Commentary

The terrible toll of white nationalism

May 17, 2022 6:30 am
Crowds arrive for the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Crowds arrive for the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Revulsion is too tame a word for what I’ve been feeling ever since the heinous racist massacre in Buffalo on Saturday.

But I can’t say that I’m surprised by it.

Because this is the natural outcome when political leaders and media hotshots traffic in hatred and bigotry.

This is what happens when Donald Trump blows his dog whistle from the Oval Office for four years.

This is what happens when Tucker Carlson does 400 segments on the bogus replacement theory over the past six years.

This is what happens when other Fox luminaries like Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter and before them Bill O’Reilly air this rancid stuff.

And this is what happens when Newt Gingrich and Matt Gaetz and Elise Stefanik echo it.

White nationalism and the bogus replacement theory make it open season on Blacks and on Jews.

We saw that in Charlottesville. We saw that in Pittsburgh. And we saw it again in Buffalo.

And I, and I’m sure you, too, don’t ever want to see it again.

That’s why we must expose this racism and this anti-Semitism for what it is, and let no one get away this poisonous rhetoric any longer.

And we also must recognize that white nationalism is a core constituency of the anti-democracy movement we’re facing in this country.

The other, inter-connected elements of the anti-democracy movement are the Trump cult, irrationalism (especially Q-Anon), the leadership of the Republican Party which called January 6 “legitimate political discourse,” and a rightwing media infrastructure that fuels the base with a 24/7 IV drip of propaganda.

And let’s not kid ourselves here. This is a mass movement. And a scary one. According to a recent AP poll, a whopping 30 percent of Americans believe that immigrants are being allowed into the United States to dilute the votes of American citizens, though there is no evidence whatsoever to back that up.

About 30 percent also believe that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, though there is no evidence whatsoever to back that up, either.

So there’s about 100 million Americans who are sympathetic to the ultra-right in this country right now. For white nationalists, this is a dream come true.

Unless we stand up for democracy, and unless we counter the purveyors of racism and anti-Semitism, white nationalism will continue to take its toll.

And the final victim will be democracy itself.

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Matt Rothschild
Matt Rothschild

Prior to joining the Democracy Campaign at the start of 2015, Matt worked at The Progressive magazine for 32 years. For most of those, he was the editor and publisher of The Progressive.

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