On Sunday, Philadelphia police discovered over 100 vandalized headstones at Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery after a visitor to some of the gravesites called authorities. Along with that, eleven Jewish Community Centers received bomb threats on the same day. This comes only a week after a similar incident in Missouri, where at least 150 Jewish graves were vandalized.
And before the Trump supporters who read this jump all over me, I’m not accusing Donald Trump of desiring this to happen. “Trump’s America” in the title refers to the emboldening of the segment of Trump’s base who are indeed racist white nationalists and feel empowered to carry out more public displays of racism and bigotry. It’s undeniable that there’s been a spike in anti-Semitic attacks and other hate crimes directed at immigrants, Muslims, non-heterosexuals, and non-whites since his election. Those who were previously hiding their bigoted views in public are now feeling supported and righteous in carrying out hateful acts.
This is a danger I warned about back in November.
Many are now (once again) calling on President Trump to publicly speak out against anti-Semitism and other hate crimes — not just through his press secretary or in a horribly vague response to a reporter’s question, but in a direct, focused speech to the American public. If Trump is truly bothered by these acts and does not support the emboldening of white nationalists, he needs to come out and directly address them. He needs to say, “this is not my America.” He needs to say that he’s supportive of all citizens, not just the white ones or the rich ones or the ones who voted for him.
Up until this point, President Trump only seems interested in surrounding himself with and speaking for those who support him, evidenced by his desire to hold pro-Trump rallies well after the election, as well as his recent exclusion of media outlets who have been critical of his words and actions.
Today, the Anne Frank Center issued a strongly-worded statement on Twitter, urging the President to make a televised statement:
— Anne Frank Center (@AnneFrankCenter) February 26, 2017
Regardless of which side of the aisle you find yourself on, these hateful acts are undeniable, and there is more the President can do to address them. We’re headed to a very bad place as a nation and it’s happening quickly. I agree with the Anne Frank Center when they say, “you now need to act fast, boldly, and specifically.”
Sadly, I don’t think it will happen. I hope I’m wrong.