Obama's latest tweets consoled a grieving nation in a way that Trump never could

NDU Audio Visual / Flickr

Last May at a rally in Florida, President Trump asked the crowd how to deal with immigrants illegally crossing the U.S. border.

"How do you stop these people?" he asked.

"Shoot them!" one man shouted.

The crowd responded with a wicked laugh and Trump didn't even bother to denounce the man in the audience. Instead, he replied with humor. "That's only in the Panhandle you can get away with that stuff," he said. "Only in the Panhandle."

Trump has said that unauthorized migrants "pour into and infest" the United States. "You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!" he declared at one rally. "That is an invasion!"

On Saturday morning, a 21-year-old man murdered 21 people in the border town of El Paso, Texas at a Walmart. Before the shooting rampage, he wrote a manifesto decrying an "invasion" of immigrants. He also stated that his anti-immigrant sentiments "predate Trump."


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While Trump clearly did not pull the trigger, as the President of the United States, he's the most powerful man on the planet, and his dehumanizing language about immigrants encourages racist extremists.

"The people who carry out these attacks are already violent and hateful people," Nathan P. Kalmoe, an Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University who has studied hate speech, told the New York Times.

"But top political leaders and partisan media figures encourage extremism when they endorse white supremacist ideas and play with violent language," he continued. "Having the most powerful person on Earth echo their hateful views may even give extremists a sense of impunity."

In the aftermath of the two gruesome mass shootings over the weekend, former president Barack Obama took to Twitter to console a grieving nation in a way that President Trump never could. Obama also called out Trump, without using his name, for helping to create a climate of fear and hatred:

We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don't look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that American belongs to just once certain type of people.

Obama then connected the type of rhetoric Trump uses to some of the greatest tragedies in human history.

Such language isn't new — it's been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.

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He then called for Americans of all political stripes to stand up against Trump's hateful and dangerous rhetoric.

And it's time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much — clearly and unequivocally.

Here's the entire statement.

Democracy
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

There's a difference between dieting and being healthy, and often times, overattention to what you consume can lead to disordered eating. Eating disorders are dangerous and can affect anyone, but they're especially concerning in adolescents. Which is why WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is facing intense criticism for its new app, Kurbo, targeted toward kids ages eight to 17.

The app uses a traffic light system to tell kids which foods are a "green light" and can be eaten as much as they want, which foods are a "yellow light" and should be consumed with caution, and which "red light" foods they should probably avoid.

It seems like a simple system to teach kids what's good for them and what's not, but it regulates kids' diets in an unhealthy way. Gaining weight is a normal, healthy part of child development. Putting on a few pounds means your body is doing what it's supposed to do. While the app classifies foods with too much fat or calories as "red," children need to consume some of these foods to develop their brain.

WW is calling the app "common sense." As Gary Foster, the chief science officer of WW, puts it, items in the red foods category "aren't foods that should be encouraged in kids' diets, but they also shouldn't be vilified or demonized, and there has to be a system that's simple and science-based that highlights that so everyone in the family can understand."

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via Ostdrossel / Instagram

Lisa is a lifelong bird enthusiast who goes by the name Ostdrossel on social media. A few years ago, the Germany native moved to Michigan and was fascinated by the new birds she encountered.

Upon arriving in the winter, she fell in love with the goldfinches, cardinals, and Blue Jays. Then in the spring, she was taken by the hummingbirds.

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via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity