Listen Up! Responsibility for hate starts at the top



Hugh Mackenzie
Huntsville Doppler

Events in the United States this past week, have overshadowed anything else I had intended to write about today. One simply cannot ignore, not only the horror of these crimes, but also their serious and long- term implications. And for those who will say these are not matters of local interest or concern, I respectfully beg to differ. Most of these events took place within a day’s drive of where we live; if not on our door step, close enough to make us sit up and pay attention. There should be no disconnect here.

Within six days we witnessed three hate-crimes. The first barely caught public attention; two people shot and killed by a white man attempting to burst into a black Church in Louisville, Kentucky. The second, garnered a lot more attention as at least ten pipe bombs were mailed to politicians and news sources who had been under attack by President Donald Trump. The third was an assault on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where 11 people were slaughtered.

It has been interesting to watch as some people tried to trivialize these tragedies. In the case of the pipe bombs, conspiracy theories popped up, accusing Democrats of sending fake bombs to Trump targets to hurt Republican candidates in the-mid term election cycle. The truth is somewhat different. The accused perpetrator, now in custody, is a disciple of the Alt Right, a Nazi sympathiser and someone described by his former lawyer as a person who views Donald Trump as a ‘father figure’.   As for the bombs, they were not fake. They were described by the FBI as poorly made but viable. It was a miracle that none were detonated.

Through all of this, President Donald Trump has stayed true to his character. He read all of the politically correct statements from the teleprompter, likely written by someone else. But the moment he went off script, which was very quickly, he blamed everyone but himself, most especially his political opponents and the media. Donald Trump, in his view, can do no wrong.

Once again, the truth is very different. Responsibility for hate and fear mongering begins at the top. To paraphrase one recent news commentary, when you incite and sanction hate, hate flourishes and when you condone and excuse acts of violence, violence follows.

Donald Trump has been a master of both. He refers to the media as the enemy of the people. He celebrates a politician who body slammed a reporter. He sees “good people on both sides” when referring to pro Nazi and white supremacist groups. He does not hesitate to refer to his perceived enemies using language that is racist or inflammatory. In simple terms, he is an enabler.  In fact, sadly, he is the Enabler-in-Chief!

I found it shocking yesterday to hear the first public words out of President Trump’s mouth, when asked to comment on the Synagogue killings in Pittsburgh, were that it might not have happened if they had an armed guard inside their Temple. Once again, blame the other guy.

The horrific incident in Pittsburgh is particularly upsetting to me, because I know someone who could have been in that Temple. The son of friends of ours from Huntsville, married a Jewish girl and they are now both professors in Pittsburgh. We were at their wedding and see them most summers when they return to Huntsville. She was not at that service, but she could have been and that is a little too close to home for me.

Indeed, Canada is not immune from hate attacks similar to what we have witnessed in the United States. In not much more than a year there have been no less than five domestic acts of terror here, not the least of which were two horrific vehicle attacks in Toronto, resulting in multiple deaths. We forget too easily. This is not business as usual. This borders on an epidemic. Even the attack yesterday in Pittsburgh, has already had repercussions here, as former Federal Liberal leader Bob Rae, whose wife is Jewish, reports today, that his family has received “nasty, deeply anti-Semitic messages”.

It seems we are witnessing a cultural change in society, where public discourse by politicians and other leaders, is once again enabling expressions of bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance and extremism. What is happening in the United States is not just creeping in to Canada. In many respects it is already here

Instead of sticking our head in the sand, wouldn’t it be nice if we had the intestinal fortitude to do something about it?

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  1. Don’t know if you remember a film with Gregory Peck called the Omen , but in successive films , Damien ( Donald ) ,the evil child , was being groomed for The Presdency….Prophetic , I think he made it !

  2. People are always allowed an opinion. There is no need to be insulting, degrading, cruel, deliberately untruthful or accusing when stating an opposite opinion. A leader is strong in their convictions and kind in their voice.

    The old adage “if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all” is a rule everyone should live by. I still believe good people will rise.

