In the world of politics, individuals are bombarded with extreme views of those going against their current ethics. As many know, news stations typically can be quite biased, and often left wing stations show us negative alt-right wing ideologies and vice versa. This pattern tends to make people believe that only hardcore views exist in politics, and can even cloud the judgement of what exactly we are being shown in the media.
Alt-right has been a term used heavily in the last two years to describe people who identify as such, or as white nationalists. According to The New York Times,
“The “alt-right” is a racist, far-right movement based on an ideology of white nationalism and anti-Semitism. Many news organizations do not use the term, preferring terms like “white nationalism” and “far right.” It has been a controversial topic however, since some believe that even discussing the word promotes the movement, therefore promoting the rise of hateful views and language. People who are part of the alt-right movement want to create “a white state” and a main goal is “the destruction of leftism.” Social media forums like Facebook and Instagram are full of accounts that share far right memes and posts using sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic language.
The alt-left movement, however, seems to be less discussed, and perhaps even more widely accepted.
In states like California, which are very liberal, many people that do not keep up with politics often jump to supporting anyone who isn’t conservative—regardless of what they might actually be doing or saying. There is a lot of debate if the term even exists, or applies to anyone in politics.
CNN reports that, “George Hawley, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama, said the “alt-left” term has been most aggressively pushed by Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, but it’s not a label anyone or group has adopted for themselves.” Though this is true—no group of people have coined the term like the alt-right has—it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
The term “neo-nazi” has been used recently to describe people using violence and fear along with their extreme far right views, however many would not call themselves nazis. These people, as reported by many news outlets, are considered nazis. Alt-left might be seen as too negative to identify with, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there who definitely fall under this category.
In 2017 during a white nationalist march held in Virginia, those identifying as alt-right acted out against protestors who were clearly far left.
Trump came out with a statement saying, “‘What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at, as you say, the ‘alt-right’?” Trump asked. “Let me ask you this: What about the fact they came charging—that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.’”
Since both sides were being very violent, loud and disruptive, the term alt-left was born, and many believe that it applies to those in this situation.
There is a difference between peaceful protest and using violence to get a point across. Everyone has freedom to believe what they wish morally and ethically, and one of our rights is being able to protest. However, anyone hurting others or destroying property on behalf of one’s political angle is simply an extremist.
By using these tactics, not only does it give one side a bad name, but it also forces us to take steps back on becoming a more accepting and loving society.