There is no doubt that opening the doors to hate and violence while promoting false narratives have led us to the current moment where peaceful protesters are not safe to march in the streets of the US without fear of being threatened or attacked. — Dana Fisher, Opinion Contributor, Business Insider
There is no doubt that opening the doors to hate and violence while promoting false narratives have led us to the current moment where peaceful protesters are not safe to march in the streets of the US without fear of being threatened or attacked. — Dana Fisher, Opinion Contributor, Business Insider
America is shattering in two
  • There are worrying signs that the US is heading towards a schism.
  • Trump is reportedly talking about imposing martial law, there are violent protests in the streets, and public officials are being threatened with violence.
  • Trump is fueling this break with inflamed rhetoric and a culture of untruths.
  • As the left becomes more active in protest, Trump continues to contest the result of the election, and the inauguration looms these conflicts seem to be only the beginning.
The slippery slope that led to our hyper-polarized tribal politics began well before the 2016 election. But there's no doubt that the election of Donald Trump and his four years in office stoked the flames of partisanship.

There are three interrelated factors playing into the heightened tensions and increased violence of the current moment.

First, the president and his allies have coaxed hate out of the dark corners of society where it had been relegated by social norms. Second, the Trump administration has cultivated a culture of untruths and alternative facts. And third, misinformed Americans have been emboldened to challenge the legitimacy of the US government and take up arms in the streets.

... Given the way he ran his 2016 campaign, no one should have been surprised that President Trump has spent his time in office publicly engaging in hate speech with personal attacks against women, people of color, elected officials, and anyone who disagreed with him. Thanks to social media, this information has been transmitted in an unfiltered way to his followers.


While previous leaders from both political parties have stood firm against hate, condemning acts of violence, the president has refused to censure such acts or even white supremacism generally. Back in Summer 2017, after peaceful counter protesters of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia were attacked, the President responded to the violence with his famous statement noting that "you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides."

More recently at the presidential debate in September, when asked to condemn white supremacy, the president responded by calling out the Proud Boys by name, encouraging them and enabling xenophobia. In his own words: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what: Somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

These efforts to empower hate have been bolstered by Trump and his team's work to promote false narratives. As early as 2013, Donald Trump was publicly challenging the scientific consensus around climate change and calling it a hoax. Since then, challenging science and fact has been a hallmark of the Trump presidency.

... Four years of watching the president demolish the norms of political and civil discourse in our country has taken its toll; It has led us to this moment where civil unrest is becoming commonplace.

In contrast to the claims by the president, though, the unrest has not been driven by left-wing activists or the vague and undefined "Antifa."

... With the inauguration coming in five weeks and rumors of more efforts to challenge the transition of power, there is no doubt that opening the doors to hate and violence while promoting false narratives have led us to the current moment where peaceful protesters are not safe to march in the streets of the US without fear of being threatened or attacked. In other words, this may be only the beginning.