It’s not a surprise to see President Donald Trump’s name in the news followed by some sort of outrageous comment or announcement in the headline, but within the last week, there seemed to be a particularly high record of outlandish claims and comments being made by the president of the United States. One remark, in particular, made by President Trump on April 6 has caused quite a stir. This was a comment that appeared from a resurfaced video of Trump making a speech last May, where he refers to immigrants as ‘animals.’ Along with the commentary that Trump has made in the past on immigrants, especially those at our southern border in Mexico and dubbing these immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals,” the addition of calling them animals as well has not shown to be a favorable remark for the president.
In an era of political correctness and every “safe space” joke imaginable, it’s easy to see why, despite these dehumanizing and degrading comments, there are still many Americans who support Trump for “speaking his mind.” While free speech is a basic value of American policy and law and something to be cherished, we must also take into account the harm that comes from a person of power making such comments. This is particularly alarming and problematic when the person of power is directing negative comments and pointing fingers at a particular group of people. By using particular groups as scapegoats, we run into the slippery slope of blame, one that is all too familiar when it comes to war. There have been particular similarities between the way that President Trump places blame on immigrants and the way Nazi Germany placed blame on Jewish people and other minority groups, as noted by Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke in an address to a crowd in Iowa.
There is, of course, danger in relating a current United States president to someone who is considered by most to be the most vile dictator in history, and it’s important to keep a level head when dealing with politics and the way that politicians conduct themselves, so that those who seek change are able to successfully find it. However, no matter how small or insignificant the comments that President Trump make seem to be, there is no room for tolerance when it comes to group scapegoating within such a diverse nation. To place blame on particular groups is synonymous with placing hate within the heart of those who point fingers. In order to grow and develop as a successful nation, we need to recognize our flaws and learn from our own, and others, mistakes of the past.