When Trump was elected, most of us expected that we’d see an upsurge of racist acts and words, and that indeed has happened. It’s as if suddenly the darker side of many Trump voters was given license to come out into the sun.
It’s reprehensible, but nothing is more reprehensible than what happened in Washington on Saturday, when the right-winger and white-supremacist Richard B. Spencer, described as a leader of the “alt-right” (I don’t know what that term really means) gave a display of such disgusting racism before his followers that it turns my stomach. Indeed, it was nothing more than a paean to the Nazi version of Nordic superiority, complete with Nazi words (“Lügenpresse,” or lying press, “hail Trump”), criticisms of the Jews, and even Hitler-style salutes, which Spencer incited in the 3-minute video below.
Here are a few articles from today’s New York Times article on the meeting
In 11 hours of speeches and panel discussions in a federal building named after Ronald Reagan a few blocks from the White House, a succession of speakers had laid out a harsh vision for the future, but had denounced violence and said that Hispanic citizens and black Americans had nothing to fear. Earlier in the day, Mr. Spencer himself had urged the group to start acting less like an underground organization and more like the establishment.
But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”
As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shouted, “Heil the people! Heil victory,” the room shouted it back.
Have a look at this 3-minute excerpt of Spencer’s speech from The Atlantic:
But as the night wore on and most reporters had gone home, the language changed.
Mr. Spencer’s after-dinner speech began with a polemic against the “mainstream media,” before he briefly paused. “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” he said.
The audience immediately screamed back, “Lügenpresse,” reviving a Nazi-era word that means “lying press.”
Mr. Spencer suggested that the news media had been critical of Mr. Trump throughout the campaign in order to protect Jewish interests. He mused about the political commentators who gave Mr. Trump little chance of winning.
“One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,” he said, referring to a Jewish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rabbi brings to life to protect the Jews.
Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Spencer said, was “the victory of will,” a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era propaganda film. But Mr. Spencer then mentioned, with a smile, Theodor Herzl, the Zionist leader who advocated a Jewish homeland in Israel, quoting his famous pronouncement, “If we will it, it is no dream.”
. . . “America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Mr. Spencer thundered. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
But the white race, he added, is “a race that travels forever on an upward path.”
“To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror,” he said.
More members of the audience were on their feet as Mr. Spencer described the choice facing white people as to “conquer or die.”
If Trump is truly a leader, he will denounce this kind of odious racism, strongly, immediately, and in no uncertain terms. He did say this through a spokesman:
A spokesman for Donald Trump’s transition team sent a statement Monday night saying the president-elect condemns racism, following an “alt-right” conference over the weekend where white nationalists cheered his election.
“President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he [was] elected because he will be a leader for every American,” Bryan Lanza, a spokesman for the Trump-Pence Transition said in a statement, according to CNN.
“To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds.”
Well, that’s better than nothing, but imagine what Obama would have said. We’ll be facing a lot more of this, I suspect, and it’s now our brief to call it out, to protest to Trump, and insist that he denounce the wave of hatred that his candidacy has unleashed.