On Thursday, a federal jury found Dylann Roof guilty of the murders of nine black worshippers at a Charleston, South Carolina church last year. As this was major national news, Slate’s chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie scribbled a Slate-certified, fear-mongering diatribe connecting the dots between Donald Trump’s victory and Roof’s unspeakable crime.
To Bouie, “What gave us Donald Trump is what gave us Dylann Roof.” They are, in his estimation, “brothers in white resentment.” Bouie would have us believe that it was no mere coincidence, or at least a kind of negative serendipity, that Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, and just one day later, Roof entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and sat through a Bible study for 30 minutes before slaughtering the innocent victims.
Bouie believes there is a parallel with Trump’s announcement and Roof’s manifesto which explained his racist motives behind the killings.
“Indeed, when read together, Trump’s announcement and Roof’s manifesto offer a duet in racial grievance,” Bouie writes. He makes that conclusion based on Trump’s statements on how illegal immigration from Mexico brings with it a criminal element into America. Roof felt the same about both Hispanics and blacks. Bouie reaches to connect Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan with Roof’s hopes to “awaken white America.”
“Roof’s violence and Trump’s demagoguery flow from a shared swamp of resentment,” Bouie states. And in the same moment he treads carefully that he isn’t completely linking Trump and Roof, Bouie accepts that he must look “with clear eyes… to see the link between demonization and aggression, between Trump’s rhetoric, simmering with menace, and the wave of harassment, intimidation, and outright violence that followed his victory. It’s to see both Donald Trump and Dylann Roof as heralds of the darkest forces in American life, to see their common heritage in a rising tide of white identity and white nationalism.”
It’s an identity Bouie is convinced will thrive under President Trump:
Yes, Roof will face justice. But the ideas that radicalized him will thrive, not just as an amorphous force in American life, but as an active presence in American politics. They will thrive in the West Wing. They will thrive from the Oval Office. They will thrive in rebuke to Barack Obama himself, what he stands for, what he means.
One thing is for sure, Slate will continue to thrive on fear-mongering and stoking the fires of racism.