Vicki Polin
Social Justice Activist

Could the increase of hate in the US end in Genocide?

I find myself constantly flashing back to my college days when I took several history courses on “Genocide and the Holocaust” taught by Professor Leon Stein at Roosevelt University.

Over the last several years there has been a tremendous increase of hate in the United States being spewed by various right-winged organizations which often refers to themselves as “Christian Nationalists”.  It appears that their hate is aimed against anyone who doesn’t follow their ideologies and or agenda.  Sadly the amazing concept I was taught as a child to “embrace people for their differences”  has been disappearing quickly from the minds of some American citizens and being replaced by the dangerous “us and them” mentality.  This change started around the same time Donald Trump became president, when he made it “trendy” to hate.

I started seeing aspects of genocide in the United States when Donald Trump implemented his policies on migrants, especially when our country started separating migrant children from their parents and or their caretakers.

Since the insurrection on January 6, 2021, when the cult like movement of the “Christian Nationalist” (which has strong ties to the Republican Party) attempted to overturn the 2020 election. Those who call themselves Christian Nationalist have showing us by their actions that they do not believe in the United States constitution or in American Democracy.  Instead they are attempting to reinterpret the words and meanings written by our forefathers.  

I personally wish I knew what to do to stop the insanity and return the United States to the amazing country it’s meant to be. Watching what’s occurring makes me wonder what will it take for humankind to learn from the atrocities created in the past to stop repeating this form of madness?  I foolishly wanted to believe the American people were more progressive and beyond recreating this type of behavior.

I want to specify that I personally do not belong to a political party because I don’t believe in “Groupthink”.  I refuse to be pressured by an individual, organization, clergy member, political party, etc. to tell me who to vote for.  I will say I personally believe the only way we can turn things around for our country is if in the next election we refuse to vote for candidates who affiliate themselves with “Christian Nationalist”, if we don’t the United States will no longer be the free nation we love. 

According to the United Nations, genocide is an internationally recognized crime where acts are committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. It’s up to each individual to decide for themselves if you believe those who call themselves “Christian Nationalist” are heading our nation towards committing genocide.  Acts of genocide fall into the following five categories:

  1. Killing members of a group of people.
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group of people.
  3. Deliberately inflicting on a group of people conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group of people.
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group of people to another group.

There are a number of other serious, violent crimes that do not fall under the specific definition of genocide. They include crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and mass killing.  

Back when I was in college I learned about the “Ten Stages of Genocide”.  When I look at what’s occurring in the United States, I find the need need to speak out and shine a light on the warning signs.  Once again it’s up to each individual reading this article to decide for themselves if our nation is heading down a dark and scary path.

1. Classification
Groups in a position of power will categorize people according to ethnicity, race, religion or nationality employing an us versus them mentality.

2. Symbolism
People are identified as Jews, Roma or Tutsis, etc., and made to stand out from others with certain colors or symbolic articles of clothing.

3. Discrimination
A dominant group uses laws, customs, and political power to deny the rights of other groups. The powerless group may not be granted full civil rights or even citizenship.

4. Dehumanization 
The diminished value of the discriminated group is communicated through propaganda. Parallels are drawn with animals, insects or diseases.

5. Organization
A state, its army or militia design genocidal killing plans.

6. Polarization
Propaganda is employed to amplify the differences between groups. Interactions between groups are prohibited, and the moderate members of the group in power are killed.

7. Preparation.
The victims are identified, separated and forced to wear symbols. Deportations, isolation and forcible starvation. Death lists are drawn up.

8. Persecution
Victims are identified and isolated based on their ethnic or religious identity. Death lists are drawn up. In state sponsored genocides, members of victim groups may be forced to wear identifying symbols. Their property is often expropriated.

9. Extermination
The massacres begin. The perpetrators see their actions as “extermination” since they do not consider their victims to be entirely human.

10. Denial
The perpetrators of the genocide deny having committed their crimes. Victims are often blamed. Evidence is hidden and witnesses are intimidated.

About the Author
Vicki Polin is a feminist who has been a Social Justice Activist since her childhood. Vicki is also an award winning, retired psychotherapist who worked in the anti-rape field for just under forty years. For fun Vicki is an artist and nature photographer.
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