Weeks have passed since Election Day, when voters took to the polls. Over 2.5 million more voters casted their ballots for Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump won the Electoral College by a considerable margin. Despite his victory, this is far from a mandate.
Still in the wake of Trump’s victory, Democrats have been left staring at full Republican control of the federal government and protests have taken place across the country. While many are still piecing together the causes of Clinton’s defeat, others are facing the harsh reality that life will be different for them and their families.
That’s because the hate and misogyny that Trump has been not-so-subtly dog whistling for the better part of two years has now been legitimized by the result of the Presidential Election. This animosity is personified by the Alt-Right movement, the 21st century name that Neo-Nazis have given themselves.
It is being spurred forward by Trump’s cabinet nominations, many of whom are so ludicrously unqualified or dangerous that Democrats are going to be forced to pick and choose what crazies they actually take a stand against.
All of this has been accompanied by a wave of increase in hate crimes across the country. Swastikas are being publicly spray painted in an effort to intimidate. The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 867 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the 10 days following the election.
Mosques are receiving letters of hate calling for genocide. Churches are being vandalized. While these crimes of hate and intimidation do cross both sides of the political aisle, they most definitely skew heavily to the side performing Nazi salutes in Washington DC.
These crimes are touching lives in every area of the country, regardless of age, race, or economic status. The New York Giants’ Nikita Whitlock had his house robbed and the burglars spray painted a swastika and KKK in his apartment in Bergen County, New Jersey. Jorge Santiago, an Army Veteran from a Puerto Rican family in West Springfield, Massachusetts, had “Go home” and “Trump” scrawled onto their family car, a crime so ignorant that it is blind to the fact that they are American. A black family in Aurora, Colorado has been targeted with racist graffiti and threats twice since Election Day.
This is becoming the new normal in America. This recent spate of hate crimes is the highest uptick since the wake of 9/11, but this present trend greatly exceeds the previous wave. These crimes are taking place in public spaces, schools, universities, and places of business on a daily basis. They are being fueled by a variety of motivations, anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, and anti-women. Almost every minority group has been targeted.
Emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, hate groups are finding purchase in the Alt-Right movement that has claimed responsibility for the Trump presidency. Motivated by fake news, neo-Nazi echo chambers that normalize hate speech, pundits like Milo Yiannopoulos and Paul Joseph Watson that drag the dialogue down to the lowest common denominator, and mainstream media stars like Tomi Lahren that put a pretty face on the hate felt in the hearts of many Americans. This is a norm of the digital age.
Instead of debating paid sick and maternity leave and a living minimum wage, we’re stuck rehashing 1950’s racism. It’s time to stand up for our neighbors that can’t stand up for themselves. This short term uptick cannot be allowed to become a long term political movement. They’re coming for our freedom of speech and voter’s rights. We can’t let them take them.