Throughout the campaign, president-elect Donald Trump energized an angry base with subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, comments about minority groups and the opposing political party.
He made veiled comments suggesting violence and made it acceptable to speak out and act out against racial, ethnic and religious minorities. To some in the United States, his victory was a validation of the hateful attitudes they have harbored – generally quietly – toward these groups for a long time.
Since the election, Trump has somewhat distanced himself from these attitudes and words. He has not come out and called them wrong, but he has also not worked to energize and prod them as he did through the campaign. It is not enough, though.
Now that Trump has been elected, whether all Americans want it and whether he wants it, he represents all Americans. His responsibility is to look out for the welfare, rights and good of all Americans.
There were more than 900 incidents of harassment and intimidation across the nation in the first 10 days following the election. Reports have slowed, but we still see daily reports of sickening hate crimes such as Muslims being harassed in the streets, swastikas being painted on churches and verbal assaults caught on video across the country.
We all have a responsibility to speak out and act when we see these actions, but there is only one person who can effectively and quickly put a stop to it, and that’s the man who used it to his advantage before.
Now is Trump’s opportunity to show he is not really the man who objectifies women, sending the message that sexual assault is acceptable. Now is his chance to defend Muslim Americans, Mexican immigrants and the disabled.
It shows a truly dark side to our politics that a man would use such incendiary, hateful tactics to win an election. But now the best we can hope for is that’s all it was, and he will step up and speak out against those who took his words to heart and acted on them.