Hate As A Political Tool
noun, often attributive \ˈhāt\
a : intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury
Using hate as a political tool is nothing new. Hate will conveniently fracture a society and create deep divisions that could last generations. Scars will run deep and will prove hard to heal. Families will divide and special bonds will be broken. In Venezuela we know this very well, we’ve lived it. We’ve been divided for 17 years and there’s no end in sight.
Hugo Chávez became president of Venezuela in 1999 and began a deliberate campaign of division and hate that split the country in half to this day. In Venezuela the target of hate was not race, nor religion, but the playbook is the same. In Venezuela it was economic, the poor against the rich. In this country it’s all three, president-elect Trump has found the trifecta.
In order to own the title of the greatest country in the world we need to set examples. The examples so far have been discouraging to say the least. “Trump Nation, White Country”, “Make America White Again”, this is what’s being painted on America’s walls. The Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch NYC Memorial Park was vandalized with swastikas and pro-Trump graffiti, Yauch was Jewish like the rest of his band mates. A black veteran was kicked out of a Chili’s in Dallas on Veteran’s day by a white Trump supporter because, he claimed, the man wasn’t a real veteran. The list is long. These are dangerous signs of dark times to come.
The appointments president-elect Trump has made so far are not encouraging either. Steve Bannon, former executive director of Breitbart News, who’s been quoted as saying that “darkness is good”, as White House Chief Strategist. Senator Sessions, who failed to be confirmed as U.S. District Judge in the 80’s for racist remarks, as Attorney General. Ret. Gen. Mike Flynn, described by intelligence official as a “hot head” with an abusive leadership style, as National Security Advisor.
Hugo Chávez won his first election with 56.2% of the vote and a voter turnout of 63.45%. He won with the vote of the country’s poor and “disenchanted middle class”, whose standard of living had decreased rapidly over the previous decade. Sounds familiar? What followed was not pretty but he had a clear mandate. Donald Trump won with 47.5% of the vote and a 55% voter turnout. Sen. Clinton, on the other hand, received 47.7% of the vote which could amount to as much as 2 million more votes than Donald Trump once all votes are counted. That is not a mandate.
What about the 45% of Americans that didn’t vote? What do they think now? My hope is that they are reflecting. It’s hard to believe they want to be silent now, silent when the country is facing a crossroads and we have to choose which path to take. I encourage the non-voters not to excuse themselves, we are past that, but to express their hopes for a country which I’m sure they love, but decided not to participate in it’s future.
Originally published on the Huffington Post