On the eve of Unite the Right, I had written an early evaluation:
Among the "alt-right" crowd, it is hard for me to find any actual, comprehensive vision to heal—to mend the fissures and fractures of American society; to redeem the breadth and width of our social story.
There is—devastatingly—no love outside oneself, one's race, one's culture.
There is only misguided intellect masquerading and marauding as cultural grievance and the naked will to power.
There are only the recycled temptations of social Darwinism's ever-present end-game: competition, conflict, supremacy, exclusion.
Now, like many Americans, I continue to process August 12th and its aftermath.
Dispatches from Charlottesville
The Lost Cause
Don't Be Such A Tool
Josie's On A Vacation Far Away
On the night Donald Trump won America, CNN's Van Jones unleashed his now-famous "whitelash" comment—a visceral analysis of the U.S. election results.
Jones's three-sentence commentary channeled the larger forces of globalization and multiculturalism as much as it did race/racism in America's social history and ongoing story.
But, after Charlottesville, with many Americans appalled, anguished, angered, all of the above, you can forgive the lack of discussion on, say, the strengths and weaknesses of the global economic order.
Whitelash had indeed vociferously announced the above-ground presence of its militant faction—with the tacit support and seeming approval of the White Man in the White House.
New York Magazine called what happened in Charlottesville:
...a direct consequence of long-simmering tensions in American race relations and our national unwillingness to state unequivocally that the Confederacy was the villain of the Civil War, enabling revisionist histories that cast it as the victim. For all our protestations that this is not the America we know, this brand of racism and white supremacism is in our country’s very DNA.
Notwithstanding the incessant volume emanating from the diatribes of a gazillion Facebook posts, this political hubbub and its immense social moment is not about preserving monuments.
The battle has never been about the statues themselves.
Put frankly, as Ed Kilgore writes, this is about "the fierce, century-long effort of the Southern ruling class to normalize white racism so long as [it doesn't] degenerate into extralegal violence."
To keep white racism normal.
Whatever color you are, one should not need an empathy gene to feel this cut against the soul.
Leaving to the side the blatant co-opting of Nazi rhetoric and imagery for the sake of its own budding narrative, "alt-right" ideology has as its real white noise the heritage that stands in for hate.
Or, seen less dimly now: the hate that uses heritage—like a freaking tool.
In fact, I would venture a wager that most of the fellas gathering under the big-tent "alt-right" could care less about the Lost Cause of the Confederacy.
They are not concerned in the least with Southern identity.
For white nationalists and neo-Nazis, there is no cause greater than white.
No identity (Southern, American, Christian) matters more than white.
Be assured, they just want to use your Confederate love tonight.