By Steven Espinosa, Senior
I will never forget where I was when I learned of the terrorist attacks in Paris. It was the night of November 13th, and I was on my way home from internship. The train had just arrived at my stop on the Metrorail, and while waiting for my sister to pick me up, I opened up my Twitter feed only to read of hostages being taken at a concert venue, the Bataclan, during an Eagles of Death Metal show. Rather selfishly, I instantly thought of the last time I went to a concert and wondered just how I would save myself from being murdered by monsters of darkness. My hands began to sweat, and my face started to feel warm. Would I have jumped over the barricade and ran to the back of the stage? Or would I have just played dead and hope for the best on the floor? Would I have made it?
I was not alone in thinking such dreadful horrors. In the coming days after Paris, anxiety plagued the people of France–let alone the entire Western world–and Marine Le Pen, president of France’s far-right, anti-immigration, anti-Muslim party, the National Front, saw a sharp rise in popularity because she tapped into people’s fears by using the attacks in Paris as a call for hate. In the United States, our very own media-created fascist, Donald Trump, and those from the rest of his twisted party carried out the same political tactics by using these attacks as evidence for tightening our own borders and stopping the flow of Syrian refugees into our country, even though not a single refugee from Syria that we’ve taken since the turmoil unfolded there has been responsible for any act of domestic terrorism.
So it was only obvious that the same use of fake logic and low rhetoric would once again keep me disgusted after the attacks on San Bernardino. However, an impromptu message from the White House from President Obama in his Oval Office made me feel: “Finally! Something that will finally make me think!”
And I watched his speech. And I nodded my head a couple of times. And I shook my head a couple of times. And then it was over.
I’m not sure about what the rest of the country was expecting, but I am sure I got what I wanted: A calm, clear conversation with Obama about what we’re already doing in the Middle East to fight ISIL (whom the attackers in San Bernardino were inspired by) and a call for “common-sense” bills on gun control, like keeping those on no-fly lists from obtaining a gun, which every Republican senator voted against.
It wasn’t meant to be a “hot” or “sexy” news story, unlike Donald Trump’s call for the end of gun-free zones or a total ban on the immigration of Muslims a few days later, the latter of which the media quickly jumped at like dogs playing fetch. It was meant to be a promise of security to reassure the public that we can be safe and free without turning our backs on our Muslim friends. And the fact that I feel like Trump’s call for fear was more well-received than Obama’s call for reason deeply worries me about the future of our country. Is this really where we stand? Is this really where we’re going?
My thoughts on Trump have changed a bit since last time I wrote on this newsletter. He is not just a celebrity anymore. He is not just a comedian. He is not just a privileged white guy with a God complex.
We need to start calling him out for what he really is: a fascist with no regard for democracy, freedom, and our Constitution.