Strive to think critically. Democracy is at stake.

A desecrated U.S. flag bearing an anti-Semitic message left at Tampa’s Congregation Schaarai Zedek on October 15, sparked concern about the current and forthcoming state of U.S. democracy.

Days before the appearance of the flag, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally in West Palm Beach, FL. in which he accused Hillary Clinton of “leading a conspiracy of international financiers who are out to destroy U.S. sovereignty,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. In his speech, Trump said that our nation is about to discover if we are free or if we live by the illusion of democracy.

According to an article by USAToday, Trump’s language is similar to language employed by Hitler. “The only difference is that Hitler was honest enough to pinpoint the ‘small handful’ as being composed of Jews.”

However, the heart of the issue is not in the kind of language or the anti-Semitic accusations, though of great concern. Democracy is at stake.

We the Threefold Advocate believe our democracy is in crisis because there is a lack of purposeful critical thinking among the population.

We the Threefold Advocate do not condone the republican candidate’s anti-Semitic accusations. Every individual should be held accountable for their actions and those in power are called to behave in a manner that uplifts liberty, equality and justice.

What is the future of our democracy? A group of individuals left a desecrated flag with a message accusing Jews of controlling the media and immigration policies that allegedly affect the U.S. population in response to a candidate’s political views. Our nation is in trouble.

The people should test every claim and weigh it against their individual values and what we stand for as a nation. We believe fostering an environment of critical thinking and healthy discussion is important, as long as it lives up to values where no individual, race, minority group, political view, sexual orientation or social class is attacked.

Anti-Semitism at college campuses is increasing. According to AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit that advocates for Jewish students, in 2015 alone, there were 302 incidents targeting Jewish students at 109 colleges in 28 states.

We the Threefold Advocate believe that these incidents are a wakeup call for the population as a whole and for college students. How far will these incidents go before we acknowledge it is indeed an issue?

People should think critically, test every claim, become skeptical of everything, support what respects human dignity and fight against discrimination. Let us act out of a zeal for the welfare and dignity of all people.