Maybe it’s just me, but are you finding it difficult to get in the Thanksgiving mood when Nazis are gathering in D.C. to chant “Hail Trump”?

spencerdc2

Given that, for many of us, this Thanksgiving will be the first time since the election that we’ll be spending time with our Trump-supporting relatives, several articles have been written about how to open up lines of communication, in hopes that, just maybe, constructive dialogue can be had. While I have my doubts as to whether, in most cases, reasonable conversations can be had over turkey with people who, at best, supported a candidate in spite of his clearly being a lying, racist misogynist, especially when all parties involved will be well-armed with cutlery, I appreciate the effort that people will be investing, and wish them all the best.

I know, in most instances, if your aim is truly to engage in meaningful conversation, with the objective of finding common ground, this probably wouldn’t work as a strategy, but, if it should come up, I’d be incredibly interested to know what the Trump supporters in you family make of the fact not only that our President-elect has selected a known white nationalist to be his chief White House strategist, but that, since the election, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of incidents of racial intimidation directed at Americans of color.

Again, I know it might be counterproductive, if your objective is to build bridges, but I’d be particularly interested to know what your conservative relatives think of this video which came out earlier today of National Policy Institute President Richard B. Spencer, who the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a “professional racist in khakis,” addressing more than 200 of his fellow white nationalists at an event in Washington, DC this past Saturday… During the event, as you can see it the video, the attendees chanted, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”

The Atlantic, which apparently had a person shooting video of the event for a documentary they’re working on about Spencer, had the following to say about what they saw transpire.

…For most of the day, a parade of speakers discussed their ideology in relatively anodyne terms, putting a presentable face on their agenda. But after dinner, when most journalists had already departed, Spencer rose and delivered a speech to his followers dripping with anti-Semitism, and leaving no doubt as to what he actually seeks. He referred to the mainstream media as “Lügenpresse,” a term he said he was borrowing from “the original German”; the Nazis used the word to attack their critics in the press.

“America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Spencer said. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

The audience offered cheers, applause, and enthusiastic Nazi salutes…

Spencer, who is credited with bringing white nationalism into the American mainstream under the banner of the “alt-right,” has said his dream is “a new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, and the work of his Virginia-based think tank, they’re also proponents of “peaceful ethnic cleansing.”

Again, I know it may put a damper on the festivities to broach the subject of ethnic cleansing over the dinner table, but, if you should have an opportunity to share this video over the holiday, I’d be curious to know what kind of response you get. I suspect most would write it off as just the ranting of a few on the far right fringe. I’ve got to think, however, that some might actually see it for what it is – a very real, and growing, threat to everything that America stands for. And I would love hear what those people – the ones who voted for Trump and are now concerned about the rise of the far right – are doing in order to stop their party from embracing the principles of white nationalism.

I should add that I wouldn’t, if I were you, suggest that your Trump supporting relatives are responsible for what we’re beginning to see play out across America. I don’t expect that anything good would come of yelling, “Look what you’ve done, Mom!” However, I do think it’s possible that, if you approach it with a certain degree of sensitivity, leaving your relatives a way to exit the conversation with their dignity somewhat intact, progress can be made… What if, for instance, you were to say something like… “I know this isn’t what you were expecting when you voted for Trump, Dad. I know you were angry about the status quo, and just wanted to shake up the political system, bringing in an outsider with a different perspective, someone who could make things better. I know, when you cast your ballot, you weren’t thinking that Trump’s win could usher in an era of brutality and racism. And I know these things that we’re seeing now have to trouble you. My question for you is, at what point do you act? What has to happen for you to accept that this isn’t just a few bad apples, but something more significant? And, when that happens, how will you respond?

However you decide to approach it, I wish you the best of luck, and I hope your family is able to weather the storm.. And here’s hoping, in spite of everything happening around us, you can all find something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

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32 Comments

  1. Posted November 21, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Coincidentally, Trump met with the Lügenpresse today.

  2. Posted November 21, 2016 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    altrightamerica

  3. Somebody
    Posted November 21, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    White nationalism – the ugly step child of identity politics?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-identity-liberalism.html

  4. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    This is the new normal.

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    My relatives who voted Trump, none of which I will be having Thanksgiving with, would say that the behavior of a few bad egg Trump’s supporters is not the responsibility of Trump. “He told then to stop,”– which is exactly what Sanders supporters said about Bernie’s responsibility for managing the Bros– even when they were giving death threats to DNC reps in Nevada. Internals emails were leaked showing a lot of anger towards Bernie in his campaign for not doing more. Let’s hope some inside pressure is on Trump– as well as outside. Humans with strong belief systems all act the same– they excuse the behavior of their leaders. They do not understand the value of community accountability.

