Donald Trump did not invent bigotry. He did not create xenophobia. Or discrimination.
But what has been highly apparent during his rise is how he has emboldened people who do participate in these nefarious behaviors. By calling to make “America Great Again” and giving no single specific strategy about what exactly that means – he’s letting his supporters interpret it however they want.
And to many of our nation’s most despicable people, the time when America was at its “greatest” was when all laws and institutions catered directly for the white majority, while those outside of that group were basically left to fend for themselves.
Whether you like it or not, America is changing. It’s becoming more diverse. And that has always been our basis, ever since its founding nearly 250 years ago.
We are a nation of immigrants.
And right now, those immigrants — especially those from Muslim-majority countries — are feeling extremely scared and vulnerable.
Are Muslim-Americans less protected under law than they were before Trump took office? No.
But do they harbor more fear walking down the street? Taking the train? Just entering a room, not knowing whose inside of it and what reaction they are going to get? Of course.
And this environment, fueled by Trump’s words and actions,, is what will be the man’s lasting legacy.
We do not know if yet if this is what directly led to what happened in Portland last week. In case you were totally consumed with your barbecues or your weekend getaway, three men rushed to the aid of two women who were being accosted with anti-Muslim insults.
The three men — the last of whom is expected to live despite taking a knife slash to the neck — are being hailed as heroes.
And they are. Standing up to hate is what makes us heroic. We can all do it in our own way. These three men saw it before there eyes, and they intervened. Two paid the ultimate sacrifice. Their names are Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Rick Best.
Trump condemned the attack on Twitter … two days later.
After last week’s cowardly attack in Manchester, it’s easy for even the most tolerant of humans to become just a fraction of a bit more suspicious of people of Muslim faith.
But that’s what we have to fight against. What we have to remember is that evil and terror has no faith or creed. It is bound in nothing but pure hate and disillusion. And that we are all in this together.
Three people in Portland didn’t forget that.