Powered By Square1.io
If you’re lost somewhere in the wilderness, there are some clues you’ll want to look for just to be sure you’re not walking in circles.
When US President Donald Trump and the many Republicans in the US House and Senate were elected, many felt there would be an end – at least temporarily – to the presence of the Democratic Party’s voice in America. They had 1968 as their guide, after all and the Democrats followed history less like a warning and more like a guidebook.
Then again, they were supposed to have at least taken the White House with Hillary Clinton to keep themselves and their agenda in the political game. “What Happened,” indeed.
The alt-right seems to have found in Trump the empowerment the Democratic Party was to have found in a second President Clinton. They seem to have only been encouraged by his – by any standard – reckless speeches, which regularly contain barely veiled threats and personal attacks, and stop just shy of nakedly encouraging physical violence. Millions of people all across America now feel validated, rather than shamed, by this man’s behavior and total lack of social graces.
Nevertheless, this writer believes the alt-right’s empowerment is fleeting and will ultimately lead to their demise.
America’s mask is off
If you followed the events in Charlottesville, you know there’s only one type of person left standing right now who thinks what happened there is anything but terrorism born of white privilege, entitlement and a fear of having to share with others.
But the fallout was just as instructive as what happened the day of.
Many of the folks who took up torches and marched into Charlottesville saw themselves subjected to very public shaming in the days and weeks that followed. Many of them have found themselves unemployed due to people who noted them in photographs and videos and spread the word online.
This kind of digital tar-and-feathering – doxxing, if you prefer – might sound extreme and like an invasion of these folks’ privacy. It might even sound like an affront to their First Amendment rights, as some have suggested. But the truth is, noisy and public shaming might be the only tool we have left for fighting bad behavior.
And who has been more noisy and public than Trump and the alt-right?
By design or by total accident, Trump’s relentless assault on decency – which, again, has been explicitly cited by members of the KKK as the inspiration for their deplorable demonstrations of racial violence – has caused the nation’s and world’s eyes to remain fixed on a collection of broken ideologies. Ideologies which have swept up “classic” Republicanism and “moderate” Republicanism – insofar as these things even exist – American Christianity and the even-farther-right fringe elements like David Duke and neo-Nazis.
Even the Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran gets it: America’s “mask is off” for everybody to see. And now that the alt-right has been “outed,” they’ll have to learn something or face being shunned and unemployed.
That goes for doxxed bakers in Charlottesville, just as much as it does for the casually racist politicians who think they can skate by without making it abundantly and publicly clear they in no way condone what Trump says or how his words are interpreted by white supremacists. We can’t know whether they actually mean it but we need to hear it said in public.
Racism isn’t fashionable
Even if members of the alt-right learn nothing else, it’ll be this: In modern America, racism is not fashionable, acceptable or compatible with their ability to live life to its fullest. All of this insanity – the violence, the rise of white nationalism, the constant media circus – will be the end of these people’s voice.
The empowerment that they are feeling will surely be their ultimate demise. There are already people discussing changing literal first amendment rights because of some of the events that have occurred. Not that we necessarily agree with this, but it’s certainly worth noting.
Even members of the Republican Party are coming out against Trump, saying this is not what their party stands for. By the end of four years, we will see heavy change in the way these people are dealt with, they will likely be shunned by the real Republican members of their own supposed “party,” and they will have less of a voice than they even did before this whole mess.
In the meantime, Republicans in Congress, the Senate and beyond will continue to squirm beneath this new public pressure and either condemn their leader explicitly or continue hoping for… well, what are they hoping for?
All the violence and the apparent rise of white nationalism will eventually be the downfall of people who are comfortable apologising for evil. That statement may sound overblown, but the real mandate from the US 2016 election is how far we’re willing to go, and how many things we’re willing to forgive, to preserve ideology and labels.
Labels are meaningless. What do you think the good guys are marching for?