While its modern roots predate the Trump administration by many decades, white nationalism has attained a new mainstream legitimacy during Mr. Trump’s time in office.
Discussions of Americans being “replaced” by immigrants, for instance, are a recurring feature on some programs on Fox News. Fox hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, for example, return to these themes frequently. Democrats, Ms. Ingraham told viewers last year, “want to replace you, the American voters, with newly amnestied citizens and an ever-increasing number of chain migrants.”
In May, bemoaning an “invasion” of immigrants, Mr. Trump asked how immigrants could be stopped during a rally in Florida. “Shoot them,” someone in the crowd yelled. Mr. Trump gave a smirk and said, “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that stuff,” as the crowd exploded in ghoulish laughter.
Far more Americans have died at the hands of domestic terrorists than at the hands of Islamic extremists since 2001, according to the F.B.I. The agency’s resources, however, are still overwhelmingly weighted toward thwarting international terrorism.
The nation owed a debt to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, to take action against the vile infrastructure that allowed the terrorists to achieve their goals that horrible Tuesday. We owe no less of a debt to the victims in El Paso and to the hundreds of other victims of white nationalist terrorism around the nation.
Moderate members of the political right must do more to condemn white nationalists, even if the president condemns them from one side of his mouth and extols ethnonationalism from the other. [Continue reading…]
“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Trump said today.
Let’s suppose (unlikely as this outcome might be) that every would-be perpetrator of some racially motivated act of violence decided henceforth to quietly contain their malice — would the climate of hatred in Trump’s America really have changed?
I would argue not, because the hatred is a much larger and insidious problem than the violence.
While there might only be dozens or hundreds of individuals willing to express their hatred through acts of violence, there are millions of Americans whose loathing of segments of this society is so extreme that they long for some form of ethnic cleansing to bring back an America long lost.
But ethnic cleansing is a project whose proponents and supporters refuse to acknowledge by its real name.
Very few Americans are willing to be called racists — indeed, the tell-tale sign of racism in contemporary America is the indignation with which people reject the term racist while simultaneously showing their indifference to racism.
And as Trump just demonstrated, condemnations are as easy to utter as it is to read a teleprompter.
The real antidote to this era of Trump-fueled anti-immigrant hatred, will be a new president who is forthrightly pro-immigrant; who never tires of repeating the fact that this is a nation of immigrants; who emphatically confirms that an immigrant who arrived today can be just as American as George Washington; and who reaffirms that a firm belief in human equality is the bedrock of the American project as it continues its struggle to realize that goal.