Humans of New York is an incredibly popular photo blog founded by Brandon Stanton that accurately depicts the lives of people living in the Big Apple and beyond. His photos have received the attention of people like Hillary Clinton and President Obama, and his subject matter has spilled over into national news and even a State of the Union Address. Stanton is wildly popular and immensely talented. Add to that his ability to do his work without venturing into the political spectrum very often and what you have is a palpable link to the human condition. It truly is beautiful.
Even Stanton couldn’t remain silent when it comes to Donald Trump. He recently penned an open letter to The Cheeto-colored jerk currently running amok over reaqson and sensibility. It’s become 300 of the most-shared words on the internet:
I try my hardest not to be political. I’ve refused to interview several of your fellow candidates. I didn’t want to risk any personal goodwill by appearing to take sides in a contentious election. I thought: ‘Maybe the timing is not right.’ But I realize now that there is no correct time to oppose violence and prejudice. The time is always now. Because along with millions of Americans, I’ve come to realize that opposing you is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one.
I’ve watched you retweet racist images. I’ve watched you retweet racist lies. I’ve watched you take 48 hours to disavow white supremacy. I’ve watched you joyfully encourage violence, and promise to ‘pay the legal fees’ of those who commit violence on your behalf. I’ve watched you advocate the use of torture and the murder of terrorists’ families. I’ve watched you gleefully tell stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. I’ve watched you compare refugees to ‘snakes,’ and claim that ‘Islam hates us.’
I am a journalist, Mr. Trump. And over the last two years I have conducted extensive interviews with hundreds of Muslims, chosen at random, on the streets of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees across seven different countries. And I can confirm— the hateful one is you.
Those of us who have been paying attention will not allow you to rebrand yourself. You are not a ‘unifier.’ You are not ‘presidential.’ You are not a ‘victim’ of the very anger that you’ve joyfully enflamed for months. You are a man who has encouraged prejudice and violence in the pursuit of personal power. And though your words will no doubt change over the next few months, you will always remain who you are.
Eloquent, articulate and utterly beautiful Thank you, Mr. Stanton. You said it all.
Featured image by Brent Clarke/Getty Images