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Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi | Trump has normalized bigotry. We must fight back.

It feels like we have taken a giant step back in time. There is a palpable hatred and distrust in America for those who are different. If my parents were arriving in the U.S. today from India, how would they be treated? Would they be respected as global citizens or denigrated as “others”?

With each passing day and divisive tweet from the White House, our diverse nation feels further ripped apart — like taking scissors to a piece of leather, eroding the integrity of a once seemingly unified article.

Since President Trump descended the escalator at Trump tower to launch his campaign over four years ago, we have watched tolerance toward those who are different fall as well. The President’s propagation of conspiracy theories, as I noted in my questioning of Fiona Hill during the impeachment inquiry, has been felt overwhelmingly by marginalized communities.

Trump and his allies are promoting hate-baiting propaganda that is seeping onto cable TV airwaves, in local community conversations and political discourse.

Since taking office, President Trump has empowered racism and extremism as a mainstream view by refusing to condemn the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA and accusing American Jews of disloyalty. We should not be surprised by who President Trump is; for decades he has pushed racist conspiracy theories and stereotypes.

The President has undermined our social fabric by pushing hateful rhetoric against not only the Jewish community, but also Muslims and others, adding fuel to the fire of division that is rotting our nation at its core.

Regardless of our background, religion or ethnicity, we all deserve respect, to be treated fairly and equally. We respect those we hold close — family and friends — but also those we may never meet. Standing up for what’s right should not be done only when it is convenient. It should be done when it is necessary — often and repeatedly if needed.

With this weighing on my conscience, I feel compelled to speak out on how the anti-Semitic attacks that have escalated in recent months and years are not simply a correlation with President Trump’s tenure in office. Under this administration, the erosion of decency and respect among our nation’s many cultures, religions, and ethnicities has led to tangible acts of hatred and violence.

In Illinois, my home state, with our multi-ethnic enclaves and richly diverse communities, we have seen the impact of this troubling national trend. In May, the Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago was attacked by an assailant who tried to set fire to a synagogue using Molotov cocktails. Swastikas have also been found on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus and at several high schools across the state.

Nationally, the attacks are front page news. Last year, the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh was the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in American history, killing 11 and wounding six others.

Creating an environment where hatred is normalized is not normal, not today, not ever. We cannot afford to stay silent, and we cannot afford to ignore it because it doesn’t impact “us.” We would not accept this from anyone in a position of power, and we certainly shouldn’t accept it from the President of the United States.

The bonds that hold our nation together and make us the envy of the world are under attack. Our diversity is our strength. It is our heartbeat. It is our immigrant story.

We cannot let Donald Trump and his blindly loyal team of advisors define our country by taking us to our lowest point. We must fight against the hate they employ to divide us.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois., a former attorney, serves on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


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