Politicians are supposed to unify, not divide


Zoe Haworth

Politicians are supposed to unify, not divide

By Eric Bradach

It’s no secret that the U.S. has been rampantly evolving into an increasingly divided partisan political environment, and the constant scapegoating by our elected officials will only heighten an already growing wave of prejudice and hate crimes.

According to the FBI’s Nov. 13 Hate Crimes Statistics report, the horrendous offenses slightly increased in the U.S. to 7,321 in 2016 from 6,885 in 2015. On college campuses, they increased from 8.3 percent of all hate crimes in 2015 to 9.9 percent in 2016.

While the uptick may not seem like a news headline to panic over, it highlights a growing trend of political polarization and bigotry that has run amok over the last decade. Just as it seemed society was pulling away from intolerance, it has come back in full throttle. It will be another year before official FBI hate crime statistics are released, but the nation’s polarized society and continuous hateful political rhetoric suggests it will rise again, plaguing educational institutions and endangering students’ safety.

In an Oct. 30 Facebook video, Chennel Rowe—a black University of Hartford at Connecticut student—said she had always felt unwanted by her white roommate, Brianna Brochu, when she moved into their dorm room in August. Soon after, Rowe said she started getting sick with severe throat pain, to the point where it became difficult to speak. 

Rowe said she decided to move out and as she was leaving, a neighbor approached her and showed her Brochu’s latest Instagram post where she gloated about her successful attempts to drive Rowe out of the dorm room.

“Finally did it yo girl got rid of her roommate,” Brochu said in the Instagram post. “After 1 1/2 month of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn’t shine, and so much more I can finally say goodbye Jamaican Barbie.”

Fortunately, Brochu was expelled from the university, banned from entering the campus and charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace. Now, after requests from police, she has been charged with a hate crime, intimidation based on bigotry or bias charges, according to a Nov. 2 Huffington Post article.

Unfortunately, that rationale isn’t present in the nation’s highest office, which is splintering the country. 

President Donald Trump has repeatedly pointed the finger at others to further his divide and conquer political agenda. Whether it’s placing blame on a visa program for the Oct. 31 terror attack in New York City where eight people were killed or blaming transgender individuals for costly military spending in July, he never skips an opportunity to create a larger schism.

These are not new tactics, and while Trump isn’t a tyrant, the tactics have been employed by tyrants throughout history, such as by Adolf Hitler during World War II and Vladimir Lenin during the Russian Communist Revolution. And though both Republicans and Democrats have used these tactics, Trump has taken it to a new level.

Trump swore an oath to defend and preserve the union, and he has done nothing but the opposite. 

All types of bigotry—race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and religion—will always infect society, but it’s incumbent upon our elected officials to lead their constituents away from it and rather, toward unity.