The Enemy Within

"Donald Trump's campaign statements...have shown that our views are not so unpopular as the Political Correctness crowd have told everyone they are!"

These are the words of head of the American Nazi Party, Rocky J. Suhayda. He and many other leaders of American hate groups have joined together in supporting the Republican Presidential Candidate in his run for office.

With the presidential election now just days away, it is tempting to be relieved that our national nightmare is coming to an end. Trump, after all, has been consistently slipping in the polls. The New York Times forecast currently has Hillary Clinton at around a 90% chance of winning, as of Thursday, October 27th.

With Trump so close to defeat, it’s easy to believe that a Clinton victory will put an end to the madness, and that all of the hateful rhetoric of his campaign can be forgotten.

This view ignores the fact that America was incredibly divided, and in many cases incredibly radical, before Trump ever proposed building a wall. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that there are currently 892 active hate groups in the United States. There is no plausible reason that they would all ever suddenly cease to exist. After all, Trump did not create white nationalism; he simply become a symbol for it.

To make matters worse, during his meteoric rise to the top of the ticket, Trump has emboldened hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Even David Duke, former Imperial Wizard for the Klan, has continually claimed to be a strong supporter of Trump. Trump, to his credit, has tried to distance himself after intense media scrutiny.

The problem with hate groups is that they often support or even perpetrate mass violence against minorities, women, and other vulnerable sects of society.  If (and arguably, when) he loses his grasp on the White House, Trump will have still done enough damage by energizing white supremacists and racists. His words have contributed to a resurgence of hate, according to Heidi Beirich, the director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Intelligence Project.” This is because when he speaks out on national television on proposals like banning all Muslims from entering the United States, he makes these radical ideas seem “mainstream,” and thus validates them in the minds of those listening.

In May, for example, the Leader brothers were arrested in Boston for urinating on the face of a Hispanic homeless man and then beating him brutally with a metal pole. Authorities say that one of the brothers explained of his violent act: “Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported.”

There has also been an incredible rise in homegrown terrorism over the election cycle. Homegrown terrorism, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is any extremist violence perpetrated by American citizens or legal U.S. residents. In the past year alone, there has been a litany of thwarted and successful radical-right terror plots.

As recently as October 14th, a group of men belonging to the “Crusaders,” a militia group with strongly held anti-immigrant beliefs, attempted to bomb a Kansas City residential building that housed 120 Somali immigrants. The men had been stockpiling weapons and explosives for months.

Now, sensing impending defeat, Trump supporters are warning of a “revolution” if Clinton wins, according to an October 27th New York Times article. This comes only days after Trump announced in the third Presidential Debate that he would not accept the results of the election, but only if he loses. His supporters’ threats, combined with his inflammatory comments, hint at more violence and instability to come in the days following November 8th.

With experts now warning that the real terror threat to Americans is from our fellow citizens, it is time to be diligent. If Trump loses, it is not enough to denounce him and move on with our lives. We must make sure to turn our attention away from his attention-seeking brand of misogynistic, Xenophobic, Islamophobic and ableist outbursts.

In addition, Clinton will need to address the Trump issue, while condemning him. Her role in mending the wounds this election cycle has cast on Americans is critical to ensuring that the 2020 election does not follow a similarly brutal path.

- Claudia Franke

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Claudia Franke

Claudia Franke is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is currently majoring in Politics and hopes to minor in Gender and Sexuality studies. She is interested in international affairs, especially regarding conflict resolution and refugee crises. Claudia hopes to attend law school after graduation. In her free time she enjoys running, reading and binge watching Netflix.

Assessing Optimal Aid To Haiti After Hurricane Matthew

The eye of Hurricane Matthew made landfall on the Carolinas on October 7th and the storm’s effects in North Carolina are still being felt a week later. The wicked storm reportedly killed 23 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.

In Haiti, where the hurricane made landfall days earlier, the cleanup and rehabilitation processes are guaranteed to be much more difficult. In Haiti, where official death counts have reached upwards of 100,000 (with many suggesting it may be significantly higher), officials have resorted to burying people in mass graves as the death count has climbed exponentially.

The hurricane’s damage is especially devastating to the tiny island nation of Haiti because it has barely recovered from the 2010 earthquake that hit its capital, Port-au-Prince. The 5.7 magnitude earthquake killed 400,000 Haitians, and in its aftermath, left three million people without food, shelter, water and electricity. As of now, after the hurricane, 770,000 people are still living in emergency shelters.

Progress to restore Haiti’s infrastructure and civil services has been slow moving, however. A 2012 report found that Haiti’s infrastructure, especially public health buildings, had barely recovered. It is estimated that a quarter of all hospitals were destroyed thanks to the natural disaster.

The lack of hospitals and clean water accelerated the spread of an outbreak of cholera.  Cholera, a disease spread by fecal-oral contact, was previously nearly eradicated in Haiti, but as of 2016, an estimated 770,000 people have died. New cases are still reported every month.

While relief efforts are finally picking up speed because of increased public attention to the crisis, there is still much to be done. The issue for many Americans is now where to donate to speed these efforts.

President Obama announced on October 7th in an official statement from the White House, that Americans should donate to the Red Cross to aid the recovery process. Unfortunately, he was wrong, at least according to Haitians’ own requests.

Accordingly, the Red Cross has had issues with aid distribution in Haiti. A 2015 ProPublica Investigation found that the organization had received 500 million dollars for Haitian relief, and had built only six new homes since the earthquake. It was later found that the organization spent 25% of donations on “Internal Affairs,” meaning expenses such as salaries and even end-of-year bonuses. This has warranted it a two star financial rating on Charity Navigator.

The same report scathingly cites issues with the organization such as false claims of success, an over reliance on foreigners who couldn’t speak local languages like French or Creole, and internal fighting.

Many Haitian relief workers are frustrated with the Red Cross and have stated publicly that they don’t want donations from the Red Cross, according to an article published on October 13th by the Washington Post.

The solution, according to Haitians, is to donate to smaller Haiti-based charities and local organizations. This is because Haitian organizations are more likely to understand logistics and how to reach remote communities, according to Samuel Darguin, the executive director of the Haitian American Caucus.

The St. Boniface Haiti Foundation provides assistance for people in isolated parts of the country. It runs several local clinics and hospitals across Haiti, and 2016 marks the tenth consecutive year that Charity Navigator has awarded St. Boniface a four star rating for sound fiscal management.

Food for the Poor provides food, water, and emergency supply donations shipped from the US directly to Haitian emergency workers. Donors can provide any amount they wish.

The Gaskov Clerge Foundation has been designated as an official facilitator for relief efforts in Haiti, and focuses on providing medical examinations, as well as coordinating with the local Ministry of Health Officials in Haiti.

In general, before donating, it is imperative to check Charity Navigator. The site allows donors to see where exactly their money will go within the organization. Charity Navigator has also published a list of the ten best practices for donors.

- Claudia Franke

Photo: Flickr


 

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Claudia Franke

Claudia Franke is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is currently majoring in Politics and hopes to minor in Gender and Sexuality studies. She is interested in international affairs, especially regarding conflict resolution and refugee crises. Claudia hopes to attend law school after graduation. In her free time she enjoys running, reading and binge watching Netflix.