Main Street leaders campaign to stem the tide of hateful rhetoric consuming the national political dialogue and threatening local economies
Donald Trump chose to drive a wedge between us, following a violent act of vandalism at the Orange County North Carolina GOP Headquarters. With the identity of the perpetrators still unknown and their motives unclear, Mr. Trump took to Twitter calling them “animals” who “represented Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.”
Main Street Alliance believes the actions taken in North Carolina are un-American, and so too is the dehumanizing language and swift form of social media justice deployed by Donald Trump in response. In choosing to make such a statement, Donald Trump doubled down on the vitriol and fear mongering that helped secure him the nomination, while only adding to racial and political tensions.
Name-calling and publicly casting judgment on entire groups, based upon the actions of a few, have become a cornerstone of the Trump campaign. It’s a problem Main Street Alliance leaders have taken head on during the 2016 election with the #HateHasNoBizHere campaign.
The campaign encourages small business owners to make clear statements of principles to stem violence we saw this weekend in North Carolina. Business leaders in Minneapolis started the campaign from their restaurant, Common Roots Cafe, which caters to a diverse clientele, including the nation’s largest population of Somali-Americans.
Soon, the campaign stretched across the country, with business owners from Seattle to Burlington, Vermont, taking lead. The campaign aims to shed a light on the swell of hate and fear permeating our national dialogue as dangerous and bad for businesses and our local economies.
“Just being able to say, you know, hate has no business here is a good reminder to people that they should second guess this rhetoric when they hear it. They should say ‘wait a minute, this is just not correct.’ It’s all too easy to get sucked into the angry politics and not think about what it really means,” said Diana McLeod, the owner of Tradewinds in Burlington, Vermont.
When a simple statement of condemnation and gratitude towards law enforcement conducting the investigation would have sufficed, Donald Trump resorted to insults and blame. Appearing incapable of exercising restraint, Mr. Trump once again chose to fan the flames of hatred. It’s that kind of hatred that Main Street small business owners should and will challenge at every turn, for the good of our businesses and our country.
"America must be a place where people from all nations, races and creeds seeking freedom and opportunity feel welcome and can build safe, prosperous lives for themselves and their families,” said Amanda Ballantyne, National Director of Main Street Alliance. “When politicians and pundits target people in our communities for political gain, when they fan the flames of hatred and fear, it must be met head-on with clear statements of principle from local business owners as leaders in their communities.”
Despite Mr. Trump’s hateful and misguided reaction, North Carolina Democrats circulated a donation page via GoFundMe that has already raised over $13,000 from more than 500 donors, with the goal of getting the office back up and running. That is the spirit of community and camaraderie that makes America great.
“As a member of the Main Street Alliance Executive Committee, I can tell you that members are deeply disturbed by the rising tide of hateful rhetoric and violence aimed at members of our community, at refugees fleeing violence, at immigrants and people of color,” said David Borris, Owner of Hel's Kitchen Catering, Illinois. “We want to make it very clear that we do not share in this hateful rhetoric, and our businesses thrive from diverse populations."