It’s worth discussing how much the social fabric of this country has been altered — perhaps shredded permanently — by a bigoted ignoramus whose chief claims to fame before snagging the presidency were a third-rate reality TV show, gag-inducing self-aggrandizement, and boorish public behavior.
For example — in a development that Republicans will call pure coincidence — the number of hate groups in America has reached “an all-time high,” according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Yes, there are now more than 1,000 U.S. organizations dedicated wholly to the abuse of people who don’t look like their members, and this is “the most the SPLC has ever counted.”
Now, it’s fair to ask if this surge in bigotry is in any way related to the current occupant of the White House, a man who, as we all know, could not get through the speech announcing his candidacy without slurring Latinos, and who believes every non-European nation is a “shithole.”
Well, the SPLC dispels any doubt about cause and effect. The researchers state that “white nationalist groups have been particularly electrified by Trump’s presidency.” In fact, the number of white supremacist groups increased by nearly 50 percent last year. New members “are often motivated by fear of demographic changes these extremists falsely believe is causing ‘white genocide.’”
In essence, through word and deed, the president has normalized racial animus, and this has provoked mild racists into becoming active storm troopers in a theoretical race war that — if the neo-Nazis get their way — will soon be coming to a city near you.
But it’s not just angry white men targeting ethnic minorities. No, in a truly bizarre backlash, many black nationalist hate groups have used Trump’s disparaging remarks about African nations and black football players to recruit members. So their numbers are increasing as well.
However, the SPLC points out that these groups, while just as bigoted and crazy as their white peers, do not pose the same threat. Not only are their numbers smaller, but they are “very different than white hate groups” because they have “no supporters in mainstream politics.”
And the numbers support the idea that white nationalists are becoming stronger and more violent. The SPLC found that “domestic terrorism has also been on the upswing,” with 40 people murdered in the U.S. and Canada by radical right extremists, including the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the killing of two black people in a Kroger’s grocery in Kentucky.
Of course, let’s not forget that a Coast Guard lieutenant who espoused extremist and white supremacist views was recently arrested, allegedly before he could conduct a mass killing. His hit list included journalists and Democratic politicians — basically, the enemies of his idol Trump.
By the way, just in case you thought only ethnic minorities should fear tiki torch-wielding lunatics chanting, “Jews will not replace us!” keep in mind that the SPLC says, “rabid misogyny is [also] an integral part of America’s hate scene.”
Yeah, it’s come to this. Our country now has a “hate scene.”
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