This Is a Warning About the 2 Sides of White Nationalism

The white supremacist terrorists and the white supremacist policymakers share the same mission.

Be warned: There is nothing soothing and uplifting in this column. I will not somberly mourn and point to our better angel and American resilience. This is not that kind of column.

I have a warning to deliver, a truth to tell, and it is as unsettling as it is obvious.

First, let’s start with the carnage that has unfolded over the last few days.

On July 28, a 19-year-old white man named Santino William Legan opened fire at a garlic festival in Gilroy, Calif., killing three people and injuring 13 others before taking his own life.

As the Daily Beast reported, just before the shooting Legan “posted a picture with a caption that told followers to read a 19th-century, proto-fascist book.” As the site explained:

“The book, which is repeatedly recommended alongside works by Hitler and other fascists on forums like 8chan, is full of anti-Semitic, sexist and white supremacist ideology. The book glorifies ‘Aryan’ men, condemns intermarriage between races, and defends violence based on bogus eugenicist tropes.”

As The New York Times reported, “Nineteen minutes before the first 911 call” about the shooting at the Walmart, “a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto appeared online.” CNN reports that authorities are investigating the racist screed which “police believe” was posted by Crusius.

The manifesto is heavily anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic. It’s riddled with the fear of white “displacement” and fear that changing demographics will favor Democrats and turn America into “a one party-state.”

And then on Sunday, a 24-year-old man named Connor Betts opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people and injuring at least 27 others. Most of those killed were black.

Are these shootings a gun control issue? Of course. We have too many guns, and too many high-capacity guns. We sell guns first designed for soldiers to civilians. We don’t do enough to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them and we do next to nothing to track guns once they are sold.

But, I think laying all the blame at their feet is too convenient and simplistic.

I think a better way to look at it is to understand that white nationalist terrorists — young and rash — and white nationalist policymakers — older and more methodical — live on parallel planes, both aiming in the same direction, both with the same goal: To maintain and ensure white dominance and white supremacy.

The policymakers believe they can accomplish with legislation in the legal system what the terrorists are trying to underscore with lead. In the minds of the policymakers, border walls, anti-immigrant laws, voter suppression and packing the courts are more prudent and permanent than bodies in the streets. But, try telling that to a young white terrorist who distrusts everyone in Washington.

As the writer of the El Paso manifesto points out, “The Republican Party is also terrible.” The writer goes on to explain:

“Many factions within the Republican Party are pro-corporation. Pro-corporation = pro-immigration. But some factions within the Republican Party don’t prioritize corporations over our future. So the Democrats are nearly unanimous with their support of immigration while the Republicans are divided over it. At least with Republicans, the process of mass immigration and citizenship can be greatly reduced.”

This is a reason these groups are often at odds. The white nationalist policymakers are annoyed and even incensed by the terrorists because they believe they besmirch the mission.

These terrorists want to do quickly what the policymakers insist must be done slowly, so the terrorists stew in their anger.

They are angry at immigrants because their numbers are ascendant — through both immigration and higher birthrates — and, those immigrants threaten an even more accelerated displacement of white people from a numerical majority.

They are angry at black people for even existing.

It is not lost on me that this summer is the 100th anniversary of the “Red Summer,” when violent anti-black white supremacists rioted in cities across the country, killing many, just as the Great Migration — the mass migration of millions of black people mostly from the rural South to the urban North — was getting underway. Violence is the way the white terrorists respond to demographic shifts and demographic threat.

It’s not simply a matter of whether Trump’s rhetoric, or that of any other politician, led these shooters to do what they did. Maybe. It is also about recognizing that all of these people are on the same team and share the same mission and eat from the same philosophical trough. It’s just that their methods differ. The white supremacist terrorists and the white supremacist policymakers are bound at the hip.

Are Americans benefiting from the strong economy — aside from the rich? A Fed report raises questions.

Amid what is likely to become the longest period of sustained economic growth on record, a new report shows that millions of middle-class and low-income Americans still aren’t on solid enough ground to weather a sustained downturn.

Since the Federal Reserve’s annual report on household well-being began in 2013, the survey (most recently of more than 11,000 Americans) has become a key measure of whether the benefits of the recovery have reached beyond the upper end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

Although this year’s report painted a positive picture overall, officials said, it identified underlying fragility and exposed pockets of distress. In line after line, the report lays out the everyday concerns that plague U.S. households.

Almost four in 10 people (39 percent) said they wouldn’t be able to scrape together the cash to meet a $400 emergency expense. Even without any sudden expense, about 17 percent of adults said they would miss a payment on at least one bill during the month surveyed.

.. More than 6 in 10 said losing their job would mean they couldn’t cover three months of expenses, even if they took out loans, sold assets or borrowed from friends and relatives.

.. Only 36 percent said their retirement savings are on track.

.. Almost a quarter of Americans skipped some form of medical care in the past year because they couldn’t afford it. Separately, 1 in 5 faced major, unexpected medical bills. About 4 in 10 of those folks were still carrying debt related to those bills.

.. The survey covers 2018, when the unemployment rate averaged 3.9 percent, the lowest since 1969, and the economy grew 2.9 percent, matching its post-Great Recession high. Average hourly earnings grew 3 percent, easily the fastest rate since the recession’s end. But those figures are broad national averages — if gains are going disproportionately to the wealthy few, trends among the majority of U.S. workers could be missed.

.. Moore has been a mechanic for 40 years. He said these days, customers often have to leave their cars with him until payday rolls around, or until they can scrape together the money.

“I had three jobs this week that I lost because it’s too much money,” Moore said. “They hauled the cars off. They’re not going to fix them.”

“There’s not any extra money laying around for a lot of people,” Moore said. “I get sticker shock adding up tickets sometimes,” he added later. “Everything’s gone up.”

In fact, when his son had to go to the emergency room last year, Moore himself couldn’t cover the $2,000 bill up front. He’s still sending the hospital $100 a month to pay off the bill, he said.

“Another year of economic expansion and the low national unemployment rates did little to narrow the persistent economic disparities by race, education, and geography,” the report’s authors wrote.

In particular, measures of economic distress continue to spotlight black workers and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics. Only 47 percent of black adults rated their local economy as good or excellent in 2018, compared with 68 percent of whites.

Black Americans are less likely to be working and less likely to be satisfied with how many hours they’re getting on the job.

The disparities are sharp even among Americans who attended college. About 28 percent of black people are behind on their student loans, as are 15 percent of Hispanics.

The number for white people is just 7 percent. The gap may be related to access to education — black Americans were more than five times as likely than whites to have attended a for-profit university.