  3. FDR’s speech could not ring truer than today “ Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself.” Every moment of every day since Donald Trump announced that he would seek the Republican Nomination for Presidency of the United States of America, the Press and The Democrats have spread fear about how destructive this President would be to every aspect of American Society. There was no honeymoon grace period for this Presidency as has been afforded every other Presidency. Is it any wonder than this vicious attack on the Presidency would be returned with anything but the same? Being told that you are not acting Presidential when you ran openly on your plan to establish a new direction for the Top Office in America and being elected because of it, demonstrates the media’s hatred for Republicans and this administration, and totally ignored the will of the people and their responsibility to keep them informed not belittle the them.
    President Obama’s decision to not follow former President’s lead but instead becoming immersed in giving speeches fanning the flames of fear and hatred of not only the President but anyone who supports him.
    Trump is certainly not innocent in the stress that is gripping the USA but should not be totally blamed for it either.
    Hatred, conflict and stupidity sells air time and papers, it also exacerbates hatred and fear. What was it our mother’s taught us “if you don’t have something good to say perhaps you shouldn’t say anything at all.”
    If we want and expect humility, perhaps it is time we started to show it to others.
    Canadians should be turning their attention to what is happening in our Country, not fixating on the USA. We have much to be greatful for in this country, unfortunately we also have many things to fear. We need to quit blaming hatred in our country on America and work toward getting our own house in order. Peace, order and equality for all is far from being achieved in and by this Country we call home.

    • Karen Wehrstein on

      Nonsense. Whatever happens in the USA affects Canada and every Canadian knows it. That’s why the wiser of us pay attention.
      Trump didn’t suddenly have a personality change and become belligerent in response to negative coverage. He has always been this way. He was the main trumpet of the lie that Obama was born in Kenya. He took out full page ads in the New York Times demanding that five black youths be put to death for a crime it turned out they didn’t commit — and even after that was proven, he still wanted them killed. His career is a trail of bankruptcies, scams where other people were left holding the bag, stiffing whomever worked for him and heavy infusions of Russian money. He inherited ties with the Mob from his dad. Oh yes, he got a grace period. Even Barack Obama thought that the massive responsibility of the presidency would sober him and make him rise above himself. It hasn’t, one bit. A comment does not allow nearly enough space to list off all the evidence for why he is unfit for the office and doesn’t have it in him to be presidential.
      If Trump spreads the lie that George Soros is funding the caravan of migrants and George Soros has a bomb sent to him, yes, he is to blame in part for the bomb. If Trump spreads this anti-semitic lie plus the idea that the caravan is “invading,” and a guy’s last tweet before he kills 11 Jewish people in a synagogue includes the word “invaders”, yes, he is to blame in part. What Trump does is use the huge status of the President of the United States as an authority and moral guide to give these people tacit permission. It’s no coincidence that anti-semitic harassment, attacks, cemetery vandalism, etc. has gone up 60% since he became president.
      If what you do is 90% negative, 90% negative coverage is accurate and correct coverage.

      • You can’t blame anti-semitism on Trump, Karen. His own daughter and son-in-law are Jewish and no President has been more of a friend to Israel than Donald Trump. The perpetrator of the synagogue massacre wrote on social media that he hated Donald Trump–that Trump was “controlled by the Jews”. Trump has called for the death penalty against the perpetrator.

        • Karen Wehrstein on

          When he repeatedly attacks “globalism” (white-supremacistese for “international Jewish conspiracy”) and makes up false conspiracy theories such as George Soros (who is Jewish) funding the migrant caravan in central America, and he and Fox News fear-monger about said caravan being full of terrorists, MIddle-Easterners, MS-13 gang members, i.e. murderers, repeatedly using the word “invaders” and derivatives — and then the murderer tweets that “invaders” have come to slaughter his people so he must act, i.e. massacre Jews — yes, Trump bears some blame. And not just Trump, but Fox News, all the other right-wing “news” outlets and the Republican Party for tolerating and sometimes joining in with anti-semitism.
          “Either-or” thinking and straw-man arguments (I never said the murderer is not also to blame) are the tools of propagandists. Stop using them.

          • George Soros, as a teenager, pointed out Jews to the Nazis and received some of the goods confiscated from the Jews as payment for his perfidy. He admitted what he did and then said in a “60 Minutes” interview that the period was “some of the happiest times in my life.” He claims to be an atheist but I would guess he is something worse.

            Much of the left is VERY anti-Israel and thus anti-Semitic as well. They hate religious Jews. Christians, on the other hand, are extremely firm in their support for Israel and they fall to the right of the political spectrum. It is a damnable lie created by the left that conservatives are “anti-Semitic”. There are a few fringe people in organizations like the KKK (their numbers are extremely small) but never forget that it was Democrats who formed the KKK in the first place.

            It comes down to: “Who do you believe?” I believe Christians and religious Jews–they actually have prohibitions on lying for personal gain. Not so with anyone else. “Let God be true and every man a liar.” The mainstream “news” media and the entertainment industry lie for personal gain all the time. Their employers tell them what to say. Gotta keep those big fat salaries coming in, don’t they?

