By: Mark Glennon*
I was at the Illinois GOP event at the Palmer House in Chicago Friday night, which was the other target of protesters along with Donald Trump’s cancelled event at UIC. Before going, I read an email from my U.S. Congresswoman, Jan Schakowky, calling for protests at both events. It read:
Donald Trump, Bruce Rauner, and Ted Cruz are going to descend on Chicago to spread their message of intolerance, racism, and hate. We need to stand up to their disgusting rhetoric and remind them that Chicago won’t tolerate the garbage they are spewing.
I saw plenty of hate, but it was outside the event and not in it. Protesters were rabid and as incendiary as Schackowsky’s email. “Gang of Hate,” “Racism” and “Bigotry” said most of the signs and chanting.
Exactly what is it that makes the attendees hateful racists, as they see it? Presumably, immigration, primarily. But does it matter that every major Illinois politician in both parties supports comprehensive immigration reform including a path to normalization? Nah. Can’t let facts get in the way of the narrative of hatred and bigotry. Bipartisan, broad consensus on immigration and normalization is an untold story in Illinois, affirmed with support of faith groups, immigrant rights groups, business leaders, university officials and virtually all major officeholders, including Governor Rauner.
Illinois officeholders speaking at the event included Congressmen Dold and LaHood, Senator Kirk and Governor Rauner. Each of their talks prioritized ideas for jobs and opportunity for the poor and middle class. Just more hateful bigotry to some, apparently.
One journalist on the left who got this right is Mark Brown of the Sun-Times. No fan of Trump, he wrote today, “Protesters can’t blame Trump crowd for this ugliness.” He’s right. Trump shares blame for some of the stupid and inflammatory things he has said, but the protests themselves were an orgy of vicious race-baiting and hate-baiting.
“Race-baiting” has been defined as the unfair use of statements about race to try to influence the actions or attitudes of a particular group of people. “Hate-baiting” should be a defined term, too. Just substitute the word, “hate” for “race” in that definition. You see it all the time now, including from critics of us here. “Haters gonna hate” is the response we’ve heard even in response to stories on public pensions.
When I came home, I checked the mail and looked at the reassessment notice on my home. Another 20% increase. Increases like that are maddening for me, but ruinous for people like the tens of thousands of working class black families in Chicago suburbs, who have already had their homes all but confiscated by property taxes, as we documented here. Which side insists on capping regressive property taxes? Those hateful bigots inside the Palmer House event. I then looked at a story on local unemployment numbers. I didn’t finish it. Tough to think about attracting employers after Chicago disgraced itself so badly.
“We won!” came the chant from the hundreds in the street, wrote Mark Brown. He added, “I don’t think so.”
I don’t think so, either.
*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.