Resistance movement must fight hypocrisy to survive 

Where Do We Go From Here?

Steve Bannon's recent visit to Charleston as the guest speaker for the Citadel Republicans' annual Patriot Dinner sparked a lot of controversy for good reason. He is the proclaimed leader of the "Alt-Right" movement which is just a more socially acceptable term for white supremacy.

The fact that the "largest club on campus," along with political leaders of South Carolina would rally behind a bigot like Bannon is a disgusting reminder of the racial stagnation in the state. The sad truth is that, while aligning with racism would usually be political suicide, it will probably win them votes here.

However, the evil nature of popular racism and the people who support it is nothing new. McMaster, Templeton, the Citadel Republican Society and all the attendees have publicly denounced equality in favor of the new Republican power surge that is the Alt-Right. The idea of Democracy, or Republicanism if you want to get technical, is that the philosophy of the majority will win out. The hope is that the majority of people would rather live together in harmony and rally against the sewage of society.

This is what drew me to the One Nation rally which occurred right across the road from where Bannon was speaking. It was a fantastic experience to see signs preaching love and peace. The thought that we could negate the vitriol of a monster which the Citadel Republicans brought to Charleston was appealing. However, it didn't take long to see that there was a disconnect among the attendees of the rally. Where the people wearing nice suits and enjoying central heating were collectively clapping for a man who preaches oppression, the progressives outside struggled to have a singular message.

The rally was led by Thomas Dixon who more than once mentioned his running for office in 2018. Several people, including Dixon, evoked the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King and the following quote was utilized on their event page: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

While there was a lot of that energy at the rally, there was also a lot of hate and negativity. That negativity is understandable when your country is led by hate mongers who enable other hate mongers. It is disruptive, though, to a movement.

The disconnect was never more apparent than when about half the crowd stopped listening to speakers in order to chant and boo at the people across the street. As the street visually separated the progressives from the Bannonites, there was a schism at the rally between people more interested in yelling than being inspired. Of course, missing some of the words spoken may have been beneficial. Some made dangerous statements that can be easily scrutinized and dismissed.

One speaker inspired the crowd to cheer when she made the statement that Bannon's hateful rhetoric was not free speech. The suggestion that he does not have the right to say ignorant and racist things is not only incorrect, but it trivializes the message. Another speaker went on to identify our social oppressors as white Christians. In the same way Citadel Republicans can now be tethered to Bannon and everything he stands for, statements like that can tie a supposed inclusive movement to anti-Christian sentiments. The irony is that the rally was led by a Christian pastor and a white Christian pastor spoke the opening remarks.

This inability to understand each other and have a common goal will assist in segmenting what could be a powerful response to Trump's destruction of equality in America. This rally came, conveniently, in the wake of big political victories that can be considered a slap in the face to Trump's reign of terror. However, on the large political scale, Conservatives and strategists like Bannon will use comments and actions like that at the One Nation rally to keep their sheep in their pens and people will act surprised when Trump is re-elected.

Dixon was quick to separate himself from the damaging comments and actions via Facebook. Even this was confrontational, though, as he failed to acknowledge some of the strong feelings that might have driven the comments and actions and, instead, called it personal disrespect. I would treat it as an opportunity to grow and have more awareness of speech content if you are going to take it personally.

Hate is easy. Selfishness is easy. Love, though, can be a challenge. We will never turn the hearts of those who have been wooed by men like Bannon by screaming "Dirty Nazis" when they're entering the building or calling white Christians our enemy. You will, instead, harden their hearts and close their minds. While the "Alt-right is All Wrong" so is misrepresenting love. America doesn't become great when "your" side wins. It is great when love wins. As America recently responded against inequality at the polls, we must ask Dr. King's question.

Where do we go from here?

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