Unleashing the Dogs of Hate

by Bob Schwartz


You will be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that this post about Trump was written today. IT WAS WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED IN MARCH 2016, TWO-AND-A-HALF YEARS AGO. At the time, many public people—including responsible politicians of both parties and the media—treated Trump’s pathology as a joke or a temporary symptom that would quickly pass. They should have been shouting in protest and we should have been scared. Are we scared yet?

“Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war”
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1

This time it is the dogs of hate. Enabled and emboldened by Donald Trump. He is so arrogant and ignorant of history that he probably believes he can control them. That with one word from him they will attack. That with another word from him they will stop.

Of course, that isn’t how it works.

There has long been an undercurrent of hate and intolerance in this country, no different than anywhere else at any other time. It has its outcroppings in repressive laws and unembarrassed public behavior. We have taken measures as a majority to dull its practical effect and, hopefully, to change hearts and minds.

Donald Trump is the latest—but not the last—to try to harness that dark energy for his own ambition.

But that is always playing with fire or dynamite. Haters gonna hate. And when allowed or encouraged, haters gonna take that hate out on others. Others, for example, at political rallies. Others who they blame for whatever is wrong in the country or in their lives.

No one knows where this all goes. When the dogs of hate, under the banner of legitimate politics, have been set loose.