    • Terry McCaffery on

      John K. Davis, Would you please reference any speech that Barrack Obama gave which incited hatred or fear against Trump or Trump’s followers? I have never heard Mr. Obama ever give a hate filled address or incite fear in his speeches. Please explain what things we have to be fearful of in our great home and native land? Donald Trump has created a cultural climate in America which has emboldened bigots and enabled extremists to become more open and visible!

  4. Hugh I think you are making quite a leap here and fuelling the fire to suggest that Trump is responsible for this unfortunate violence. I am as perplexed as the next person at some of the rhetoric he spews but he does not even come close to the standards in law for inciting violence.

    Everything negative that happens is Trumps fault and he is the worst thing since Hitler. The Dems need some new material; this is their response every time. This very response continues to undermine their creditability as they pathetically operate without any plan or strategy except to blame Trump? Trump is doing what he said he would do and the Democrats are losing their minds.

    Are all the assaults in restaurants and rally’s by Democrats Trumps fault also? The violence ANTIFA brings to every republican event including college campuses? The Bernie Saunders supporter who shot 5 GOP congressionals? Nancy Pelosi was dumfounded when the shoe was on the other foot as she defended this. The GOP candidate last month who was attacked with a switch blade? The Barrack Obama supporter who shot 5 police officers in Dallas in 2016? Susan Collins receiving ricin in the mail because she supports Brett Kavanaugh? The Fox News Studio attack. The sword cuts both ways.

    Blaming Trump is crazy. The people who carry out these crimes are simply politically overheated mentally unstable individuals.

    • Karen Wehrstein on

      Britt, if you think only Dems hold these opinions… well, Hugh is hardly a Dem! But you also need to watch this, from a former Republican strategist: . He is not the only Republican speaking out against his own party. Even George Will, of all people, is saying Americans should vote Dem on Tuesday. They are aware that the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress are a danger to the very structure of American democracy. You probably aren’t aware that Trump has announced that he’s going to cancel the citizenships of children born in the country by executive order — despite the fact that this right is enshrined in the US Constitution? Yes, he wants to get rid of parts of the US Constitution that he and other American racists don’t like, just by himself, despite the fact that there’s a long legal/political process required to do that.
      And don’t give me this “both sides do it” nonsense. Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi have *never* offered to the pay the legal bills of someone who assaulted someone else at a rally. Or said that a politician who body-slams a reporter is “my kind of guy”. Or called the press (or anyone else) “the enemy of the people.” Or said some of the Nazis at Charlottesville (or any other bad characters) were “very fine people.” Or spewed lies to gin up hate against opponents. When Scalise was shot (not sure where you got “five”), Sanders condemned it quickly and unequivocally; Trump has offered absolutely no comfort to the families and can’t even bring himself to say “synagogue” or “Jewish” when he talks about the Tree of Life shooting; instead he blamed the victims by saying they should have had an armed guard, he’s going there today during the funeral despite pleas from both the synagogue’s rabbi and the mayor of Pittsburgh to put it off a week, and his mouthpieces started right back in again on the lies about George Soros.
      BTW the Dem strategy is exactly what I think it should be: run on health care. This is why so many Republicans who are up for election are pretending they’re less opposed to Obamacare when they voted across the board to repeal it.

  5. It is not about Republicans nor Conservatives ,which I am and proud of , but a man who has usurped the Republican party to do what is best for he and his family business interests…His ignorance would not be acceptable in Canadian politics nor in most democratic countries ..To pander to white supremacists and racists to get votes is disgusting…A leader does not deliberately divide as this POTUS does …..Pathetic and fortunately the majority of American citizens have realized this !

  6. I agree 100%, Hugh, and you didn’t even mention the Guatemalan caravan, which was heading toward he States last week. The President inflamed the situation by stating that if any of them survived the horrendous journey, they would be turned away at the border. This was justified by his assertion that none was credible in seeking political asylum; although the majority were being persecuted in their three home countries. He further opined that terrorists had infiltrated their ranks; without a scintilla of proof: This egotist lives by the credo that if he simply states it, then it is true by definition. Those who didn’t turn back due to sunburn, dehydration, starvation, tear gas attacks by Mexican soldiers were met by 800 US troops at the border.
    That anybody could be supportive of this “Emperor without clothes” is extremely disturbing. That any Canadian could be is doubly so. Thank your individual Deity that we have a right-thinking (and -acting) PM!!!

  7. It’s rather odd to see a Canadian supporting the things Trump spouts . I came home from Europe 2 days ago and contrary to what you hear on news here or perhaps the lack of stories most of the European countries distrust Trump and his ideas and methods. This Saudia Arabia thing of apparently slaughtering the reporter in their embassy has most of the EU up in arms. And Turkey even admitted they had the embassy bugged and allowed the head of the CIA to listen to it, and still Trump defends the Saudis.

