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In Theory: Majority of Americans disturbed by violence against Jews and Muslims, polls find

A majority of Americans are concerned about violence against Jews and Muslims, according to Anti-Defamation League polls.

Of the 5,100 people who were interviewed, 52% were troubled by anti-Semitic violence. Seventy-six percent of those polled were disturbed by violence against Muslims.

The poll also asked about President Trump and the 2016 presidential race.

While most do not believe Trump is personally anti-Semitic, about half believe he should have done more to discourage anti-Semitism during his campaign. An overwhelming 95% of Americans say Trump is anti-Muslim and 53% say he is anti-Latino.

Q. What are your thoughts on the poll?

The polls taken by the Anti-Defamation League reinforce what we already know: The majority of Americans oppose the blatant bigotry of the 45th President. Most didn’t vote for him and don’t support his prejudiced views. This administration has made cruelty to all but the rich and the white its central organizing principle, from sea to rising sea. People of faith and conscience do not countenance such malice and brutality.

Because the anti-democratic Electoral College, originally installed by slave owners, allows a candidate who loses the popular vote to win the presidency, the world is saddled with a callous clown whose popularity sinks by the day. Many among the racist minority who support Trump are unhappy about the success of multiculturalism. Like their reactionary counterparts abroad, the movement toward a more inclusive, diverse and tolerant society is frightening to those who feel left behind by change. Rather than embracing Martin Luther King’s vision of the “Beloved Community” inclusive of people of all races from all places, today’s segregationists want to retreat into their version of a glorious past that never existed.

Author Henry Adams described politics as “the systematic organization of hatreds.” Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism and misogyny are all part of the current regime’s reign of error. If there is a method to the current madness it is certainly rooted in the hatred manifested in police brutality, walls, deportations and endless bombing with no positive result.

I find the ADL poll heartening because it indicates that, despite the 24/7 onslaught of malevolence manifested by Trump and his minions, most people oppose the rush to return to an unkinder, less gentle version of America. I hope that the anti-bigotry majority will continue to seek after Abraham Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature,” rather than sinking into more hatred and division.

David L. Hostetter, Ph.D.
Vice President, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Verdugo Hills
La Crescenta

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I believe Donald Trump has been attempting to address the issues of terrorism and illegal immigration and not necessarily attack any particular ethnic or religious groups. Now these targeted activities tend to involve the members of some ethnic groups more than others, thus potentially exposing the president to charges of racism. But confronting the issues does not make him a racist.

Regarding the opinion that Mr. Trump should have done more to discourage anti-Semitism, I suppose you could charge him with not doing enough about a multitude of other social problems as well. Nobody does enough about every single social problem. During the campaign he managed his time as he saw fit. He addressed the issues to the degree he chose and the American people elected him to office. To demonstrate against him and oppose his agenda will not undo the outcome of the election, but it will hinder any progress our nation will make during his term of office.

Jesus Christ said that “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand” (Mark 3:24). Our nation is deeply divided over a handful of very serious moral issues. Maybe, at least as a beginning point, we should come to the realization that our continued existence depends upon being more willing to work together and less quick to condemn each other.

Pastor Jon Barta
Burbank

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These findings come as no surprise to me. One hundred percent of people I know have thoughts ranging from concern to being scared witless about the Trump presidency’s increasingly dark spirit. In this same poll, two thirds of the respondents also say they believe that the rhetoric of the 2016 campaign has been the cause of decreased tolerance and respect for people of all religions and races.

And let’s be clear about whose rhetoric they are talking about. The candidate who spewed most of the hate in the campaign is the man who failed “bigly” to win over a majority of the voters, yet is the leader of the free world anyway.

Some of his loose talk has proved to be just hot air, but he seems bent, as much as he can focus his scattered thinking on anything, on doing great harm to women, immigrants, the poor and working class, and our climate and environment. A skillful avoider of his military obligation to our nation, he now embraces weapons (wielded by others of course) to further destabilize and inflame areas where decades of war have resulted in only suffering and grief.

My thought is that this disgusting reality show is our real life for now, and it horrifies me.

Roberta Medford
Atheist
Montrose

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I hardly believe that the “majority of Americans” are spending their waking hours worrying that some troglodyte among us might say or do something to menace what constitutes only about 2% of our population (combined). In this day where all it takes is a poll to convince everyone of some perceived truth, I would just say “take it with a grain of salt.” In the grand scheme of things, there are always more crimes against non-Jews and non-Muslims, by virtue of our of our huge difference in number. There are also more groups that oppose one another out there than these, but we don’t hear much about them. I did notice in the materials offered for our evaluation that much of the anti-Semitism was coming from the Muslims toward their tiny rival, so should we concern ourselves more with the majority population oppressing either of these two, or the two despising one another?

As for Trump’s views, it seems that he can’t breathe without being called out as a hater of someone. Imagine if your every off-handed comment or action were scrutinized for possible use against you; you could be found many times worse than our president. And yet, Trump surrounded himself with advisers and aids who are Jewish, not to mention his own kids. And why should this have been an issue during his presidential campaign anyway? Maybe he should have spoken more about the environment, or the preservation of folk music, or taken time to focus on vanishing drive-in theaters, all would have been equally unrelated to the role of president.

As for Muslims, I think the majority of Americans are more worried that one bad apple among their number might harm a large number of us, more so than one among us terrorizing a single one of theirs. Therefore, it seems right for Trump to halt incoming Muslims from American-hating countries. As for Trump’s supposed Latino hatred, the same thing there. We have lots of Latino Americans, but we don’t especially want non-American Latinos pouring over our borders, any more than we’d want opportunistic white Canadians flooding our borders at the top of the map. They aren’t, so they don’t need a wall.

By the way, this was a poll of 5,000 people, about the size of a city high school. C’mon, is that where all these statistics come from? Tell the truth now …

Rev. Bryan A. Griem
Tujunga

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