Last month in Wismar Germany, a white supremacist organization, “Europa Terra Nostra” held what they termed a “Freedom Congress”. The event was attended by white nationalists from around the world, including several American representatives. Among the American speakers at this conference were neo-nazis, holocaust deniers, an anti-semite professor, a former Trump Delegate, and another man with the distinguished honor of speaking at numerous Ku Klux Klan meetings. Discussion items included “the migrant crisis, the threat of Islamic terrorism and the negative developments in the European Union”.
The European white supremacists had invited their American counterparts to speak on Donald Trump, the state of the white supremacist movement in the U.S., and what would happen if Trump were to lose the election. William Johnson, a former Trump delegate, reassured the international coalition of racists that “Trump will only make white nationalists’ efforts “easier”. He stated that Trump’s campaign had helped legitimize their views, ensuring that they would be met “with more acceptance in the future”. Tom Sunic, the perennial KKK keynote speaker, went a step further and stated that Trump is now a “political phenomenon” and “can no longer be stopped”. Trump’s campaign has normalized overt racism in American political discourse. In a resurrection of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”, the Trump campaign’s constant race whistles, denigrations of minorities and racist coded public statements to whites brought bigots to Trump’s camp in droves, their numbers concomitantly growing rapidly alongside membership rates in white American hate organizations.
Back here in the states, Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank stated that “Trump has unleashed forces ― forces much bigger than he is ― that simply can’t be put back into the bottle…Those who wish for a “reset” and for the national political discourse to return to normal after Trump are “going to be severely disappointed,” he added. More recently, for the first time in their history that I’m aware of, the KKK newspaper, “The Crusader” released a front page endorsement of a presidential candidate, Donald Trump under the banner “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”, aligning themselves with Trump’s campaign and declaring unequivocally that they share his vision for our nation. The Trump campaign has tried to distance themselves from this toxic endorsement, but their empty words do nothing to change the fact that their message resonates so strongly with hate groups around the world, causing their resurgence.
Win or lose, tomorrow, Trump’s campaign has galvanized the white supremacist movement in a way that hasn’t been seen since Griffith’s KKK propaganda film “Birth of a Nation” in 1915. In the century since, the KKK has traded their sheets and hoods in for 3 piece suits, guns, gavels and badges. Then and now, a mass media and cultural phenomenon rooted in hatred was followed by a rise in hate crimes, such as the murder of Hussain Saeed Alnahdi, a 24 year old exchange student in Wisconsin beaten to death last Sunday morning by a white man in an unprovoked racially motivated attack. Nobody can deny that Trump’s hate speech and racist rhetoric has emboldened racists across the nation and the world, they said it themselves. The murder of Mr. Alnahdi and other hate crimes are directly connected to the climate of intolerance created and nurtured by Trump’s campaign.
To quote my friend, Dave Baumwoll, “many dismiss what (Trump) says as just “talk.” It’s not. In fact, when running for President, there’s no such thing. When you have the largest microphone in the free world, every syllable sets a tone for who we are. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said: “A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought…” Donald Trump’s words are hateful, manipulative, bigoted, ignorant and astoundingly uninformed. And the thoughts driving those words are very, very alive”.
Anyone who supports Trump stands with these dangerous ideologies and social forces whether they have the courage to admit it or not. One cannot separate whatever they perceive Trump’s personal views or positions to be on specific issues, from the outcome of his campaign, which has been an international resurgence of white supremacy. Indeed, the outcome is all that matters. The white supremacists are right, in that the reactivation of latent racist impulses and anxieties in the hearts and minds of millions of white Americans cannot be reversed. There is no turning back. As the White Supremacist movement grows, given new blood (literally and figuratively) by Trump’s campaign, Mr. Alnahdi’s life as well as the lives of those beautiful souls who will be murdered in the days to come, is on everyone’s hands: the white supremacists, those who disparage Black Lives Matter in an attempt to silence their calls for equal rights, and the scared liberals who strengthen the entire system through their failure to take any meaningful political action beyond voting every 4 years, covert racism, cynicism, their #AllLivesMatter rebuttals, and empty compassion.