Though most of us hoped November 9 would be the end of the nightmare that has been the hellish politics of 2016, it was only the beginning. Since then, president elect Donald Trump has begun assembling his advisory teams-- and he has chosen no one other than Steve Bannon, former Breitbart chairman, as his chief strategist. While we’re not too surprised, we are still disappointed. Trump has recently begun to back away from the extremist rhetoric we’ve grown used to hearing from him in the last year, going as far as dropping his plans to repeal Obamacare and strip LGBT members of their rights.
It’s become clear that Trump is willing to edit his morals based on who he is trying to please, whether it be conservative Republicans, queer people, women, or people of color. At this point, no one can be quite sure what to expect from our president elect next year, let alone next week. However, one ugly thing that’s come out of this election that’s sure to stay is the extreme alt-right movement we are seeing more and more of.
An abandoned building tagged on election day in Wellsvile, NY. Photo by Brian Quinn, Wellsville Daily Reporter.
Websites like Breitbart publish nationalistic content that continues to feed the fire of prejudice and oppression in America today. This party, often referring to themselves as “the alternative right,” has been commonly tagged as our generation’s nazi regime. Many Trump supporters categorize their beliefs under this party- the same voters who proudly shout chants and wave signs that uphold their white supremacist beliefs.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has constantly condoned and/or encouraged racism, whether it be through his hateful rhetoric towards immigrants or by refusing to acknowledge the KKK’s obviously hateful motives. He took it one step further last week by appointing a white nationalist to a top White House position. As chairman of Breitbart News, a self-proclaimed “platform for the alt-right,” he controlled content of the site and allowed aggressive bigotry to be trafficked through it. The sea of examples is painful to sort through; one particularly heinous article from the site was written by none other than Milo Yiannopoulos, one of Twitter’s most hated users. The entire piece is based on claims that birth control makes women “sluts” and “fat.” Another one frames being transgender as an epidemic, consistently using a slur to address the LGBT members. Countless other articles have obvious racist and extremist undertones that could be mistaken as ones written in the early 20th century. Bannon himself has a history of anti-semitic beliefs, on top of the prejudiced articles he had published on Breitbart.
Now that one of the highest positions has been filled by a hateful nationalist, it’s been made clear what direction our country is headed in for the next four years. Trump has opened a gateway to hate in America that extremists like Bannon have made impossible to close. His entire campaign made it easier to excuse and even justify oppression: hundreds of hate crimes have been committed in Trump’s name since November 9. The most hateful racists, misogynists, and homophobes have stepped into light while hiding behind an unsuspecting title-- “alt right.” Why don’t we admit that the phrase is synonymous with hate?