  8. Is this a concern .. … … you know it does not matter what we in Canada think or say .. it’s the American people who count and WILL Vote! Its the impact and consequences to THEM that counts and they WILL VOTE accordingly! To blame the president is so silly for actions of other is …real silly! Think of what you are saying! Again .. nothing is ever reported that is positive and these comment show it, this article is so bias .. again! .. more …

    • Good lord we have caught the right wing disease and deep division right here. We have our very own Trump in Doug Ford. I rest my case.

  9. Karen Wehrstein on

    I’m not too busy responding to others to say “Hear, hear” about this column and thank you for writing it, Hugh. It must have been a particularly hard one. I’m glad your friends weren’t there at the time but I’m sorry it has touched them because obviously they must have known some of those senior citizens in the congregation who are now deceased, and from now on their house of worship, traditionally a place of peace and safety, will have been the scene of slaughter. And therefore, the murders touched you.
    It’s a harsh but necessary reminder to the rest of us that even if casualties seem like mere statistics when you read about them in the papers, they were someone’s friends, someone’s family, someone’s colleagues, someone’s loved ones. I see no mention of this in the comments of those criticizing what you’ve written. They should pay attention.

  10. Bomb experts have said that there is no way those “bombs” could have exploded. You are also incorrect when you say that the perpetrator viewed Donald Trump as “a father figure”. The perpetrator said on social media that he hated Donald Trump and that Trump was “controlled by the Jews”.

    Anyone who believes the anti-Trump media, are victims of propaganda. The globalists who own most of the stock in the five media companies which control over 90% of what we see, hear and read have a strong vested interest in getting rid of Donald Trump because he opposes their plans for a world government. George Soros is just one of many multi-billionaires who favor world government. George Soros has been quoted as saying, “The only thing standing in the way of world government is U.S. sovereignty.” And so, he, like every other super-wealthy globalist set about trying to break down U.S. sovereignty–what do you think the flood of illegal immigrants across borders is all about? It is happening everywhere in the western nations. When the globalists succeed, we will have two classes of citizen–the super-wealthy controllers of all and the poverty-stricken peasants who are the controlled by the massive bureaucratic structures put in place by the controllers. Just as anyone who has lived under communism anywhere. Anyone who favors a socialist takeover is a fool.

    By the way, globalist darling, Hillary Clinton was quoted just over the weekend saying that all black people look alike. She is given a free pass by the Democrat-controlled media even though she has made racists comments in the past. Can you imagine what they would have said about Donald Trump had he made such a remark?

    • Karen Wehrstein on

      No, they were functional bombs, just not very well-made (
      You’re confusing matters, I suspect purposely, in getting the perps mixed up. Cesar Sayoc aka the MAGABomber was the one whose lawyer said he saw Trump as a father figure ( Robert Bowers, the Jew massacrer, was the source of the quote about Trump being controlled by Jews (
      Hillary was making fun of an interviewer for mixing up Cory Booker and Eric Holder (as they are both African American). Video here: . Misrepresenting comments is another tool of the propagandist.
      Your second paragraph is tin-foil-hat poppycock except for pointing out the dangers of concentration of media ownership, but you leave out such hugely influential right-wing owners as Rupert Murdoch and Sinclair Broadcasting. Illegal immigrants have been crossing the Mexican border for decades; they’re just looking for a better life, not directed by some far-away billionaire. Googling the supposed Soros quote, I get only you here on Doppler and a commenter on a Christian forum who, same as you, does not source it. Substantiate or retract. Fake news does not belong even in the comment section of this news outlet.
      But most disturbingly, by using the word “globalist” in this manner and spreading lies about Soros running an international conspiracy, you are using exactly the same language in the same way as the man who just shot 11 Jews to death (see his tweets in the above Ha’aretz story). It is a disguised way of referring to such antisemitic conspiracy theories as the “international Jewish conspiracy” and the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, both of which were used by Hitler to gain public support for persecution of Jews, which eventually led to the Holocaust. It is particularly inappropriate to use this language now, after it has been implicated in a mass murder aimed at a particular religion in its place of worship.
      You’re spouting the same lie-filled talking points as are sick people who, in 2018, would like to see Jews subjected to genocide — e.g. 35% on a poll of users on the platform “Gab” ( Shame on you. This thought-poison is *not* who we are in Huntsville, or Ontario, or Canada. Or the vast majority of the world.

