I’m trying to identify the signs of when a person starts slipping into alt-right theology. I’m not sure if the people I’m noticing have always been a little off, but I know a few people now who have gone from normal and reasonably intelligent to Alex Jones listening, Glenn Beck agreeing, ‘why are people so hateful to Trump/Pence’ spewing.
Imma focus on two guys I knew in college. I don’t wanna use their real names, so I’ll call one Bee and one Jay.
When I met Bee, he was a non-trad student with a giant ego who acted like he was way smarter than other students because he “waited to go to school.” What? He treated women poorly, drank a lot, lied to get out of trouble, paid me to do assignments, and presented himself differently to different people in huge and humiliating ways. We also slept together a bunch of times, and he told everybody not only that we DIDN’T sleep together, but that I was telling people we had and nobody should listen to me. I won’t bother explaining how hurtful that was to a fat girl who thought she had a friend with benefits.
So when I ran into this dude on Facebook years later, he told me all about his wife before asking if I wanted to meet someplace and fuck. When I said No, I got a long diatribe about how I didn’t understand how the world worked. He started sending me insane links and racist shit all the time. I’d try to discuss it with him, but he just went more and more off the deep end. Finally he said he was going to ban me from Facebook. I eventually learned he thought that if he banned someone from his page, they couldn’t go on FB at all. Smart, right?
Jay and I had a similar background, except we lived in the same house. We ran in the same departments, had the same friends, and fooled around a few times despite never actually dating. Because college, yo. We did a few projects later on, and again, I was offered some no-strings sex even though Jay was clearly in a committed, live-in relationship with someone. I don’t mention the sex stuff to advertise myself as a slut or whatever. It’s just that treating women as a tool rather than a person seems part and parcel to the alt-right. (and make no mistake, if you’re STILL supporting what Trump and Pence are doing, you’re alt-right)
After 9/11, I started getting racist forwards from Jay. When I told him at length why I didn’t want him sending me racist, anti-Muslim shit, he told me it was no big deal and not to get riled. Lately, Jay has been posting stuff on social media, then saying he doesn’t want to discuss it. He deletes comments he doesn’t agree with, and makes outlandish statements he can’t defend with a single fact or verifiable example.
If Jay says something “happens equally on the left and right,” Jay needs to back that shit up with at least two examples. Telling someone to “google it” when they ask you to defend some outlandish assertion you’ve made? No. If you know the facts of the point you’re making, either state them or admit you don’t have any.
Sure, it’s not a lie to say that I get fired up about politics. The word “obnoxious” may not even be far off at times. While I’ve always done this, it’s extra important now that so many poor/middle-class people are about to have their lives made a whole lot more difficult, dangerous, and full of denial of services.
On the off chance that one of my comments is deleted, I spend a few minutes considering whether I’ve been rude, off topic, or said something false. If none of those are the case though, I’m out. I don’t have an interest in playing on an unlevel field. I have to do that in real life every day, so I’ll be damned if I do it in conversations with friends. I won’t discuss anything in a forum where dissent is silenced. Even if I’m not the one being silenced, I don’t want any part of that.
These are the signs I’ve noticed in people turning toward the alt-right”
–Dislike for/distortion of PC Culture (being sensitive to the fact that not everyone is the same gender, religion, race, color, orientation, etc as you are, and that there’s nothing wrong with that)
–Vague admiration for how things “used to be,” usually while forgetting many, many things from that era.
–Lumping people into groups and then into We and They.
–Being angry about things they can’t explain (“Hillary did Benghazi” What do you mean? What do you think she did exactly? “Look it up, stoopit”)
–Anti-woman sentiment (includes lying to wife/gf, trivializing or minimizing their concerns, slut-shaming, as well as basic rape culture stuff)
–Complaining about other people’s English when they write like a sleepy toddler.
–Pro-confederacy or anti-BLM statements (including “it’s my heritage”)
–Distorting other people’s statements to more easily discredit them
–Denying that they’ve said things they’ve said
–Refusing to take major news outlets seriously–including WaPo, NYT, and Reuters.
–Asking for explanations, then shouting over responses
Why is this important? Honestly, I wish it wasn’t.
I wish this was as simple as “Oh, you like Reagan? I think he’s a liar who doesn’t give a shit about the poor, so I’m for Jimmy Carter.” You can disagree for a bit and then talk about something else. Now, supporting DJT means thinking women should be punished for having an abortion, or that banning people from our country based on their religion is not just okay–but a step in the right direction. To support this administration, you have to either believe, or not care that the law will reflect beliefs, in misogyny, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and that will ensure that most people will no longer be able to get treatment for illnesses or injuries regardless of their seriousness. Oh, and you have to be okay with Christianity (and ONLY Christianity) being taught in public schools.
I know I’m not exactly saying anything new here. But dammit, this is getting harder and harder as time goes on. I can’t imagine the logic or reasoning of why a normal, educated adult would suddenly buy into that garbage. The answer has to be that it’s not as sudden as I think it is…