Originally Published in The Harbinger
Though Trump’s minions claim that he “continues to denounce racism of any kind,” his own words belie him. And now–due to racist, sexist, Islamophobic, and otherwise offensive rhetoric–Trump has ascended to the office of the president riding on the wave known as the alt-right movement.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when the movement started, but journalist Anthony Smith traces the origins of the alt-right to a speech made by philosopher Paul Gottfried after Obama’s 2008 election win.
“From there in the wake of America electing its first black president, all of a sudden you see these people rising from the shadows and organising in a way they haven’t organised before,” said Smith.
The timing–immediately after America elected its first black president–may suggest that the movement is somewhat racially charged, but many prominent members argue that such is not true.
According to Gottfried’s speech, the alt-right is “an independent intellectual Right, one that exists without movement establishment funding.”
Its enemies, as stated by influential alt-right media personality Milo Yiannopoulos, are “the progressive Left, feminism, Black Lives Matter,” as well as the “’safe space’ and ‘trigger warning’ culture” and media intended to narrow minds and silence certain opinions–especially right-wing ones.
But in regards to white nationalism, Yiannopoulos says he does not subscribe to such views.
“All my boyfriends are black,” he said. “I don’t give a toss about skin colour.”
However, members do not deny that the movement has swept up a large, racist, white nationalist population.
“The real racists… are very serious, are deep into studies and data attempting to prove that some races are smarter than other races–they’re really dorky,” said Yiannopoulos.
Along with that group, the alt-right is composed of a variety of ideologues including libertarians, men’s rights activists, Christians, traditionalists, and neo-nazis, all of whom boarded the ‘Trump Train’ this election.
And finally, after months of proclamations of love from the alt-right, Trump has made a public display showing that he reciprocates the feelings.
The horrific display in Charlottesville, Virginia has naturally sparked outrage on the internet; things went so horribly wrong that Democrats and Republicans united their rage towards a common enemy and finally tweeted each other without starting beef.
During the incident, it was alt-right nationalists who marched with torches blazing, proudly hoisting swastika and Confederate flags. It was alt-right nationalists who threw punches and sprayed mace in the eyes of fellow Americans. And it was an alt-right nationalist who recklessly and intentionally drove into a crowd of counter protesters, taking one life and endangering several others.
Yet, when the time came to condemn alt-right nationalists the same way he did to innocent, marginalized groups during his campaign, Trump barely gave them a slap on the wrist.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” stated Trump.
“Many sides,” he said. He is right that there are many sides to any issue, each has a spectrum broader than the color range of Crayola crayons, but this was not the fault of many sides. What transpired in Charlottesville was the result of hatred brewing in the hearts of alt-right nationalists who have recently been emboldened to make their views known.
It is because of Trump that KKK members are brazen enough to abandon their hoods, neo-Nazis spew anti-Semitic hate speech outside their community, and other radical groups are taking to the streets to terrorize fellow Americans.
Though not spoken in the context of these groups, Yiannopoulos’s statement that “Donald Trump has re-energised those people” rings true.
As if that weren’t enough, the movement has no intention of dying with Donald Trump. While it is probable that should a politically correct president be elected post-Trump-era the movement will subside, as libertarian columnist Cathy Young put it, “after everything that’s happened this year, I have completely given up on making any kind of predictions.”