We endeavor to educate our community, including our youth, on the normalization of speech and actions that promote hate, discrimination and injustice. Launch a multifaceted campaign against the rhetoric of the “Alt-Right” that has taken a strong foothold in our State and now has representation in Trump’s Administration with the appointment of Steve Bannon and Gen. Flynn.
Step 1: Educate Yourself
To effectively educate the public, we need to educate ourselves. As most of you know, with the election of Trump has come the public rise of the Alt-Right. To be clear, the Alt-right is a White Nationalist movement that has moved from the fringes of the Tea Party movement to a more mainstream position within the GOP, but they are not Republicans.
The Alt-Right is led by Richard Spencer, who resides in Whitefish. They are not your typical skinhead, Neo-Nazi thugs who are easy to spot and denounce. They are clean cut, well-educated, articulate intellectuals who have used the internet and social media as a platform for their rhetoric. They have code words and images and memes that are specific to their group that have become mainstream and normalized. Our kids are already familiar with their imagery. Our President-elect has retweeted their imagery, as has his son, Donald Trump Jr.
The danger in this group is the way in which they carry their message. They sanitize their hate speech to make it appear innocuous. Often times it does not sound like outright racist, hate speech. They prey on young heterosexual white men, convincing them that they are being marginalized in our society and will not have a place in their communities if the government allows minorities and women keep infringing on their rights. I personally know at least one person who subscribes to the idea that white men are now minorities; I know can identify some of the phrases he uses are consistent with Alt-Right rhetoric: “blue pill” “red pill” “manosphere.”
Steve Bannon and Brietbart have carried their message and pushed it into the mainstream. The Alt-Right heavily supports Gen. Flynn, who Trump has selected as his National Security Advisor. Please do your research on Flynn.
This group is not confined to Montana/North Idaho, it is national and sophisticated. Spencer has formed the National Policy Institute Think Tank to help promote their message.Trump’s election has given traction and validation to Alt-Right supporters. Since the election, and subsequent announcement of Bannon’s involvement, our State has seen a sharp increase in hate speech and incidents. As Spencer stated last week in an interview,
“What I want is influence. And sometimes influence can be invisible. If we can get these ideas out there, if people can see the compelling and powerful nature of them, I think we really can change policy.” (emphasis added)
Our Small Group proposes that we take this head on and not let this insidious, silent, and invasive hate continue to infiltrate our communities, especially our children. We need to cultivate caring, thoughtful people and ultimately voters. We cannot allow complacency and for this to continue being mainstream. But first, we need to be educated on exactly who we are dealing with, so we know how to deal with them effectively. Reacting to their flyers is not going to get at the root of the problem; we need to have a systematic approach.
I realize the articles I’ve attached are not exactly the kind of sources I would usually cite to, but it is a start. If you have information or articles, from reputable sources, that help with education PLEASE SHARE.