Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has criticized President Barack Obama for not saying America is at war with “radical Islamic terrorists.” (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Language matters. There have been many calls for President Barack Obama to label Jihadist terrorists “radical Islamic terrorists” – but these same people do not ask that the many recent mass shooters be identified by the term “radical Christian terrorists.”

Opinion boxTrue, our way of life is under attack. But not by terrorists wanting a world Islamic caliphate. Rather, we are under attack by divisiveness promoted by those who seek high political office and are willing to exploit such events with this language. Americans are allowing hatemongers interested only in their political careers to undermine the basic core values of our society, showing confusion and fear that has Americans calling for Muslims to be placed on surveillance lists regardless of whether they have been involved with criminal activity. And now politicians are promoting discriminatory behavior by proposing to accept only Christian Syrian refugees seeking safety in America, whether they have a criminal past or not.

My family is part of an ever-growing list of American families that have been touched by mass killings. My nephew’s girlfriend, Lauren Rousseau, was one of the teachers killed at Newtown, Conn.’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. “If the tragedy would not have occurred we would be planning a wedding,” my brother has told me. But there were no discussions about the religion of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza after his attack. And no discussion of rounding up those suffering from mental illnesses or surveilling them.

These shootings are becoming a regular headline in the papers, a new status quo that is utterly terrifying. But a terrorist is a terrorist, no matter what religion they may or may not be acting on behalf.

Hate language and the people promoting it are the true enemies of America that will lead to more internal harm than any external attack could bring. These fighting words will only promote a civil war within our own country, rather than addressing the issue at hand. Those who use this discriminatory and ignorant language are more of a threat to America than those with the ammo.


Emmanuel “Manny” Lusardi is an East Cambridge resident.