For a long time I thought people like Osama bin Laden and the leaders of ISIS were evil. That they fomented violence against the US. They should be blamed for 9/11 and other bombings and murders committed by their supporters.
By was I wrong.
I just learned that propaganda and words have no value. No influence. Mere words cannot be the cause of violence. Or even influence violence. The supporters of Trump have taught me that I was wrong.
Donald Trump has made a living calling for violence against his opponents. Calling the jailing of Hillary Clinton, implying that she is a criminal . Claiming that Barack Obama created ISIS, implying that he is a terrorist. Calling Mexicans and Guatemalan immigrants rapists and murderers. Claiming that CNN is the enemy of the people. The list goes on.
But none of the president’s words or claims or lies has any effect on his supporters. According to Trump and his team. And Fox.
When Trump supporters murder Jews or blacks or immigrants or gays, they are acting only on their own. They are not part of any racist movement. They are not part of any white nationalist agenda. They are not influenced by the President of the United States. Mr Trump can say whatever he wants and it has no effect on them.
So the Trump administration would have us believe. His words have no influence. He cannot be blamed for setting a tone. He has killed no one. He simply says stuff.
Which why I can now proclaim that Osama bin Laden is an innocent. He never flew a plane into the World Trade Center. He could not help it if some of his followers took his rhetoric too seriously. Bin Laden just said stuff. It had no effect on his followers.
And ISIS is innocent. Yes, they say Americans are evil. But it is not their fault that some wack jobs in the Middle East kill Americans to root out evil. Their words do not matter. They have no effect on their followers.
So, let’s stop criticizing racist speech. Let us rehabilitate Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin and the rest. They only said stuff. Like Mr Trump, they are innocent of any actions taken by their followers.
ISIS is innocent.