I literally just wrote what you did about how all of this racism, sexism, xenophobia having all been there this whole time, long before and since the days Ronald Reagan was opening his candidacy for President from Philadelphia, Mississippi, but I had a different conclusion. I worry that the purveyors of this rhetoric can become too emboldened. Having it all out in the open doesn’t always lead to good outcomes. It is my study of German history that makes me frightened of what this authoritarianism can breed.
I read a book in German, Damals Wer ist Friedrich, told from the perspective of a 10 year old Jewish boy as he grows up. It went from being a group of loud-mouthed thugs in a brewhouse in Munich to being half the country spouting anti-Semitic, pro-Aryan propaganda (not many people realize that Nazis never got more than half of the vote). Then, this party takes over the whole country under the claim of terrorism against them, and you know what happened from there. Many people have described their predictions of what will happen when fascism comes to America in books like Friendly Fascism, It Can’t Happen Here, and American Fascists among others.
My German professor grew up in Nazi Germany. He had to pray for Hitler every night, because his parents were part of the resistance, and they were afraid their young son would give them away. So they taught him to be a Hitler Youth along with all the other children. He taught us never to believe it was impossible to happen here. I just watched “Welcome to Leith,” on Netflix which tells the story of how neo-Nazis tried to take over a town in North Dakota, almost successfully. A story like the Idaho story, but only a couple years old. The Southern Poverty Law Center couldn’t help them. The only thing that really saved them was passing regulations requiring water and sewer hook-ups to the properties of the white supremacists, which they didn’t have. The town continues to be surrounded by neo-Nazi property owners. Now, the same neo-Nazis are buying up property to do the same thing in Red Cloud, Nebraska. That is an active situation at this very moment.
The more sympathizers they have as the more white people feel threatened by hearing things like “White children are in the minority of children under five in the United States today,” the more I worry about allowing the acceptability of racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc. to become mainstream.