On Friday, the Baltimore Jewish Council held a community observance to memorialize the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings. The 11 speakers, each of whom lit a memorial candle, one for each of the 11 victims, addressed the assembled crowd at the Park Heights Jewish Community Center.
As expected, each speaker was eloquent, somber and compassionate. Their words were comforting, but they illustrated a glaring divide in American society. Unity, trust, understanding, compassion and community were the themes of the remarks. The community leaders, governor, mayor, county executive, senators and clergy, described a society which is, but should not be, utopian and seemingly out of reach (“Baltimore Jewish leader: Synagogue shooting 'very personal,’” Nov. 1). I could not help but compare the idealized world the speakers described to the bifurcated, divisive, hate-driven world we hear about from the White House and its supporters. Just one example is the Republican campaign commercial now airing, shamelessly linking a notorious cop-killer, Luis Bracamontes, an illegal immigrant, to the Democrats. The message is clear: Latin Americans are coming and they are killers. Beware! Be afraid!
This message has not changed since President Donald Trump rode down his golden escalator and told us that Mexican rapists were invading and we better keep them out. This, in a country whose great accomplishments stem, in many instances, from the contributions of immigrants.
Words matter. Words of hate, fear and divisiveness matter greatly.
That you shall reap what you sow is a lesson dating back two thousand years. This administration has sown division, distrust and xenophobia from its first day. Sadly, the violent events of recent weeks show us that we are reaping what has been sown.