The old saying “sow the wind and reap the whirlwind” reflects the current moment in Donald Trump’s campaign as he tours states with a large Latino population. Newscasts are focusing on the protests and incidents outside the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico. What they don’t say is that the protests come as a response to hate speech.
A message of resentment has stopped being a marginal issue for extremists. In fact, with Trump’s impending nomination as presidential candidate for the Republican Party, this rhetoric is becoming legitimate as the mogul gains the support of the Party’s establishment. His campaign is based on animosity, chauvinism and a cult of personality that creates a Roman circus-style climate in which immigrants, Muslims and anyone else who ends up in Trump’s sights is fed to the lions or falls prey of the candidate’s insults and degrading speech.
Trump’s hate speech, which attracts anti-immigrants, racists and anti-Semites, is not limited to discourse: It has already manifested itself in aggressions against the “enemies” of those who do not share a vision of a white country. A report by Georgetown University published earlier this month linked an increase in anti-Muslim violence to the multimillionaire’s message.
A week ago, two brothers from Boston were sentenced to prison for beating and urinating on a Mexican homeless man who was a legal resident. The men said that they thought he was undocumented. “Donald Trump is right: All these illegals need to be deported,” they told the police.
Trump’s first reaction to the beating was to explain that his followers are “passionate.” He did not elaborate on who the messenger is of all that hateful and resentful passion. He also failed to name the person who exploits human tragedy in his speeches by turning his political acts into a parade of victims of the actions of one undocumented immigrant, to justify his notion that all of them are the worst of the worst.
This is a very unusual election season. Discontent within the Republican Party has led a sector of the population to embrace a populist and nationalistic rhetoric of resentment. Following that pattern — and Trump’s lead — the campaign has become a huge provocation that is unacceptable in our democracy.