Obviously, the 2016 presidential election hasn’t exactly been a level-headed contest of ideas, as the Founding Fathers intended.
But despite the fact that one candidate has repeatedly encouraged his supporters to commit acts of violence, we hope that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would both condemn what appears to be a politically and racially motivated hate crime perpetrated in Mississippi this week.
According to police in Greenville, MS, arsonists set fire to the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church late Tuesday night after spray-painting the words "Vote Trump" on the side of the building.
Greenville mayor Errick Simmons says first responders found the church "heavily engulfed in flames" upon arriving on the scene.
They were able to save the 111-year-old structure, but not before it sustained significant damage.
Federal agencies, including the FBI and ATF, are reportedly investigating the incident as a hate crime.
“We’re very cautious in this climate, in this day and time, to make sure we’re very deliberate in investigating matters like this,” Simmons said.
He added that the fire was “a direct assault on people’s right to free worship,”
“I see this as an attack on the black church and the black community,” Simmons stated in a press conference held this morning.
Asked by reporters, Simmons said that he believes the majority of Greenville’s 34,000, predominantly black residents will be supporting Hillary Clinton in the upcoming election.
"It appears to be a race crime," Simmons said.
"It happened in the 50s, it happened in the 60s. It shouldn’t happen in 2016."
Trump has yet to comment on the crime, but throughout his campaign, he has been criticized for inciting his supporters to violence.
Trump called for the assassination of Hillary Clinton back in August, and throughout his campaign, there have been dozens of reports of protestors being attacked at rallies, often after the real estate mogul encouraged the crowd to assault his detractors.
Politicians and prominent figures in the black community have called upon Trump to condemn this latest attack in order to help ensure that no copycat crimes will take place.
Thus far, the candidate has yet to do so.
His most recent tweets center around the topic of last week’s news regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails.