?
Trump's rhetoric is indeed divisive and racially charged. It has polarised Americans and fed partisanship, stoking hatred and empowering the heartless.
According to Trump, no one is above defamation. Envision the message that Trump supporters receive when they hear the following: “the Democrats will give illegal immigrants free cars;” “the Democrats will abolish American borders;” “the Democrats want to open our borders to a flood of deadly drugs and ruthless gangs,” “the Democrats want to turn America into a giant sanctuary for criminal aliens… don't kid yourself. That what's going to happen,” for example.
Does this kind of crassness pass unnoticed by Americans, or will grudge-bearing pro-Trump individuals follow suit in tone and standards? “Knock the crap out of him, would you? I promise you, I will pay your legal fees;” “I'd like to punch him in the face;” “I'll beat the crap out of you;” “maybe he should be roughed up;” “we are tired of the garbage; get out of here;” and “part of the problem is that no one wants to hurt each other anymore” are samples of Trump's outbursts.
Trump is also bringing out the worse in those who dislike him, for partisan infighting rules in the US today. Robert De Nero slammed Trump on the US TV programme Saturday Night Live, and Soros described Trump as “a danger to the world.” Holder used a sentence from former US first lady Michelle Obama, “when they go low, we go high,” but then kicked it up a notch by saying “when they go low, we kick them.”
Can such ranting go unnoticed and not leave its mark on Americans? I doubt it. Moral and ethical standards are sinking and losing ground; vulgarity rules; trifling sacred beliefs is taken lightly; and wishing others ill has become the norm. The end result is that Americans will change, as this rhetoric provides a green light to the Sayocs and the Bowers of the world.
When asked if he plans on toning down or softening his rhetoric, Trump said that his intention was to “tone it up.” He has no intention of restraining himself, for Trump is at the most “Trumpish” when he is combative.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The writer is a political analyst.


Clic here to read the story from its source.