Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trump's Seeds Of Hate Spill Into Schools

Image for the news result
Trump mocking a disabled reporter ten months ago in SC. Students have picked up on his antics and used them to bully minorities.

As millions of Americans wince and shudder at the prospect of the third presidential debate tonight we are informed (CBS Early Show) that Trump plans to go lower than ever.  His off the rails M.O.  will continue now directed at lowering turnout, especially on the D side. How does he plan to achieve this? According to two former campaign strategists interviewed on CBS, he will seek to impugn the entire election process as one giant "fraud". A "rigged election". He will, in addition, spill venom onto the HRC leaked emails. All this to try to entice prospective voters - who perhaps still haven't made up their minds - to avoid the polls.

At the same time, as this degenerate, misinforming fiasco unfolds (see link to another article about it at end of this post) millions of students will also be watching tonight, soaking it in. Many will be of high school age and again exposed to the sewer pit of American politics. Will they channel or act out what 'the Donald' spews out? We don't know but the signs are not  encouraging, as new surveys disclose the leakage of hatred into secondary students' brains.

It probably was inevitable that as the ignominy of the Trump campaign reached ever lower levels of the sewer, the sludge would begin to ooze out and contaminate more than our political landscape. Now, the evidence shows it has not only driven our national discourse to new lows but even insinuated itself into our students, educational system.

In a recent 'Intelligence Report', the Southern Poverty Law Center presented a survey showing that what it called “The Trump Effect” has infected ever younger minds. Specifically, it found that “students have been emboldened by the divisive, often juvenile rhetoric in the campaign. Teachers have noted an increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been the verbal targets of candidates on the campaign trail.”

More than 67 percent of educators in the SPLC study said children of immigrants and other students of color had expressed concerns about what might happen to them or their families after the election. More than 40 percent of the teachers reported being hesitant about teaching about the election. The survey drew more than 5,000 comments from educators across the United States.

Here in Colorado, the Trump Effect and its hate spillover has focused the spotlight on a clique of  15-odd students at a Boulder High School (Boulder Preparatory High ) calling itself  the “Fourth Reich’s Official Group Chat”  on Facebook. Members talked about starting a movement to kill minorities including Mexicans, Jews and African-Americans as well as other groups targeted by Trump in his assorted outbursts, according to a Boulder police report.

Those like the SPLC who monitor hate groups, assert the Boulder incidents appeared to be much more than simple youthful rebellion, calling it "a product of a dangerously overheated political environment" that has also "seen an increase in bullying and intimidation of fellow students."

After the ring leader offed himself on September 21, to “show his allegiance to the Nazi party and the killing of Jewish people,” according to a police report, the other instigators have also received their comeuppance. Boulder Prep headmistress Lili Adeli said Monday one of the students is in the school’s restorative justice program and is in the process of being allowed back in the school. Another wants to be readmitted, while two others have declined to go back to the school and a fifth student is under a restraining order.

Adeli heself is convinced "mental problems" played a role in the FB hate fest, but that assumes over the top expressions of hate are mental issues. If so, one can rightly ask why Trump himself is walking around yapping in dog whistle form about "rigged elections" and "voter fraud" when he ought to be in a straight jacket at Bellevue.

Meanwhile, Becki Cohn-Vargas, director of the anti-hate organization Not In Our School, points to an April survey of 2,000 K-12 teachers who suggest the rhetoric from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is inciting more anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment in classrooms.  It is clear from Cohn-Vargas survey that kids are picking up on what's happening in this vile campaign- the "worst in American history" according to CBS' Bob Schieffer.  They are especially seeing how Trump is able to get away with his bully boy antics and even outright admissions of assault on women with whom he comes into contact.  Since they observe no payback, naturally many kids who are from dysfunctional backgrounds will believe they can get away with this stuff too.

According to Cohn-Vargas, quoted in yesterday's Denver Post:

"The fact is with this type of election campaign, it’s given license to young people to do hateful things and to repeat those activities online and elsewhere. We’ve definitely seen in an uptick on those types of activities.”

She added that the surge of social media and a 24-hour news churn that recycles biased viewpoints only encourages kids and adults to "drag their already hateful thoughts into the open."  After all, they reason, if Trump can spew his hateful rot then why can't they?  As Cohn-Vargas put it (ibid.):

"It’s appealing for a young person who feels alienated to pick up on one of those groups and be a part of that,”

If this is so, it might also account for the  yen of too many young fools to want to join the ISIS bugs. Michael Langone,  counseling psychologist who tracks cult activity in the United States, said the same strain of alienation that attracts kids to Nazi ideals also leads to young adults signing up for the Islamic State terrorist group. All these kids - like Trump - are losers at heart and want to inflate their identities beyond loser status. The easiest way to do that is to pledge allegiance to the most psychotic nuts - which used to be the Nazis, but now replaced by ISIS.

Langone says:

"We’ve seen many young men who go over to fight for ISIS (the Islamic State) and they are not particularly religious and they were looking for something to make them feel more significant,”

He insists it's the "function of a cult" but I believe it's even more fundamental: it's actually the absence of any moral capacity, as defined by Ethicist Cheryl Mendelson.

See also:


"What’s worse than a political debate that fails to give voters the information they need? One that misinforms them, while at the same time demeaning the democratic process. The final 2016 presidential debate takes place Wednesday night, and expectations are low.
Donald Trump will undoubtedly disgorge more of his predictable and already tiresome tirades. Words will once again pour out in randomly shuffled stacks, like cards dealt by a drunken croupier. One imagines him under the hot lights, reeking of narcissism, Trump “Success” aftershave, and flop sweat."

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