As children, most of us learn that winning isn’t everything and that we need to be gracious regardless. It can be hard to understand how to express oneself in a gracious way after any competition. It can be especially hard if someone who is held with high regard or is seen as an authority figure encourages bad behavior. When that person throws insults at people who he dislikes or who challenge him, you insult them to appease him. When he says he wants someone punched in the face, you might actually punch them in the face. When that person tells a group that he will pay their legal fees if they hurt someone for him, you might think he will have your back if you do something illegal. People don’t always behave rationally when egged on by their idol.
After Donald Trump lost in Utah, his fanbase immediately started talking about how Mormons conspired to make him lose the state. Tonight, a more prominent Trump fan started stirring that pot by pontificating about why a Mormon state like Utah would turn its back on Trump & vote for Ted Cruz. This was all other fans needed to see to begin their anti-Mormon tweets.
I saw one in particular who felt the need to suggest Mormons are child molesters. He was talking about the FLDS1 cult and I pointed this out. At first, he seemed to be interested in learning the differences. I thought that maybe he was a confused, but decent person.
I. Was. Wrong.
I was so very wrong.
I understand politics can bring out passionate reactions in some, but that doesn’t excuse this. Nothing can. Being me, of course I blamed myself at first. You see, I was on a Twitter account I had created to show that Trump is not really distinguishable from certain public figures and fictional characters. It was a bit of entertainment for me. So my thought as I read that I deserved “to be raped by several men for God” was that I had brought this on myself. Luckily, that thought was quickly discarded as I remembered that I was not the one making a threat or encouraging the threats.
I mainly blame this user. I also blame Donald Trump. I blame every person who has amplified Trump’s hateful rhetoric. I blame people who don’t challenge Trump. I blame the people who look the other way on the threats and violence by Trump supporters. We haven’t randomly gotten to a point where these threats are made. This has been building since Trump announced his candidacy. Maybe even before that.
But it has to stop.
Trump’s threat of riots if he isn’t nominated will likely come true. If people like this guy are inspired by Trump, we are in a world of hurt. No matter whether he gets the nomination or wins in November, the hate in the hearts of people like this user has been awakened. And it won’t just go away.
It doesn’t help that many turn a blind eye to these threats of retribution. I asked in an LDS group on Facebook for people with Twitter accounts to report this user.2 Well, a user seemed to think this was an odd request.3 I explained my reasoning & pointed out that this isn’t just some random rude comment about or to a single person. This person is threatening millions of people. That’s a big deal.
Donald Trump needs to get it across to his followers that they should behave like adults. I guess he will have to learn how to act like one first, though. He needs to say the threats and violence should stop, but then he’d have to stop inciting both.
Americans need to work together to stop this hateboner crowd from completely demolishing this country, its laws, and its freedoms. There is no excuse for allowing Trump or his followers to continue to encourage hatred & violence. There is no excuse for a candidate who inspires his followers to threaten rape or murder.
Speak up and speak out to end this retribution game.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ↩
I know that Twitter sometimes acts more quickly on threats and abuse if multiple people report the behavior. ↩
Even if the threats are just some random asshole being an asshole, the first response to these threats should not be, “Well, what do you expect me to do about this?” It should be obvious what you should do. ↩