A little over 100 years ago, the President of the United States – who was the former president of Princeton, an Ivy League university, not some pettifogging Son of the Confederacy – re-segregated the Federal government, opened the statutory floodgates for Jim Crow, and showed Birth of a Nation in the White House.
Eighty years ago, the Klan controlled entire cities and states. The could claim tens of thousands of members, and easily muster hundreds of marchers…in Minnesota.
Racial swamp critters like Father Coughlin and Gordon Winrod commanded massive radio audiences; in the thirties and forties, they commanded audience shares of the audience easily comparable to today’s talkers.
And the Deutch-Americanische Bund, an American outcrop of the Nazi party, had a significant following in the US – peaking during an evening in 1939 when, NPR reminds us, the Bund held an event in Madison Square Garden that drew 20,000.
A little over fifty years ago, segregationist Democrat George Wallace carried five states, cementing Hubert Humphrey’s political humiliation. The Klan actively, sometimes violent, resisted Civil Rights efforts earlier in the decade – in some cases, with relative impunity.
30-40 years ago, “Christian Identity” murdered Denver talk show host Alan Berg (no relation) on his way to the station. Groups like the American Nazi Party, the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord, and (in my home state) the Posse Comitatus operated in the openly (and, in 1983) violently.
20-25 years ago, there was a Nazi cell operating semi-openly (at least, if you believed their Usenet BBS account) in Saint Cloud, and there was a White Supremacist record label operating in Saint Paul. A “Klan” rally drew about a dozen wan-looking “Klansmen” and a couple hundred counterprotesters to the Minnesota state capitol . There was a map of the greater Denver area that advised hikers and campers not to go into the mountains north of Boulder because of all the “Christian Identity” members that made their homes up there (although that was arguably humor or hysterics in action).
Today? The “Klan” musters nine people to a rally in Dayton, a city that was once one of their hotbeds north of the Mason Dixon. “White Supremacists” from 8-10 states mustered maybe 100 people in Charlottesville a couple years ago. You can search the world far and wide for a White Supremacist (off the Internet, anyway) who isn’t a doughy mid-thirties convenience store clerk who lives in his parents’ basement and leads a band of race warriors…on Reddit.
By any objective, concrete measurement, “white supremacy” as an organized activity has nearly disappeared.
(“White Supremacy” as an academic chanting point designed to bully and gaslight the vulnerable is another matter – but that’s another article).
And yet the media pushes the notion that “White Supremacy” is waxing across the country.
Am I the only who to whom it seems like the Big Media – and the Big Left for whom it works – is pushing the story to convince more loonies to try the White Supremacist lifestyle?
“Hey, dysthemic losers! Look at these other people like you! Come on out in the sunshine and romp and play! And maybe assemble in a group in front of this camera, with hand-lettered, misspelled signs? And when you do, make sure the one with the MAGA hat is up front! You are not alone!“
It reminds me of the Red Scare movies of the 1950s – if you get people thinking there are commies behind every bush, pretty soon someone will start seeing commies behind the bushes.
Herd mentality. It’s a feature, not a bug.