Hate in the Age of Rhetorical Reproduction
by Rudy Martinez
It’s been a brilliant week for hate, hasn’t it?
Last Wednesday, Gregory Bush, White Man, age 51, killed two black people, aged 69 and 67, at a supermarket in Louisville, Kentucky. Notable details from the incident include Bush’s unsuccessful attempt to enter a predominantly black church mere moments before going on his shooting spree and an interaction with an armed White bystander in which he said, “Whites don’t kill Whites.” According to several sources, Bush’s actions are being investigated as a “possible” hate crime.
A week-long terror-by-mail campaign ended Friday morning when authorities apprehended Cesar Sayoc, White Man, age 56, a former wrestler-cum-avowed Trumpite, in Plantation, Florida. Sayoc stands accused of having sent upwards of 14 packages containing explosives to notable Trump critics, such as the Obamas, the Clintons, and Senator Cory Booker (NJ), and having a van that served as a dead giveaway. President Trump’s initial reaction to Sayoc’s terror campaign was calling for unity, but he quickly followed this up by claiming that the media had to “clean up its act.” CNN’s New York offices were the target of two bombs by Sayoc, and the offices were subject to an evacuation due to the security threat his packages created. Individuals like Sayoc, and those who will inevitably follow, are creations of Trump’s rhetoric. His language has created an arena which shelters individuals like Sayoc, purposeless and full of hatred, and encourages them to embrace their true unhinged selves. Propaganda in the Trump era does not need to be subtle, as he constantly demonizes his political enemies, whether they be individuals or entities, and refuses to place restrictions on the fatal interpretations his followers will act upon. Though a complete psychological portrait of Sayoc has yet to be painted, he must have been certain that his actions would grant him the status of a Trumpian overman.
On Saturday, Robert Bowers, White Man, age 46, convinced that Jews are orchestrating a “genocide on his people,” burst into The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and went on a 20-minute rampage, murdering 11 worshippers, ranging from ages 54-97. It is being reported that as Bowers mowed down his victims, he made repeated references to his desire to kill Jews. Though he is being charged with 29 federal crimes, the act is not being treated as Domestic Terrorism.
On Sunday, Palestinian medics reported the deaths of three boys, ranging from ages 12-14, on the southeastern border between Gaza and Israel. The cause of death, as you may have guessed, was an Israeli airstrike. The Israeli army claims that the boys were approaching the border fence to place an explosive device on it, which falls in line with the logic that the Israeli Army has never killed an innocent Palestinian. So far in 2018, over 160 Palestinians, all of them guilty of existing sans dignity, have been killed by the Israeli Army during weekly protests of a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade at the border.
While trying to ignore my obligation to resist with every action I take during a Brooklyn Nets/Golden State Warriors match-up Sunday afternoon, in which Steph Curry dazzled the crowd with seven three-pointers, I received a news update from The Guardian which read: “Far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro to become next president of Brazil.” Bolsonaro, age 53, is a former paratrooper who doesn’t fancy himself a fan of refugees, women, human rights, the gay community, nor Brazil’s community of color. He now finds himself as the most powerful man in the world’s fourth-largest democracy. Unfortunately, Bolsonaro narrowly averted death last month when he was stabbed during a campaign stop in which he was being carried on the shoulders of a supporter.
The reason this column is being published two days late is because I was convinced I’d find an angle from which to place these stories within a proper context.
That didn’t happen.
This is my trick. This is your treat.
“When reality burns.”
What you decide to do with this information is beyond my control.