As I write this in the wee hours of Monday morning I’m still amused by the pathetic attendance of the white supremacists rally that goulishly sought to mark the anniversary of the death of Heather Heyer (nevermind what they claim as intentions, that’s what they were actually doing – gloating about a murder). But while I enjoyed the sight of thousands of sane Americans rejecting these pathetic losers, make no mistake, it does not make them less dangerous.
For example, on the same weekend the White House hosted “Bikers for Trump”. Beyond the various ways the event and the attendees were ridiculous, one of those featured by the president had on the inside of his left arm an SS symbol. Turns out he’s a member of the so called Patriot Prayer group in the Portland Oregon area, associated with the “Proud Boys” neo-nazi group on the West Coast. Yet there he was, literally IN the White House. But even that was really only symbolic. White Nationalist have actual political power in this country and it goes to the very highest level so long as Stephen Miller is pulling Trump’s strings with xenophobic policies and bigoted rhetoric.
But I’ve written before about that reality so let me direct your attention elsewhere. While these hateful people are often reluctant to risk being outed publicly as happened to so many of the attendees at the deadly Charlottesville rally last year (there’s a reason beyond fashion why the KKK wore hoods even in the days before cell phone cameras and social media) they are often very bold when they feel the power dynamic works in their favor. Witness the constant parade of white people caught on camera mistreating a person of color because despite the bad outcome for dozens of previously outed bigots they naturally feel like they hold the power to flex heir bigotry without consequence. Not unlike the way many bigoted cops understand that the uniform gives them a great advantage in the power dynamic and push the use of that power beyond both the legal limits and the boundaries of civilized society. It’s unclear whether social pressure will actually change the number of such people or just gradually retrain them to be more discrete with their abuses.
Even worse, though, are the things they say and do in private when they think they are among the like minded. Consider the breaking story out of tiny Achille, Oklahoma. There, 12-year-old Maddison Kayleen Kleeman has been living out her identity for three years but when she began at a new school, a handful of bigoted locals took to a closed Facebook group to discuss and describe her in the most hateful and violent ways. Grown people with school children of their own threatening violence against a pre-teen. If you think for a moment that shes perfectly sf from any one of these people – or someone within the “sound their voice” being unhinged enough to act on the notion, then you simply have not been paying attention.
Or consider the recently reported stories that parents of some of the children killed in Newtown, Connecticut have had to repeatedly move and dare not visit their child’s grave because of the potentially violent lunatics who take Alex Jones seriously. There are untold other examples, and reports are that Russian bots and trolls are deliberately seeding discord to make such unhinged people even more dangerous. So yeah, laugh at those pathetic clowns who were humiliated in DC yesterday, I certainly do. But do not be lulled into the siren song of “this is not who we are and this proves it” – those folks are a true representation of soe1/4 to 1/3 of Americans,they are just the fringe that doesn’t care if you know. Doesn’t mean the rest are not out there. Also? Note for the historical record, while it is true that a parliamentary system works differently than ours – Hitler only had 37% support when he became chancellor. The Hard right already controls Austria, is the second biggest party in Germany TODAY, and has stronger support in several other European countries than they do here. We’re actually the lagging participants in the potential coming Dark Age. You best take it seriously.
Image by: Spencer Means