Only days have passed since the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election. But already, many white liberals are trying to shift the blame away from their failure to provide solutions to mass disengagement and disenfranchisement with the established order. Instead of admitting their mistakes, they’re now trying to pin the blame on ‘the left’ and minority groups for making white people feel trapped in a maze of politically correct madness. History teaches us that this is nothing new. Yet that makes it no less disgraceful to watch it play out in our own time.
Why they’re wrong
First, it wasn’t just poor, uneducated Americans who voted for Donald Trump and his platform of racism, sexism and bigotry. Every single demographic of white America, bar college-educated women, voted Trump in with a majority.
The real impact of anti-establishment sentiment and political disenfranchisement came in the Clinton vote – which collapsed. In short, Donald Trump gave his voters what they were looking for, and Clinton did not.
What we are left with now is the most right-wing US government in history – amid the wider rise of fascism across Europe and the US.
The Trump Cabinet
Vice President Mike Pence believes homosexuality is a disease that can be cured with ‘gay therapy’. He also called for public funds for HIV treatment and support to be diverted to such ‘cures’. As he said on his campaign website in 2000:
Congress should support the reauthorisation of the [HIV funding] Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organisations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviours that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour.
Trump has appointed far-right Breitbart propagandist Steven Bannon as his chief political strategist. Here are just some of the racist, sexist and antisemitic headlines that sum up Bannon’s time at Breitbart:
BILL KRISTOL: REPUBLICAN SPOILER, RENEGADE JEW
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION REPORT: TRANNIES 49 XS HIGHER HIV RATE
THERE’S NO HIRING BIAS AGAINST WOMEN IN TECH, THEY JUST SUCK AT INTERVIEWS
BIRTH CONTROL MAKES WOMEN UNATTRACTIVE AND CRAZY
This operation of media manipulation is very familiar. It’s the modern-day equivalent of the Nazi Party’s antisemitic tabloid newspaper Der Stürmer. It is taking legitimate grievances to the political and media establishment while simultaneously scapegoating those determined untermenschen (inferior people) by the American right – people of colour, non-Christians, LGBT people, and left-wing activists.
The crisis of white liberalism
The reaction of white liberals and their media outlets has been eerily reminiscent of past mistakes on challenging the far-right.
First, they legitimise the grievances of right-wing victimhood. They say we should have listened more. And that people shouldn’t have been dismissed as racists and bigots (whether they were racist and bigoted or not, you know, because freedom of expression).
Secondly, they adopt a ‘muscular liberalism’ narrative which basically raises its fists to the far-right’s perceived untermenschen on their behalf. This is epitomised by a recent Jonathan Pie video which has served to underscore the betrayal of liberal values the moment they are challenged. A shouty white man essentially blames politically correct culture for the rise of Donald Trump, and tells people to ‘f*ck off to their safe spaces’ if they ‘feel triggered’ by his rant. This video was shared as enthusiastically by white liberals as it was by far-right Trump supporters, because neither would pay the price for adopting Pie’s advice. Worse, Pie is a character purportedly intended to satirise the worst elements of the media. But in this case, he epitomised them.
Thirdly, there is a process of normalisation. The liberal media reaction to Trump nominating Reince Priebus as his Chief of Staff is a case in point. Priebus is being trailed in all liberal news sites as a mainstream Republican figure, and proof that Trump is reaching out beyond his base. But Priebus is far from any kind of moderate. He has argued that “the facts say” that children with same-sex parents do worse in life, despite the scientific research on the matter saying the exact opposite. He is to the right of Trump on abortion, and has provided political cover for racist, sexist and homophobic behaviour by Republicans during his tenure as Chair of the Republican National Committee.
With each new appointment announced by President-elect Trump, we get a clearer view of his intention to deliver on the worst elements of his campaign. All the while, as minorities and Trump’s untermenschen feel a growing sense of panic, predominantly (but not exclusively) white liberals are telling them they’re being alarmist. Or worse. That they should be holding out the hand of friendship to Trump voters. Listening and understanding their hurt feelings. And avoiding insults like ‘bigots’ and ‘racists’.
Here, it’s worth looking back in time to see that this isn’t the first time the liberal media has betrayed human decency to placate the far-right. For example, this was how The New York Times reported on Hitler in 1922:
Do NOT betray us again
People of colour, ethnic minority communities, and LGBT people do not have the pleasure of being allowed to forget these historical lessons. They are written in our blood. We know what happens when the far-right gets power. We are blamed, beaten, harassed; we lose our jobs and position, and we lose our lives. The number of people willing to stand with us dwindles to almost nothing.
Then, when the far-right falls, we rise and we forgive. We hear the apologies and the promises of ‘never again’.
But now, we are at another precipice. Trump in America, the Golden Dawn in Greece, the National Front in France, the AfD in Germany, and UKIP in Britain. There is not a major Western democracy which isn’t dealing with rising fascism right now.
Yet again, we are being told that our worst fears will never, and could never, come true. We would love to believe you. But history instructs us otherwise.
So we will not wait and see, or curb our anger, or still our activists. Not while fascism is on the rise. And anyone asking us to do so needs to stop dead in their tracks right now. Either join the fight, or get the hell out of the way.
Dear white liberals: Fascism is back. Do NOT betray us again.
– For some of the hate crimes already experienced since Trump’s election, see here.
Featured image via Giphy.com
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