John Oliver laid into the result of the US Presidential election, on The Last Night Tonight he said,
“A Klan-backed misogynist internet troll is going to be delivering the next State Of The Union address. This is not normal. It is fucked up.”
Exactly. We have got to a point where major elections or referendums have become a circus of reality TV which, in reality, has become unreality. We have ended up with a total freak show.
In these discombobulating times, we are now witnessing the normalisation of the extremes. In particular, the mainstream normalisation of the far right. But, as John Oliver said, This is not normal. This is fascism in 2016.
The use of “alt-right” needs to be called out right now. Hating Jews, minorities, gays or anything “other” is far-right. There is nothing alt about it.
Words having meaning, and they matter.
When the words have a meaning that veers towards white supremism they become dangerous. Whether it is Nigel Farage parading himself underneath a billboard that says “Breaking Point” in relation to refugees entering the country or Donald Trump calling Mexicans who cross the US border as “criminals” or “racists”, the words are then played out on media outlets around the world and when played relentlessly, they move the mindset dial from shock to acceptance. The words then become normalised and it opens Pandora’s Box and an outpouring of widespread use.
Once the narrative used by the far-right is seen and heard repeatedly on widescreen it creates its own momentum – all the way to the ballot box and all the way to a rise in hate crimes. The words become deeds.
A similar far-right normalisation snowball effect happened in the 1930′s in Western Europe. We have reached a point where Britain has voted to leave the EU, Donald Trump is President, the head of Breitbart is been chosen as the Chief Strategist in the White House and the Ku Klux Klan have enthusiastically welcomed the President-elect of the United States. History should have taught us that when we move towards the far-right, bad things happen.
The far-right is not normal. We must never ever lose sight of that. Those of us who are appalled by what is happening right now must always remember that while there appears to be a disturbing narrative and vote shift towards the far-right, our own dissenting voices should never ever be seen as the marginalised minority. Hillary Clinton may have lost because of Electoral Votes, but she still won the popular vote. More people didn’t vote for Brexit than those who did.
It is up to all of us who believe in the values of fairness, equality, compassion and liberty to continue to make our voices heard but in a way that is respectful, insightful and educated. We must win with our words of wisdom.
The far-right want to drown us out. But we must continue to keep swimming against the far-right tide.