The Guilfordian

Staff Editorial: Synergy is vital to the protection of freedom

The horrific events of the past week has reinforced the prevalence hate and politically-motivated crimes in America. The shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue this weekend has only highlighted the need for us to come together as a nation. The man accused of killing 11 people and injuring 6 others, Robert Bowers, was largely involved in radical right message boards like Gab, which promote extremist ideals, neo-nazism and white nationalism.

Cesar Sayoc Jr., a suspect in the pipe bomb mailing campaign, was also very active on social media, mostly Facebook and Twitter, posting other radical right ideas, conspiracies and general misinformation.

Both of these instances, and many others, show the need for the rhetoric surrounding politics to change. For us to be successful as a nation, we need to accept our differences and come together to solve the issues ahead of us. Thankfully, examples like this already exist.

After the news broke about the shooting, the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh raised over $70,000 to add to a fundraising campaign aimed at supporting the victims of the tragedy. The center’s executive director, Wasi Mohamed, also offered protection for the victims next religious service. Examples like this need to be emphasized for their ability to help pull together communities after tragedy, showing that no matter your social, religious or other cultural identity, these type of events have no place in our society.

Increasingly, our nation has become more divisive, creating an us-versus-them situation on both sides. If we continue down this path, we risk the chance of such atrocious acts happening again.

Furthermore, social media companies need to be accountable for the hate they are allowing users to spread. Following the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue, Gab, heavily utilized by members of the fringe-right and host to Bowers’ anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, was forced to shut down after losing platforming and hosting providers.

Politically, our nation needs to be able to speak together in a positive manner. We need to be able to set aside our differences, pull ourselves together and move forward, while at the same time establishing that we have no tolerance for the hate politics of the fringe-right.

The Guilfordian stands for the freedom to practice one’s religion without fear, discrimination, or hatred. Nobody deserves to be victimized for their beliefs, and it’s time we take a proactive approach to combatting discrimination and hate.

 

Reflecting Guilford College’s core Quaker values, the topics and content of Staff Editorials are chosen through consensus of all 13 editors and one faculty adviser of The Guilfordian’s Editorial Board.

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