During an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday night, Eric Trump said something that treaded a moral line.
"To me they're not even people," he said of his father's critics before quickly continuing on, but those words were disturbing enough to stop some in their tracks.
The easiest way to maintain a severely divided status quo, to erase all chances of compromise, and to even commit acts of violence against others is to dehumanize them. Given how polarized America is right now, it is not dramatic to recognize the danger in Eric Trump's words, and it is wise to take the time to measure them against the greater context in which they were delivered.
The 2016 presidential election set an already smoking America on fire. Families were divided, friends regarded each other with distrust, and communities battened down to prepare for an uncertain, but challenging, future. It threw the two major political parties into even starker contrast and made vicious acts of hate permissible.
In short, President Donald Trump's rise to power created a climate ripe for the best parts of humanity to be tested in terrible ways.
So when Eric Trump says that he does not see his father's critics (i.e. the political left) as people, we must take him at his word because we have seen how this outlook can cruelly manifest. When we start to "other" each other, we rob ourselves of our humanity. The results are stolen lives and a nation that is nothing more than a wasted opportunity in which our worst selves are pitted against one another.
During the interview with Hannity, and shortly after his problematic statement concerning the left, Eric Trump also said this: "Morality’s just gone, morals have flown out the window, we deserve so much better than this as a country.”
He's absolutely right, but he is also preaching from a glass pulpit. When he, a man in a position of notable power, reveals that he no longer sees a part of America as human, and then goes on to pontificate about morality, it is a menacing sign of where our country stands right now. It is a sign of how it will spiral downward unless we cling to each other's humanity as fiercely as we fight for our own.