    If I were having Thanksgiving dinner with my Trump supporting relatives, I would ask them if they had written letters expressing the need for Trump to take action against White nationalism and ethnic,racial, gender and LGBT violence. They would probably dismiss me just as you did Mark when I asked the same of you and other Bernie supporters re Bernie Bros and gender bias. “I just don’t see it. The people I know are all peaceful and loving– part of a beautiful movement for change.”

    Are they the same thing? No but then again yes. It’s just a matter of scale. If one is willing to overlook bigotry when it supports one’s own political beliefs, it falls a little short to ask different behavior of others. The stakes are higher, yes, but the stakes in bigotry are always high.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    Come to think of it Mark– you sounded a lot like Kellyanne Conway during the primary.

  7. A Concerned Neighbor
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    “Come to think of it Mark– you sounded a lot like Kellyanne Conway during the primary.”

    Have you lost your mind, Jean Henry?

  8. Somebody
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I did hear that Breitbart wanted to acquire this blog . Or was it that Trump wanted to bring in MM for a talking to? The whole world has become so confusing.

  9. Eel
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I will be projecting this video directly onto the side of the turkey facing my father. Thank you.

  10. Frank Byron
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Mark’s alias seems to have similar genes to the Donald when it comes to criticism

  11. Tommy
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Forbes has an interesting article directed at Trump voters. I shared it with my parents. I haven’t heard anything back from them yet, but I am hopeful that they read it.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddessig/2016/11/21/a-thanksgiving-primer-for-trump-supporters/#64333b9a1bd8

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I know the idea that human beings of differing political beliefs may share common characteristics when they avidly support a candidate is anathema to people who think their liberal identity makes them immune to all bias– That does not make it any less true.

    I’m sure Kellyanne Conway is a very nice woman who loves her candidate and does her job well. I’m sure she just wants to show his best possible side. She will determinedly avoid any mention of any conflict and if it comes up deflect to another issue or, more cornered, question the sanity and intent of the questioner. (see what I did there?) She may be more cunning at it than Mark, but that pretty well describes Mark’s position visa vi Sanders during the primary. To his credit he didn’t traffic in rigged election scenarios. His commenters did that for him– unchecked even by one of his pseudonyms.

    I’m not saying that shilling for Sanders is in anyway equivalent to shilling for Trump, but I personally think Mark proposing a grilling of conservative relatives about how they could possibly dismiss accusations of bias and hate crimes shows some lack of self-awareness.

  13. kjc
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    jean, how long will it take you to get over your candidate beating bernie? you’re so douchey. and bored. not everyone has to think like you. it’ll be ok.

  14. A Concerned Neighbor
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I am more than an alias, Jean. I really am a concerned neighbor, and I think that you might want to consider taking some time away from the internet. When you start comparing your friends to Kellyanne Conway because they supported Bernie Sanders in the primary there is a problem.

  15. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    “you’re so douchey. and bored.” – kjc

    Interesting.

  16. Lynne
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Re: ” I know it may put a damper on the festivities to broach the subject of ethnic cleansing over the dinner table”

    LOL, my family is, at least, used to that coming from me as I make a point of mentioning that we wouldn’t be celebrating Thanksgiving but for the genocide of Native Americans a few years before the Mayflower landed. Up to 90% of the population died from disease, likely smallpox brought over by Europeans.

    I think the way I am going to approach this is to only make “I” statements while avoiding “You” statements.

    *I am scared for my neighbors who are not white
    *I am scared for my sister who has pretty brown skin for a white chick and is often mistaken for being black or mexican. I think that one might bright it home to the racist relatives because of course it probably never occurred to them that the impact could be so close to affect anyone they are related to
    *I am worried about how history will view us especially when you look at things like Standing Rock
    *I am worried about our environment
    *I think that all white people need to work to eliminate racism. What are your ideas for this?

    vs what I really want to say which is “You suck and your voting is going to hurt a lot of people, you racist misogynist fucks”

  17. Anonymous
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    When Spencer says Lügenpresse in that video, it sent a chill down my spine.

  18. Jcp2
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I have no Trump supporting relatives at Thanksgiving. Nothing to report.

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I’m hearing a lot of Nazi terminology lately. I wonder if anyone is tracking that language use. It seems it is becoming normalized already.

