Today the New York Times posted a video “Unfiltered: Voices From Trump’s Crowds,” featuring footage its reporters have shot at Republican nominee Donald Trump’s rallies over the past year. The video aims to capture the tone of the language used among fans at Trump crowds, language that often revolves around hatred and violence, and is filled with crude slurs.
It is a sinister sight to watch. Masses of people shout racial slurs against Hispanics and our black President, they call for the lynching of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and they hurl anti-LGBTQ epithets. Trump has styled himself as the only viable outlet for hatred that has been teeming under the surface for years. There are some ideological concerns voiced at Trump rallies – it is, for example, a valid political point of view to be staunchly opposed to illegal immigration. However, it often seems as though the real purpose is a defiant vocalization of rage and hatred.
We must not forget why our society began to censor itself. We do not endorse any official censorship because we believe in the fundamental right of every person in America to free speech. But we do not lament society learning to censor itself. It became socially unacceptable to be anti-semitic in the decades following the Holocaust that sent waves of Jewish immigrants to America. Society began to police itself because it realized how hateful its antiquated perceptions of Jews were, and the catastrophic consequences that can arise from such ideologies.
What happens to a free society when it begins to uncensor its vile past? What happens when we go from discussing uncomfortable topics to shouting them in their most extreme forms? The result is not likely to be pretty.
Watch the full video here (note that it contains profanities and racial slurs):