There once was a time when the name “United States” brought pride to the citizens living in the country. There once was a time when people felt comfortable walking around in their skin. There once was a time when we did not have to worry about being murdered in what we thought were our safest places. There once was a time when America had standards.
The hatred present in modern-day America has not risen out of nowhere. It has been present in our daily lives, seeping into conversations and interactions in the smallest of ways since we were born. Racism, sexism, prejudice towards religions, and homophobia are not concepts unknown to us, but until recently, they were concepts the victims pushed under the rug in order to live their everyday lives. Recently, however, this hate has not just been seeping through cracks of conversations and actions—it has been pouring out in waves and destroying the lives of many throughout the nation. It is no longer OK to sweep this hatred underneath the rug. It is no longer OK because innocent lives are STILL being lost in the 21st century. We’ve come so far with everything else, so why haven’t we achieved the same with basic human rights?
The hatred in modern America grows because of toleration. The longer we withstand these acts of hatred, these murderous tendencies, these deranged individuals, the more they believe their positions are valid. If we want to decrease the hatred in America, we have got to start with our actions and use our authority and voices to fight. But how can we take a stand when our President, our so-called leader, encourages us against it? In 2017, President Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence and death that occurred at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, VA. After the Parkland shooting in February, he tweeted that the shooting occurred because the “FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida shooter” due to spending too much time on the Russian investigation. On October 26, 2018, in response to the bomb threats sent to anti-Trump individuals, he lamented that the media was not focusing enough on politics and that the “bomb stuff” had taken too much air time. He also stated that there was “no blame” to be given, despite the attack being potentially carried out by one very pro-Trump individual. More recently, in the sensitive topic of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, Trump has not once condemned the anti-Semitism of the shooter or commented on white nationalism under his wing. Some way, somehow, Trump always manages to take the focus away from the murderous hate in the nation and direct it towards him.
We need this to end. The public has become numb to shootings, rallies, and hate crimes. Why? Because the President is numb to it as well. The hatred in modern day America is not normal, it is not OK, and it is certainly not defining of our qualities as Americans. How can we focus on anything else until this hatred is overcome? Innocent lives are being lost. Futures are being destroyed. Families are being broken apart. It is time to stop putting human rights in the background. It is time to make a change; It has been for a while.