Racism is alive and well in America, especially on the eve of the mid-term elections. Our website content strives to promote harmony and understanding among all folks in our diverse communities. So this trend, especially the recent hate and violence, is particularly disturbing.

There’s no need to mention the name of the deranged individual accused of sending pipe bombs in the mail to prominent Democratic leaders, including former president Obama. Nor will we identify the alleged killer who slaughtered 11 worshipers in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania synagogue. To do so would give them the attention they crave and the message of white supremacy they wish to deliver.  Both of these men expressed their disdain for minorities and immigrants, the very fabric that best defines our country. With the exception of Native Americans, we are a nation of immigrants. We have always welcomed all who share our values and seek a better life. Sadly, those views seem to be slipping away.

The latest wave of people scorned appears to be the so-called “caravan” of Central Americans heading north through Mexico to seek asylum. The group currently consists of about 1000 young men, women and children from Honduras. The majority are from San Pedro Sula, a city infested with dangerous gangs and known to have the highest murder rate in the world. These folks have few choices. Either stay in their home country and become a statistic or leave. But President Trump has used them as pawns to fire up his conservative base ahead of the election.

“These are very bad people,” suggests Trump, hot on the campaign trail.

In a show of force to please the alt-right, the president wants to deploy up to 1500 active duty troops to join the National Guard in a show of force to “seal off” our southern border. In reality, the military can do very little to aid the border patrol and ICE. However, the strength in numbers help fan the flames and make Trump appear like he means business.

The Mexican government and exiting President Enrique Peña Nieto have stepped up to the plate to help out the caravan group. For those who register and seek asylum in Mexico, they will receive temporary ID’s, housing and work permits, plus schooling for their children. The bad news is that the migrants must remain in Chiapas and Oaxaca, two of Mexico’s poorest states also prone to violence. So the majority have continued the trek north with about 900 miles to go, knowing that the odds are against them to embrace the American dream.

The proper procedure to seek asylum in our country is to show up at a major port of entry, turn yourself in to authorities and be detained while the lengthy process of red tape and a full background check could lead to a court hearing. International treaties in place for decades give immigrants that right, which is why refugees from West Africa and the Middle East are already here in large numbers. President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have done everything in their power to curb immigration, from banning migrants from Muslim countries to tightening asylum laws. And while in detention, children have been separated from their parents for months, a policy that was halted by a federal judge.

To be fair, President Trump is only a fraction of problem in creating the epidemic of hate that continues to rage. Ugly partisan politics from both the right AND the left are to blame. People no longer trust each other, especially if they look different or aren’t mainstream Christians. Bullying is at an all-time high, despite efforts by the First Lady to stop it. And immigrants have become “bad people,” especially if they’re poor. All this must stop because this is not the America we all know and love. Hopefully after this nasty election is over, we can all take a deep breath and reflect on who we are and the hate we must overcome.

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