We often hear that Donald Trump expresses what many conservatives have felt for some time — that he is a voice for the “silent majority.” He is also the political embodiment of the vile hatred that some conservatives have unleashed out loud for years, and his rhetoric is only going to make things worse.
Elisabeth Geschiere, a pedi-cab driver, was working on Nicollet Mall when she recognized a friend, Jamila Boudlali, standing outside of the Dakota Jazz club. She came over and started talking with Boudlali, and her friend Anwar Hijaz, who were downtown for an afterparty for Netroots Nation, the progressive political blogging conference. Both Hijaz and Boudlali were wearing Muslim headscarves.
That apparently attracted the attention of a gray-haired man — 52-year-old Gilmore — who suddenly approached the trio and said the name, “Ayan Hersi Ali.” Ali is a vocal, female critic of Islam. The three women tried to brush him off, saying they did not want to debate with him.
And that, according to cops and witnesses, is when Gilmore became belligerent, taking photos of the women, and demanding to know why they were in the U.S. Geschiere says when she asked him to stop taking their photo, things only escalated.
That Gilmore is attracted to a man who wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States (and who recently voiced support for expanding that ban) is no surprise.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about Trump is how he has emboldened violent racists like Gilmore. Angry, Islamophobic supporters like Gilmore have been conditioned to believe that outwardly expressing their hatred is empowering and important.
Gilmore’s confrontation in 2011 was ugly enough. What might he do when he’s egged on by a sitting president?