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What hath Trump wrought?



If you haven’t yet seen this picture, look at it.

Study it well. Notice how almost all of the dozens of young white men have their right hands raised in the Nazi “Heil Hitler” salute. Notice, too, that some of them (the young man fifth from the left) have their fingers in the “white power” sign.

Notice, finally, their facial expressions. They’re all laughing.

All of these men are juniors at Baraboo High School, which is in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The photo was taken late last week.

What’s going on here?

Unless this was some kind of seriously miscalculated joke (which I don’t for a moment think it was), these young men are white nationalists, or neo-nazis, or white supremacists, or fascists—call it what you will. All of them are proud of it—proud enough to have posed for the photo and then put it up on Twitter (from which it has since been removed). And all of them were inspired by—

Whom? Yes, dear readers, you know the answer as well as I do. Trump. He has signaled unstable white people like these Baraboo juniors that it’s Open Season on minorities: African-Americans, Muslims, gays, Jews. It’s okay to come out of the hate-closet. It’s okay to celebrate being a Nazi in America.

Once upon a time, decent people didn’t publicly advertise their racial and religious animosities. They may have felt them internally. But something—call it conscience, or social mores, or the fear of being shunned—made them keep their hatred to themselves. This was a good thing, from a societal point of view. It promoted social cohesion, fostered politeness and good manners, prevented fights, and perhaps made hateful people a little more reflective when it came to examining their own biases.

And then the Republican-Trump Party came along. While its antecedent causes long brewed in the dark national background, it was, of course, Trump himself who lit the fire. Three years ago, it would have been unthinkable for these Baraboo morons to pose for that picture. Today, they know they have the permission and encouragement of the most powerful man in America—a white nationalist like themselves. They have abandoned their consciences, or what was left of them, and declared themselves free of the “political correctness” that doesn’t let them express their real feelings.

This is what Donald J. Trump has wrought.

The Baraboo furor immediately erupted on Twitter in several places, but if you’re interested, check out #Baraboo. It seems to me, reading the string and others, that Baraboo High School’s administration was aware of racism running rampant and did nothing to address it. Baraboo’s principal, Lori Mueller, has come under heavy fire, despite her defensive statement containing the usual platitudes: “not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District,” blah blah blah. As one person tweeted to Mueller, “Funny, you were fine not addressing this racist scourge until the photo went viral.” Another told her, You might want to tell your little nazis that the world sees #Baraboo to mean “Never Hire Me,” or “Never Accept Me To College.” Some of these kids is going to lose scholarships over this. On your watch. Nice work. The adults in your town and you have miserably failed.”

That was my initial reaction when I saw the photo. These idiots really have to suffer profound consequences. No slap on the wrist. No essays on “Why I shouldn’t have done that.” Serious consequences. We know who they are because they weren’t even smart enough to mask their faces. Every potential employer should be notified of what they did. What business would even consider hiring anyone with such racial animus and poor judgment? For that matter, what college or university would accept any of them?

Harsh punishment, yes, but when you’re dealing with a lethal virus, you have to take extreme measures to eradicate it. America is in a very serious situation and we have to combat it by any means necessary. That photo was not a joke. Its intention is clear. Its ramifications are extraordinarily dangerous, especially considering that we know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Red districts across America are filled with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of similarly-minded neo-nazis. These Baraboo thugs aren’t alone. Their brothers and sisters are everywhere, and they’re all listening to the same propaganda: Fox “News,” Breitbart, Alex Jones, Stormfront, Limbaugh. This is happening under our noses; we cannot pretend that all is well, or we’ll end up with these maniacs taking over.

Here’s the Baraboo School District’s twitter page.

Here’s the Contact page for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

If you’re outraged by this deplorable incident, and want to express your feelings to the authorities in charge, now you know how to do so.

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