I need to be really clear about this. The far-right white supremacy movements in this country are not a product of Russia. They are not a Russian plan. They are not directly enabled by Russia. They are not puppets of Russia. They are homegrown American radicals.
The impact of Russia, globally, on far-right movements is not understated here. There are influences in several movements ranging from European identitarian movements to Trump to other conservative organizations.
And it's even plausible that someone like Richard Spencer, who has proximity and access to wealth, may be entangled in the broader scheme of Russian influence. Several TWP members recently traveled to Brno, Czechia, too.
But the bread and butter of white supremacist movements are homegrown American racists. And the harsh reality is that their racism is enabled by liberalism.
The people who attacked me were not speaking Russian. Nor were they speaking with an Appalachian drawl. They were Americans, often suburban.
We cannot and should not attempt to blame Russia for the violent extremist racism growing right here in our country. That violent racism that led to Heather Heyer's death and the deaths of many, many others recently is as American as apple pie and baseball.
We can moralize as much as we want, but violent racism is inseparable from modern American life and in order to eradicate it we must address it as such and call it by its name. It's no more removable from American culture than fluid mechanics is from aircraft engineering.
Trump may have been empowered by Russian. And racism may be empowered by Trump. But Trump's racism existed long before Russia meddled with our elections, and the racism in our culture is what allowed Russia's meddling to work.
Violent racism existed long before Steve Bannon was even conceived.
"This is not us."
Yes it is. It is Charlottesville. It is Portland. It is San Francisco. It is Austin. It is Boston. It is Topeka. It is every town in every state in America.
This is intricately us. And that's why we have to handle it. Because it is us.
Someone pointed out that this could be read as a de-Americanization of Appalachia. It is not meant that way, but rather is a critique of wealthy liberal views that racism isn't something they are complicit in.
I appreciate very much the check that it's possible to read it that way. I think contextually with the thread it's clear but I want to be explicit.