Opinion: Extremism and hate popular in the land of diversity

Bruno Beidacki

Before anything else, I am Brazilian. I was not raised in a Republican or Democratic family. I did not grow up in a country led by George W. Bush neither am I directly impacted by most of Obama’s policies. I am an outsider, which means I have no reason to bring bias into the conversation.

Throughout my whole life I heard the United States was the land of diversity. This country was built by immigrants and people from all over the world still come to America in hope of a better life. Why is it, then, that extremism and hatred are so popular? Why are politicians who preach hatred leading the polls?

Based on my (very basic) knowledge of anthropology and sociology, shouldn’t people living in diverse communities be more understanding and open-minded? Apparently not. Since announcing his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has been increasingly more popular. His hate statements get worse every week, but his fan base only gets larger.

Ben Carson said on Sunday that the U.S. should not elect a Muslim president. The comment came shortly after Trump indulged a man in the audience stating, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims” the same week of the Ahmed Mohamed story. Instead of thinking about dropping the race, however, Carson has been receiving heavy support, just like Trump.

Carly Fiorina, another Republican candidate, stated during last week’s GOP debate that if president, she will not communicate with Vladimir Putin, but rebuild missile defense in Poland. She basically said declaring war against Russia is a viable option. Fiorina also used an extremist technique when describing “a shocking abortion video.” What we can see on tape is questionable, but the former Hewlett-Packard CEO said we could see an aborted fetus moving.

Was she called out for exaggerating and condemned for extremist plans? No. Instead she was named the debate winner by several right-wing media outlets. In the polls that came out after the debate, Fiorina is now second behind Trump. It’s hard to understand why America rewards those who do not care about honesty and integrity.

The real problem, however, is not that there are people who preach hatred and believe in very extreme political ideas. What concerns me and should concern you is the fact that our society is promoting and supporting these people. That means these ideas are widely accepted and that a large percentage of americans agree with them.

As a foreigner living and studying in the United States, views like Trump’s, Carson’s and Fiorina’s directly impact me. How long will it take until one of this country’s leaders decide I am no longer welcome here? I doubt those politicians have enough support and power to make that happen, but it is a scary thought. And again, I don’t think I should be scared for being different in the land of diversity.

Bruno Beidacki is a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].