White Supremacy did not end with the North winning the Civil War or Congress passing the Civil Rights Act. It has always existed in America and still persists. For the last few decades, White Supremacy has been pushed out of the mainstream politics, arts, and literature but to construe that, as a total eradication of the vile notion of racial supremacy, is not only a mistake but it also feeds this fairy-tale idea that racism no longer exists in America.
The Republican party has from time to time tried to reach out to Southern Racist Voters (for which 2 heads of the GOP later apologized) but until the election of Donald Trump, White Supremacists didn’t have a true friend in Washington D.C.
Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the White House sent a message to racists like Rep. Steve King that they no longer had to keep their worst impulses in check. If a divisive and racist twitter feed could work out in favor of a rookie candidate, imagine what it would do for career politicians. White Supremacists saw Donald Trump’s victory as a nationwide validation of their ideas.
Upon seeing top Republican leadership involved in white identity politics, White Supremacists succeeded in springing back into the mainstream politics and GOP’s failure to denounce them further fueled their movement.
Ever since Donald Trump announced his candidacy, White Supremacists have gone from distributing pamphlets in dark alleys to getting verified accounts on Twitter with hundreds of thousands of followers. Their reach has increased, they can write books filled with lies and hatred, and sell them on Amazon, organize rallies, post videos on YouTube, write for Breitbart, give interviews to major news channels and speak at universities with diverse alumni just to get a reaction so they can get cheap publicity and label protests against their hate speech as an attack on their 1st Amendment rights. Two to four years ago, this would have been seemed unimaginable, but it no longer seems out of the ordinary.
Donald Trump lost the popular vote, which means the majority of the Americans rejected him and his hateful rhetoric but being in the minority is not new territory for White Supremacists. Since the Civil War, only a fraction of the total population has agreed with their ideas and worldview. They are used to taking stances that are not popular partly because their racial fixation has made them oblivious to the fact that a major social change requires a comprehensive political strategy. And since they haven’t had a public representation in decades, it has been difficult for them to think, act, and behave like a group. But that is no longer the case. Donald Trump’s ascendance means that they have a prominent figure to gather around and with the advent of the alt-right, their movement is finally taking a political shape, which is why it is easier for them to unite against things like the removal of Confederate statues.
According to a recent NPR/PBS poll, 62% of the Americans believe that the Confederate statues should remain erected while only 27% of them said that they ought to be removed.
In all seriousness, White Supremacists do not care about the statues, it’s just politics 101. This is the first time in modern history that White Supremacists and the majority of the public are on the same side. Their protests in favor of Confederate statues are not meant to protect the statues themselves but rather to bring the majority of Americans around an issue that they created in the first place as means to publically legitimize their movement and earn support from the majority.
They did the same thing with the ‘Free Speech Rally’ in Boston. Free Speech, traditionally, is a liberal issue and is NOT under an attack from the left but the point behind organizing that rally was again to side with the majority and try to bridge across to them issue by issue.
Donald Trump played the same card during his Phoenix rally. Prior to the event, he had criticized Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins but during his speech, he tried to bring everyone together on the conservative issue of despising the media.
The Mainstream Media has made no secret of their preference to have the Confederate statues taken down, therefore, by siding with the 62% of the Americans on the issue of Confederate statues, Donald Trump brought together not only the Republicans but also Democrats who are against the removal of the historical monuments, thus for the first time in years, putting media in the minority and White Supremacists in the majority and hence his “they are not the elite, we are the elite” comment.
Trying to tear down the Confederate monuments is a losing battle for the left. Even if the left succeeds in convincing State Governments to tear down the Confederate Monuments, it will hurt them politically. As I said earlier, White Supremacists and the alt-right do not care about the statues, they are using them to hurt the liberals politically and so far the left has been caught up in every web that the alt-right has webbed. Their exasperation and hatred for Donald Trump are clouding their judgment and if there is no one to gather and organize them in the Democratic party, it only makes it that much easier for White Supremacists and alt-right to trap them.
Nothing so major as taking down Confederate monuments happens overnight or even within a few months. They should start with trying to rename the schools that are named after Confederate Generals. Going right after the statues is a drastic step that would only lead to arguments and confrontations in such a polarized political system.🔷