Hate has returned to America as far-right ideologies enter the mainstream arena

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

 Donald Trump’s election as US president-elect has come and gone. Yet, his win (just over 2 weeks ago) has switched on a spouting tap of hate. Dissatisfied Americans, like the British in the Brexit vote earlier this year have vented their anger at the ballot box: unsettled by change.

 

He was, and still is, not a politician. Yet, this proved to be his golden ticket to the White House. Over 60 million Americans from a range of social backgrounds: workers, business owners, Latinos and whites voted for him to become the most powerful man in the world. Why? Whilst the pollsters, diplomats and world leaders couldn’t visualise a Trump presidency- Trump himself was avoiding the political spin, making his statements on Muslims and Mexicans resonate with a disillusioned American public convinced he could really deliver.

 

Trump’s supporters throughout have shown no resistance in attacking opponents, including Hillary Clinton. An 11,000-strong crowd in New Hampshire responded with chants of “Lock Her Up!” during the final day of campaigning. That’s history however. Since Trump’s election, any shame or racism has disappeared, and the “Make America Great Again” signs prove it.

Incidents are now commonplace. According to the University of Michigan, it was reported that a young white man threatened to set a Muslim student on fire if she did not remove her hijab. At another college campus, the University of Pennsylvania is investigating racist messages sent to black males. Messages such as “Trump,” “Whites only” are the new norm.

 

These ideas are troubling – but now a nightmare. Such rhetoric takes you back to a dark period of American history called the civil rights movement. A cataclysmic shift in race relations has occurred with similarities to that of the Jackson era. In the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson, simply rounded up large groups of native Americans and marched them too Oklahoma in what became known as the “Trail of Tears.” The average white- American supported it.

 

Since the election, Trump has addressed the intimidation of minorities. Last Sunday, in an interview with CBS, he called on those involved to “stop.” Yet, the following week the president-elect began filling his cabinet with members of the newly coined alternative-right or ‘alt-right’. The Washington DC establishment, for the moment, looks doomed with the shift to the right proving that it now controls the mainstream. Appointments for radical-outsiders, from Jeff Sessions and Mike Flynn the following week proved this. Sessions, an Alabama senator has pushed a hardline anti-immigrant platform in Congress, whilst Flynn, the new national security advisor, has said “fearing Muslims is rational behaviour.” These men will now sit alongside the 45th American president and advise him on matters.

 

As I write this piece, protests are growing outside Trump Towers in New York City. His native home, you won’t find the majority wearing “Make America Great Again” baseball caps or calling for “the wall!” Hate has found its voice once again. History will judge Donald Trump, but one thing is certain: he’ll preside over a disunited United States. Period.

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