Almost nine years ago, right after Barack Obama was elected President, I wrote:
[W]e now know how the story of American racism ends: The racists get their asses kicked. Racism won’t vanish in a week or a year or even a decade, but it will vanish. Barack Obama’s victory is a clear message to all the hardcore racists out there—the KKK, the Nazis, Stormfront: It’s over. You’ve lost. You are no longer important. There’s no place for you here in the future.
It appears I may have been mistaken.
This was going on at the University of Virginia in Charlotte tonight:
These people are basically white nationalists, or maybe white supremacists. Although given that stiff-armed salute and the reports of swastikas and their chants of “blood and soil,” I think we can probably call them straight-up Nazis without triggering Godwin’s law.
(They’re really more like Nazi Lite though: Those are Tiki torches.)
Obviously, this is not the first sign that something has gone wrong with our pluralistic society. The alt-right has been growing for years and developing into a movement, we’re seeing a rise in anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment, and now Britain is exiting the European Union and Donald Trump is in the White House.
Yet this rally somehow brought it home for me. I think it’s because many of them are so young. These aren’t just the bigots of the old society clinging to the past. These are newly-minted bigots. That’s not a good sign. I had kind of hoped we wouldn’t see much more of that.