White Nationalists–The Chain’s Weak Link

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s a saying that seems to have relevance to Donald Trump’s election. Much is being said about those who form part of his base, if not the majority of it, the white nationalists, the alt-right, by whatever name those who have a belief system that to most of us represents intolerance. Given the trend of the US electorate, the trends of US society, these are people who seem anachronistic, with values that run counter to the movement of inclusiveness and pluralism. Their values appear to feed racism, sexism, homophobia , xenophobia and many of the categories which as a whole our society has been in travails to overcome. To many reading this it may be that implying or calling them the weakest link is judgmental. And yet no judgment is meant, rather an assessment, an observation even. Their values do not work toward eliminating divisions. If one believes, as I do, that that is what we ought to continue doing, then their values, are hurtful to what we see as a goal, a goal which to many means the well being of the whole society. They have felt left out ,now they feel they can prevail and we want to know what we can do about it. Ignoring them is not an answer. Condemning them out right even though we may decry or hate their beliefs will get us no where, exacerbate their sense of alienation and perhaps strengthen what makes them the weakest link. Besides in many cases it may be unfair, they have after all the right to their own beliefs. What to do is complex, and beyond the scope of this piece, but how to begin is not. We begin by acknowledging them, by understanding them, by familiarizing ourselves with why they believe what they believe (note not just what) and by realizing that they’ve been hidden and now they’re in the forefront, out of the shadows, that now we know where the weak link of the chain is—the first step to eventually heal the breach that link speaks to. Just like a weed that needs to grow to be more visible and provide the incentive for us to pull it out, their new visibility provides us with the incentive to make sure white nationalists and the alt-right do not interfere with our march to inclusiveness.

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