Intimidation as Hate Speech By Harold Moskowitz
Berrell Trammell was an African-American small business owner. Often, he stood on a nearby street corner holding a “Trump 2020” sign. He told a friend that he changed his location to in front of his business because the people at the corner were likely to try to kill him. At 12:30 P.M. on 7/24/20, he became a victim of a drive-by shooting as he held his Trump sign. His deep belief in democracy and political free speech likely led to his murder. What happened to Mr. Trammell can happen to anyone in today’s America.
When constant political vilification of a political personality and his or her supporters becomes the norm, it leads to predictable results. Today, it appears constantly on radio, cable news, T.V. sitcoms, late night comedy, and in statements by cultural personalities, sportscasters, athletes and political leaders past and present. It appears in Hollywood productions, published media and the omnipresent internet blogs and tweets.
This social cancer must be meaningfully addressed. One should not have to fear that carrying a sign or wearing something identifying the person as a supporter of a candidate could result in injury or even death. Likewise, the use of a bumper sticker or a yard sign should not induce fear of property damage. Additionally, attending a rally or other political event should not subject the attendees to the possibility of a mob of protestors shouting vile obscenities and using violence against them.
Not only is such vilification aimed at supporters of a targeted political candidate, it is aimed at the National Rifle Association as well. The same techniques are used to portray the NRA as an evil organization bent on allowing miscreants to illegally obtain weapons, thus making it responsible for the massacres of school children and others. These vilifiers are willing to condemn the five million men and women who belong to the NRA as being “red neck Neanderthals” who support violence.
Both vilification movements emanate from the same sources. These attacks are coordinated propaganda campaigns which follow Hitler’s Third Reich’s “Big Lie” technique. A lie repeated over and over becomes accepted by all as being true. They also contain elements from Saul Alinsky’s communist community organizer handbook Rules For Radicals.
In all cases, coordinated vilification is a form of intimidation designed to alienate the target and to weaken it to the point of destruction. This radical method to suppress or destroy opposition must be eliminated if our democratic political system is to endure. It is likely what led to Berrell Trammell’s murder as he exercised his First Amendment rights on a street in Milwaukee. Constant vilification is truly “hate speech” and potentially causes violence. Our political “elites” at all levels of government need to step aside from politics and recognize what it really is. They need to have the backbone to rein it in or face political backlash for inaction.