Damon Young over at Very Smart Brothas has a sober reminder for liberals who would like have a dialogue with members of the ‘Alt Right’: Many of them are just terrible fucking people and shouldn’t be tolerated in any way or form.
Here he was on Tomi Lahren, the firebrand conservative host on The Blaze network most recently peddling her hate on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah:
Tomi Lahren is a terrible person.
Not misunderstood. Or just a conservative. Or capital letter White. Or even very problematic.
No, she is an abjectly awful person. She says abhorrent and hateful things, and has leveraged this abhorrence and hate to give herself a larger platform to infect more people with it and make more money off of it. She is willfully and dangerously ignorant, is either unaware of or unconcerned with historical context, and also seems to have no problem inciting violence against people protesting and brutalized by it. If Heaven exists — and I believe it does — and what we believe to be true about Heaven is actually true, if she died today she would not be there tomorrow.
She is also young (24), petite, and very blonde; characteristics that, in tandem, are considered by very many people to be the three most desirable things a woman can be. If she appeared on screen and the TV happened to be on mute and you happened to not be paying much attention to it, you could easily mistake her for Kristen Bell or Emilia Clarke.
This — her appearance and youth and physical presence — seems to be incongruent with who she actually is. It’s not at all, of course. She is, again, a terrible fucking person.
This is a point I often struggle with, and personally knowing people with similar views to Lahren makes it all the more difficult to come to terms with. Lahren and other Alt Right ideologues do not see themselves as being bad people, but then that obviously doesn’t actually mean that they are not bad people. Lahren might be quite nice in person (I hear Ann Coulter is pretty cool when not on television too), but it doesn’t amount to much if she is peddling hate on a daily basis in public. How to deal with this dichotomy? Young suggests you don’t:
While both history and the present inform us that we should be impervious to whichever charms we believe they possess — that our lives can literally depend on refusing to be seduced by them — we still allow it to happen. We still want to acknowledge and engage them. We still want to be nice to them. Perhaps with the hope that they’ll acknowledge and engage us in return. But all this does is validate them. It gives them credibility for engaging us; which, in the eyes of their friends and fans and followers, is effectively and bravely slumming.
Humanizing the likes of Lahren does help normalize their views, and in the age of Trump, it is almost certainly a very, very dangerous idea. That being said, is there a way to communicate meaningfully with the new Right in America? Or is it a lost cause? Leave your comments below as I’m not sure about it myself.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.