The so-called “Alt Right” — a group of white-nationalist racists with a cultural affinity for the Nazis — just held a conference in Washington, DC to celebrate Trump’s election.
If there were any remaining doubt as to just how anti-Semitic and Nazi-friendly the Alt Right is, the reports from this conference put that discussion to bed.
Watching a video of the conference’s main speaker, below, you see numerous audience members rise and give the Nazi salute at various times. Who does that? Nazis do that.
Then there’s the use of terminology the Nazis used to demonize their enemies, such as the press — the “Alt Right” uses that too.
And finally, the attacks on the Jews. The NYT reports from the conference:
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.”
The Times goes on to report that at one point someone in the room shouted “Heil the people! Heil victory,” and the room shouted it back at them.
If it walks like a Nazi and talks like a Nazi…
Folks, this is not normal. This is a level of hatred and intolerance that I don’t recall seeing in my adult life, other than from the religious right directed at LGBT people — and even then, the religious right was still careful about openly embracing the Nazis. Donald Trump’s incoming chief strategist at the White House, Steve Bannon, bragged that his web site Breitbart is a platform for the Alt Right. In normal times, that kind of admission would make you persona non grata in any administration, Democrat or Republican. And it certainly would disqualify you from working in the White house. But in Donald Trump’s America, flirting with Nazis gets you a shrug and a promotion.
In the LGBT community, we learned long ago that two strategies were necessary for gaining and preserving our civil rights: educate people who are willing to listen, and (metaphorically) beat the bejesus out of the rest. We in the gay community took no prisoners. Whether it was the Mattachine society and others who dared protest in front of the White House 50 years ago; people with AIDS and their allies who joined ACT UP, Queer Nation and so many other people’s movements in the late 1980s and beyond; or the tech-savvy bloggers of the 1990s and 2000s who up-ended gay-, and then lgbt-, advocacy, using technology to empower the people — our movement was never shy about what we wanted and what we expected.
And it worked. A lot of people have noted that one of the most successful communities and causes of the eight years of the Obama administration was the LGBT community. And I really believe it’s because of our strategies and our tactics, our fearlessness and our tenaciousness. It’s a lesson other communities, including the Jewish community, should heed and emulate.
The Trump administration and its allies in the Alt Right have made clear that in their new America, Jews, people of color, women and the LGBT community are now all fair game. It’s our job to tell them in the strongest possible terms that they’re woefully wrong.