Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Donald Trump: Questions on Rhetoric & Violence

I'm one of those people concerned about Donald Trump's suggestive comment about "Second Amendment people" and Secretary Clinton. There is a difference between saying something suggestive and suggesting something. The difference is important, but not the entire story.

We cannot be entirely responsible for how we are heard/interpreted/received. But we should not be irresponsible, and we definitely hold some responsibility when we know how we might be heard. If you laugh at your kid for doing something--swearing, yelling "no"--then you can expect they will do it again, especially when you don't want them to. You were being just as irresponsible as your child.

Did Trump suggest people threaten or use force against Secretary Clinton? No, of course not. But that doesn't make his suggestion OK.

And it is incredibly important at this moment to views of rhetoric and history. When do you think a person's language has incited action and what about a person's language will incite action?

You cannot rightly say Islam is violent, but assert Christianity isn't. You cannot say Black Lives Matter is a hate group, but Donald Trump isn't a hateful, racist person. Can you even rightly say a preacher or book or song moved you to action and tears, but Trump's words today will not move someone to attempt violence?

“By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.” --Donald J. Trump 
Relevant questions to ask yourself:

Did Sarah Palin's crosshairs & her comment to "reload" cause Gabrielle Gifford's assault?


Did the Black Lives Matter Movement cause the police shootings in Texas and Louisiana?


(On the flip side, does Sheriff Clarke's statements about Black Lives Matter promote more anti-cop and anti-black sentiment? And when does "predicting" actually imply you were right?)

Does Christianity cause violence in abortion clinics?


Does Sharia Law cause violence in the name of Islam?


And here is another: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia#Criticism

Let's remember that texts are interpreted. Christian texts are super violent throughout the ages. They are no more solely responsible for Nazism and the Atlantic slave trade than Islam is for terrorism. (Which isn't to say these religions, their texts, their theologies, and their adherents aren't devoid of responsibility.)