Recently the media has attached themselves to the narrative of alt-right and alt-left groups, especially after a woman died at a Virginia protest. Of course, they really inflamed the issue when President Trump said both sides were to blame. Since a supposed alt-right male killed a supposed alt-left female with a car, in the minds of the media, both sides could not possibly be at fault.
I agree, President Trump carries some blame for his comments. However, I think the blame lies in the fact that he and numerous others accepted the media’s labels of these groups. I think the groups are mislabeled.
The groups labeled alt-left are Antifa, a shortened version of anti-fascist, Black Lives Matter (BLM), and vestiges of Occupy Wall Street. Those labeled alt-right are the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), neo-Nazis, and white supremacists.
The Antifa group acts and has stated beliefs directly opposed to their name. Their beliefs are definitely reminiscent of fascism. In other words, they are sending a false message. BLM and Occupy Wall Street groups are pretty straightforward as promoting socialism.
It is the labels of groups supposedly alt-right that I have issues with. The Ku Klux Klan got its origins from southern Democrats. Don’t believe me? Read the book “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party” by political author Dinesh D’Souza. He presents facts hard to dispute.
In fact, former Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, was not only a KKK member, but a leader and recruiter thereof. He supported KKK platforms throughout his political career. Hillary Clinton was reportedly a good friend.
Yet somehow the beliefs and message of the KKK has been equated to the GOP, which has actively supported anti-discrimination and equality legislation over the years. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was proposed by Republicans in 1959, and then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson and other Democrats vigorously opposed it. It wasn’t until Johnson became president that he found it politically advantageous to promote the bill he formerly opposed.
The political right, also called conservative, have straightforward a philosophy. They believe in smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and respect for the unalienable rights enumerated in the Constitution. That said, if you really stretch this philosophy you might be able to say that anarchists, who believe in no government, could be considered alt-right.
Neo-Nazis and white supremacists are also labeled as alt-right by media. History shows that the Nazi regime was fascist. Fascism is a form of authoritarian nationalism with forcible suppression of opposition, control of commerce, and dictatorial power. How can this equate to the small government and free enterprise beliefs of the right?
OK, I get it. It is problematic for mainstream media to label these groups. What would they call them, alt-left and alt-lefter? No, it is easier to mislabel a group they don’t seem to like. After all, neo-Nazi sounds bad, so let’s tie it to the right. So it is either an intentional attempt to mislead or they are so uneducated that they really don’t know what fascism and Nazism are. Any bets as to which it is?
To summarize, the media has chosen to label anarchists and neo-Nazis as alt-right, despite facts that show no relation to beliefs of the right. Alt-left groups such as Antifa are accepted as being on the correct side of disputes, despite their beliefs being in direct conflict with their name. Truth in reporting apparently not as regulated as truth in advertising.
In closing, Texas has a real problem with Hurricane Harvey. Quit trying to blame climate change, Trump, or anything else as the cause of this natural disaster. I have no doubt the Texas spirit will set an example that will rise above the petty politics. After all, it is Texas. Pray for the safety of victims, first responders, and volunteers. And send a few dollars if you can afford to. It will be appreciated.
Tom Riggins’ column appears every other Friday. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.