      • Karen: “…You’re confusing matters, I SUSPECT PURPOSELY, in getting the perps mixed up. Cesar Sayoc aka the MAGABomber was the one whose lawyer said he saw Trump as a father figure…”

        Look, Karen, I have not attacked you personally so please do me the courtesy of avoiding accusations against me. Sayoc’s lawyer has also said that he sees little evidence against his client. I don’t know how reliable his off-the-cuff remarks are.

        So Hillary gets a pass where anyone else (and especially Donald Trump) would be crucified for it? It isn’t the first racist remark she (or her husband) has made. She called some young black males “super predators” in the past.

        You apparently did not look very hard for the Soros quote. It was said during an interview conducted by Steve Kroft for “60 Minutes”. Here is the actual transmission which Anderson Cooper claims “never happened”.

        Soros is a sociopath but a very rich one so the media (who are totally owned by the globalist fascists) cover for him. Ever wonder why the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer”? It was designed that way by a group of international bankers (who are in the main, NOT Jewish) that Presidents Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, John Kennedy, (and now Trump) opposed. Wilson referred to them this way: ” Below is what one can actually derive from connecting together two passages from The New Freedom:

        “…A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men … [W]e have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.

        All of the above is from Woodrow Wilson’s The New Freedom: A Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People (New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1913).[1] In this same work, Wilson also wrote the below:

        “…Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it…” 18:58, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

        I am a Christian and a fierce defender of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Shame on YOU for attacking me. You are unwittingly defending those who would destroy the Jewish people. Internationalism has always attacked any people who choose to maintain their own distinct culture and nationality. The globalists prefer a blended amorphous mass of helpless humanity which is completely dependent on government handouts—that is, until the government runs out of funds. Then, it’s “every man for himself”. Think Venezuela.

  11. Good article Hugh. I agree with you 100%. In the 79 years since the start of WW2 (when racism and hate last peaked) world population has tripled from 2.3 billion to 7.4 billion. In the latest UN estimate, population is projected to reach 11.2 billion over the next 79 years, or almost 5 times 1939. There is simply no room for extreme nationalistic greed, racism and hate in that scenario. Since Trump was elected in 2016, the US has experienced 3 times as many hate crimes by US born citizens than by immigrants. If this trend continues, the world will be unlivable by 2100 if not sooner. We must all learn the lessons of history and become globalists and learn to live together or we are doomed. That is not what I want for my grandchildren. If the wealthiest G7 nations do not lead by example, then who will?

  12. I am not going to change anyone’s mind who has dug in their heels against anything Trump says or does. I am suggesting that you are going about it the wrong way. The dems and anyone else who disapproves of Trump lost the last election. You need to clear your head and rethink your approach; complaining day in and day out about what Trump does and blaming him for everything negative while offering nothing in return is a long road to disappointment. I think the same people who complain about Trudeau also complained about Harper while never really trying to understand the core issues. As much as we may not agree or understand; leaders of the free world are not idiots.

    The Democrats have offered nothing to their base since they lost the election. No leader, no plan and no hope. Even millenials are switching to Trump because his policies are clear and the Dems don’t have any. Ben Shapiro will lead the millenials to victory and become President by 2024. Anyone want to bet me on this? He is already campaigning and building his base at campuses across America every week.

  13. Terry McCaffery on

    Donald Trump certainly bears some responsibility for the horrific events which occurred last week south of the border! In the speech in which he announced his candidacy for the US presidency, he characterized Mexican immigrants illegally crossing the border into the US as “murderers, rapists and drug dealers”. In his campaign rallies, Trump incited the crowds to violence: “knock the crap out of them”, “should be carried out on a stretcher”, “I’ll pay your legal costs”! Only after continued pressure by members of the GOP did he repudiate the support of white supremacist, holocaust denier and former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke!
    He continually gins up his supporters at rallies by attacking the free press as fraudulent, as liars and as enemies of the people! Currently in rallies to support senate/congress GOP mid-term candidates he doesn’t promote the booming US economy or the very low unemployment rate but rather focusses on the caravan of Guatemalan refugees who are staged on the southern Mexican border hoping to trek northward to the US. Again he has promoted refugees as thieves, drug dealers etc. and without any credibility has stated that there are Middle Eastern terrorists mixed in with this entourage!
    Since his election, Trump has created a culture of hate, bigotry, misinformation and xenophobia in the US.
    By doing so he has emboldened right-wing extremists who are no longer afraid to act on their worst impulses: mailing pipe-bombs to perceived Trump enemies or murdering human targets of an extremist conspiracy theory! Trump has declared war on decency, civility and tolerance in his country! Words do matter especially when they are spoken by the President of the United States of America!

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