It's just not the same anymore:
Police in Greenville say they have seen no increase in reported hate speech or crimes since the president’s July 17 visit. But to immigrants, refugees and others who don’t fit neatly into some people’s ideas of what an American should look like, the appearance has spawned fears that the president’s words could be used as a pretext for violence.
And the crowd’s chant has prompted painful reflection: Was the hostility on display at the rally new for Greenville? Or was it here all along, just waiting to be activated? Heidi Serrano, who was born in Guatemala but has lived in Greenville her entire adult life, has reluctantly concluded the latter. And now she wonders if some of her neighbors and co-workers truly want her here.
Ten years ago, I would have told her not to worry about those on the fringe; that radical white supremacist groups struggle to get more than two dozen like-minded idiots to flock to their cause. I can't tell her that now. Trump has exposed the 30+% extreme racist underbelly of our country, and given them a mandate to hate:
Trump’s rally prompted heated exchanges on the letters page of Greenville’s newspaper, the Daily Reflector.
“I have a confession to make. I was at the president’s rally Wednesday night, and when the chant ‘send them back’ broke out, I joined in, with enthusiasm,” wrote Steven Van Cleave, a resident of nearby Winterville. “And I have another confession to make. I do not feel the slightest need to apologize to anyone for doing so.”
The chant, Van Cleave wrote, had been directed at four congresswomen who “have nothing but contempt for this country” and who “should leave and go to a country they admire such as Cuba or Venezuela.”
That lack of shame is just one more sign that Trump's irresponsible actions are unleashing a bigoted monster in our communities. Race-inspired mass shootings are coming on a weekly basis these days, but many more have been (maybe barely) stopped by law enforcement, that you may not even be aware of:
The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the arrest of Richard Clayton, a Winter Park resident, who allegedly posted threats to shoot up a Walmart on his Facebook account on August 4th, a day after a white supremacist murdered 22 people in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
On Saturday, August 10th, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (@FDLEPIO) posted a tweet highlighting Clayton’s flagged Facebook post, “FDLE arrests Richard Clayton for written threats after an investigation by FDLE, FBI’s JTTF, and Winter Park PD. Clayton wrote on Facebook, “3 more days of probation left then I get my AR-15 back. Don’t go to Walmart next week.”
The Huffington Post reported that, “Clayton is currently being held at the Orange County Jail on $15,000 bond, according to ABC News. His case is the latest in a series of cases where police have tracked down domestic terror threats.”
Frankly, for somebody as obviously dangerous as this admitted white supremacist is, a $15,000 bond is borderline criminally negligent. All he would have to do is give a bail bondsman $1,500, and he's out. Hopefully we'll never hear of him again, because if we do, it will surely be connected to a body count.