The Rhetoric of Hate

Hateful language and finger pointing are not new to the English language, or any language for that matter. And yet, the rhetoric of hate, is more prominent than it has been in the past in terms of our media. The plethora of republican presidential candidates on national television are a prime example of this. It isn’t that we don’t have a political history of kicking our opponents straight in the shins during election season, but it has been aimed, in the past, at people outside our country, with paranoid assumptions that their allies are hidden among us. The strongest example of this that comes to mind is the Cold War and the Red Scare, Joseph McCarthy’s political witch-hunt. I fear that we have found ourselves in a similar place.

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Recently Dr. Ben Carson, the same man who as a neurosurgeon has made inaccurate and offensive comments regarding the LGBTQIA community, said that he does not think that someone who is Muslim should be allowed to be the President of the United States of America. The last time someone claimed one’s religion against their potential presidency was JFK, who was a Catholic. The worry, at the time, was that the Pope and the Vatican would influence the way he ran the country, which of course, didn’t happen. In this case, there isn’t even a Muslim presidential candidate; Carson is just making a harmful, blanket statement. This inaccurate and therefore irresponsible rhetoric is incredibly damaging to the future of our country.

According to Public Policy Polling, “sixty-six percent of Trump supporters believe President Obama is a Muslim, as do 54% of all Republican voters.” This is problematic because this is factually incorrect as well as hypocritical. President Obama is a Christian, but should that actually matter? In a country built on separation of church and state, in which Christians have become so adamant about protecting their religious freedoms, why doesn’t that mean protecting all religious freedoms?

Contrary to Dr. Carson’s claim, we do not have a problem with Muslims in this country, but rather we have a problem with bigoted believers who manipulate the rhetoric of their religion to marginalize and discriminate against their fellow Americans. With the election in the future, it’s time that we hold politicians responsible for their rhetoric.

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