The geopolitical landscape is at a critical moment where the issue of race continues to rear its ugly head. Populism and identity politics resurgence, in the wake of Brexit and Trump’s election, is something that has been well documented across numerous publications over the past year. Now, in my opinion, there is nothing inherently wrong with this. People should be allowed to express sentiments of nationalism, as long as it is kept within the confines of pride in one’s country. But the weekend’s events in Charlottesville between white nationalists and counter protesters in Virginia is immensely disturbing.
Firstly, the fact that these supremacists had the gusto to organise a rally on this scale is remarkable. Normally, you would expect fringe groups with these “questionable” view points to be operating in a more clandestine manner. But this really was a collection of the who’s who of the far right – out in the open!! The KKK, Vanguard America, and any incarnation of what might be considered a neo nazi group were present. Even, though this took place in the conservative ‘bible belt’ of Virginia, it is astonishing to think that in 2017 that this can happen. Now I am not what you would call a typical Guardianista condemning anyone who doesn’t understand the difference between being gender neutral and transgender. Unlike many so called ‘political experts’, I don’t automatically categorise those who voted Brexit to be anti-immigration. Indeed, there are many who voted Out for a variety of reasons, which went far beyond simple baseless accusations that are often levelled at brexiters. The right has as much a place in political discourse as the left. However, what isn’t and what should never be acceptable, in any western democracy, is an acceptance of fascism. We are surely at a point in history where this insular way of thinking should be consigned to the past. Yet, it seems, the far right in the US has never felt bolder or more relevant than they do now.
So, why did this happen? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a certain President who implemented a ‘Muslim ban’ and has recently excluded transgenders from army service, has probably helped embolden the far right. Indeed he was endorsed by the KKK in last years presidential campaign. I want to reiterate that I am not one of these people who jump on the ‘bashing Trump’ bandwagon. I find it quite nauseating to see celebrities making a living out of criticising Trump on social media, often within the confines of their plush mansions. But Trump’s brazen rhetoric on issues relating to race, while not explicitly racist, are clear swipes at multiculturalism – which is enough to encourage people with insidious political inclinations.
In this instance, you have to lay the blame squarely at the Commander In Chief. A man who holds such an office should understand that his words affect the actions of millions of people. If indeed the current political climate is helping the far right then President Trump has to be accountable for its dangerous resurgence – which was in full flow over the weekend.