As I was reading some of my morning news intake, I came across a story featured in The Huffington Post about what I am calling, “The Architecture of Hate.” The story concerned yet another action by members of the current administration using our government to not only foster hate, but also victimize people and groups for their opposition to it. Jessica Shulberg writes in her HuffPost article that in July of 2017, a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security, Katie Gorka (wife of Sebastian Gorka, disgraced Deputy Assistant to President Trump), targeted the Muslim Public Affairs group and Life After Hate group. Muslim Public Affairs group is a peaceful group that seeks to assist Muslims by helping to build schools and health care facilities. Life After Hate’s exists to help fascists transition away from hate.
Instead of honoring grants to both groups to advance these goals, previously authorized by the Obama administration, Mrs. Gorka sought the DHS withdraw the financial support from them stating, “because my understanding is that the far-left groups (Antifa, or anti-fascist) are currently on the rise.” This sort of talk indicates just how deep both the current administration, and, in some cases, right wing hates groups have dug a foundation for and erected this Architecture of Hate. This kind of activity is sadly not alien to the country, and indeed Tarrant County itself. To see a senior DHS official single out these organizations, enlist Congress, and the Administration to strip them of the crucial funding needed to accomplish their peaceful initiatives indicates the Architecture of Hate is strong and being added to every day.
In North Texas we have suffered with hate crimes. Last August, members of a right-wing group calling itself “the freedom force” deployed men in full military camouflage, assault rifles at the ready, to a rally in Dallas to “defend the south”. Their rally was in support of a statue of Robert E Lee that had been removed after a vote by the Dallas City Council. The statue was erected in 1897 to intimidate and shame our African American community. The only person arrested was one lone counter demonstrator that was opposing the group.
In February of 2018, the Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs convicted a Grapevine man of a hate crime against an African American family in the apartment above his own. “Mr. Halfin admits that…he purchased a baby doll at Walmart, fashioned a rope into a noose, and slipped the noose around the baby doll’s neck. He then hung the noose from the railing directly in front of the staircase the victims used to access their apartment.” He was sentenced to a year in prison.
In January 2019 The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the pastor of a church in Fort Worth, listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, resigned for “sleeping with prostitutes”. This same pastor labeled the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando as the “scum of the earth”. The pastor said of the murder victims, “These 50 Sodomites were all perverts and pedophiles and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now”.
The usual questions at this point are “When will this end?” or “Can’t we all get along?” These sentiments will not do in the current environment. Help us dismantle this Architecture of Hate.
Publisher, The Tarrant Chronicle