  20. Somebody
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    His followers are already up in arms about Trumps statement that he’s not going to “lock her up” . Read the comments and headline at Breitbart.

    It’s not going to be the left that that takes him out. It’s going to be his own party.

    Hello President Pence.

  21. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Reservoir dogs.

    Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.

    “Hey…What’s going on? Can you hear that?”

  22. josh
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Jean, hold on.. why are we discussing what Mark feels about Bernie? How are the very few incidents of intimidation that occurred in the past on behalf of a political candidate—who (weakly, perhaps) disavowed them—somehow overshadowing the fact that the president elect has appointed a white nationalist to his campaign staff?

    If a losing Democratic primary candidate is the dusty old measuring stick you drag out to defend Trump.. actually, not even defend him, just shit on Mark.. then you ARE equating them. If you’re not, why do you relentlessly live in the past? Start acting, and stop trying to point out hypocrisy where it doesn’t exist.

  23. J. Kim
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I still can’t believe that so many Jewish Americans voted for Trump.

    From Harretz:

    http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.754493

    The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum expressed alarm on Monday over “hateful speech” at a white nationalist meeting over the weekend, and a restaurant apologized for hosting the group after a woman tweeted a picture of herself making a Nazi salute. 

  24. JEAN HENRY
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    I’m not living in the past. I’m not even trying to point up hypocrisy. People are hypocritical. All people. It’s no outrage to me. It is worth examining without outrage.

    I’m simply trying to point up that behavior we deride in others is present in ourselves. Myself included. Such revelations should be met with recognition and adjustment not incredulity.

    Personally, I don’t think Kellyanne Conway is that bad. She’s very good at her job. Brilliant actually. If she were on the left, you all would love her.

    Terrible things happen all the time because people with good intentions do not examine their own behavior. Good intentions are not enough. Most people intend to do good things. Every person that ever filled in a swamp, drilled for oil, farmed the topsoil off their land, lumbered a forest clean or voted for Donald Trump, thought they were doing the right thing. Self scrutiny is no weakness. Vigilance is required.

    PS Concerned Neighbor–generally I’m not amendable to helpful suggestions from people who choose to be anonymous, but make a point of letting me know they are nearby. I’m getting a strong feeling of Westside’s old tactics here… At any rate, no need for concern. I stand by my analysis, and I’m absolutely fine.

  25. JEAN HENRY
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Important thinking on Trump and racism and economic inequality in America. Mark may find her take on John Edwards interesting. This is from a few months back. I think it’s still relevant. Good analysis is not voided because of election results that skewed slightly one way rather than another (no matter how tragic the results). Good anlysis is not about swaying elections. That would be spin…
    https://soundcloud.com/panoply/heather-mcghee-on-what-democrats-get-wrong-about-racism

  26. EOS
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Plenty to be thankful for this year. Try to be nice and avoid the political talk at the table today. Hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  27. Somebody
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Thanks EOS – Happy Thanksgiving to you also. I don’t agree with anything you say but appreciate your civility. In spite of my side losing I have a lot to be thankful for. I look forward to how things play out. It’s already kinda fun to be in the opposition. Have a blessed day!

  28. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    There’s nothing to be thankful for.

    Show absolutely no mercy to anyone who voted for Trump.

    Destroy them wherever you find them.

  29. iRobert
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    EOS, if you get a line on which stocks to short, will you cut me in?

  30. iRobert
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Please remember EOS, I just made a few harmless jokes about you. I never said I hated you. I’m willing to be a collaborator.

  31. iRobert
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    For which cabinet posts are you being considered, EOS?

    Oh, and if and when you know the ‘target’, please be so kind as to give me a heads up, a day or so in advance so I can be elsewhere when that shit goes down. Remember, I’ve been the closest thing to a friend you’ve had on this blog.

  32. stupid hick
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Oh, EOS is not lacking friends on this blog.

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] it, when, at the same time, you’re worried about the Nazis across town chanting “Hail Trump” and the fact that our new President-elect might have already started moving us toward World […]

  2. […] in quite a while took place earlier this evening between white nationalist “it” boy Richard Spencer, and Jason Kander, the former Secretary of State of […]

  3. By White Power shoutouts from the White House on May 1, 2017 at 8:36 am

    […] their allegiance, they’re normalizing extremism, acknowledging the work of those like Richard Spencer who are working to bring the American Nazi movement into the mainstream, and demonstrating to the […]

  4. […] hopeful. Let’s remember, just after he was elected, white nationalists were chanting “Hail Trump” in Washington, D.C., and he did nothing to discourage […]

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