Here's a reality check for Trump supporters who didn't really know what they were getting into when they voted to make America great again: the president-elect has alt-right supporters, and whether the decent human beings out there like it or not, if they too voted for President-elect Donald Trump, they inadvertently opened a can of white supremacy that will be difficult to contain in the coming years. Are you not convinced that the alt-right is feeling pretty good about its collective racist self these days and about supporting the new president-elect early on? Watch this video of white nationalists saluting Trump with a Nazi gesture in a federal building this weekend. When you regain your appetite and/or will to live, maybe join the effort to stop them, alongside the rest of us.
It's hard to stomach the fact that all the Americans who just wanted someone to renegotiate trade agreements believe that saluting a president-elect with a Nazi gesture is OK or something that can be swept under the rug. Because it's not. There is nothing more un-American than the alt-right or the views that it holds. There's no sugar coating this brand of white nationalism.
Richard B. Spencer, who coined the term "alt-right," an umbrella term for white supremacists who know how to use the Internet, spoke at the annual National Policy Institute conference at the Ronald Reagan Building in D.C. over the weekend. The NPI sounds legit, right? It's not. It's a cover for white supremacy. The organization describes itself as dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States and around the world.
Just in case you can't read between the lines because you're too busy trying to stay positive: that's the very definition of white supremacy.
By the way, the term "alt-right" was just recently coined by Spencer. There is nothing that differentiates the "alt-right" from neo-Nazis or just plain old Nazis. Really — there is nothing at all that makes them any different.
Spencer lauded Trump's win this weekend. According to The New York Times, Spencer said that America "belonged" to white people or the "children of the sun," which is an echo of old Nazi propaganda. At the end of his speech, he, along with members of the crowd, raised their arms in the Nazi salute and cried, “Heil the people! Heil victory." Spokespeople for the Trump campaign and other Republicans have attempted to wash over the closing cheer, claiming that the crowd was saying, "hail the people."
But when your arm is raised over your head after hearing a speech about how white people should "rule" a country, really, what is the difference, exactly? Spencer especially lauded Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon and the Breitbart News site, which has found success with racist, xenophobic, and misogynist headlines (to put it very lightly).
Spencer wasn't just spouting his racist views or love of Trump and Bannon. Oh no, why stop there? He also took a specific jab at the "mainstream media," which he dubbed the "Lügenpresse." In case you had any doubts about the Nazi roots of the alt-right, know that "Lügenpresse" is a German word that gained popularity during World War I, because the burgeoning Nazi party there wanted to call out the "lying press." As in, any media outlet that tried to speak out against white supremacy is "lying" or somehow biased. Just in case you are on the fence about alt-right members supporting Trump and this kind of BS, follow "Lügenpresse" on Twitter and get a taste of how nasty it really is.
Still not convinced? Maybe if the president-elect would just get rid of Bannon or at least make a statement, schedule a speech, or even a tweet (seriously, does he not know about TweetDeck?) denouncing this kind of support, there would be a teeny tiny chance that half of America would sleep a little more soundly at night, knowing that their civil and human rights were safe and sound. Spencer believes that sterilizing certain populations might be a good way to "make America great again." Surely that is something a president-elect would denounce? Right?
Maybe not. If anything, Trump has given the alt-right's de-facto leader, Steve Bannon, a job and unintentionally made it OK for white men like Spencer to coral crowds of other white men making the Nazi salute in a federal building a patriotic thing. (Is anyone else hyperventilating? That's not a thing that should be happening.)
A statement at this point might feel like political suicide for the president-elect. But the lack of statement from Trump on the alt-right's hate speech? No one knows how severely that's going to play out yet. And that's exactly why people are terrified.