A Grain Of Saul

A Grain Of Saul: Someone Tell White Nationalists They’re Not Getting Their Country Back

We're not going anywhere.

A Grain of Saul is a weekly column that digs into some of the biggest issues we face as a nation and as an international community in search of reliable data, realistic solutions, and — most importantly — hope.  

White nationalists think they might be getting their country back. 

Some are scared of immigrants coming and contributing to the United States' economy. Some conflate Islam, a diverse religion, with terrorism, a war tactic. Some, I'm told, think of Jews like me as evil masterminds who are trying to screw them over.

Regardless, I want to talk. 

If you're a white nationalist and you're reading this, I want to tell you that you're not getting your country back.

You see, the United States doesn't belong to you, and it never did. It doesn't belong to any one race, religion, party or group. It belongs to us, folks who strive towards abstract and complex goals like "freedom" and economic successes like "The American Dream." The founding documents of this nation promised us opportunity and equality, and while we haven't always lived up to them, with each year, we get better.

So if you think this election means you're getting your country back, you're not. If you think you lost your country, it was never yours. If you think this is some massive uprising: it isn't. 

If you're feeling empowered by seeing Neo-Nazi rallies in Washington, D.C., or powerful white nationalist leaders from the "alt-right" on CNN, I don't blame you. But be careful: history doesn't look kindly on those who rally behind hate. Even the biggest symbols of hate — like Adolf Hitler — are remembered with generations of regret and shame from the people who supported him. Our nation is watching you with shame and sadness, not with excitement and pride.


A November anti-Trump protest in Boston. Heidi Besen / Shutterstock.com.

If you feel like you've lost your country, chances are you've found a lot of people to blame. 

You've blamed Jews like me, calling me a "slimy rat-faced kike" online for expressing my political views. You've claimed Jews run a global media conspiracy to oppress white people or conservatives, as if many Jews aren't both white and conservative, as if the media has a liberal bias (it doesn't). Now, you're harassing Jews in Montana for opposing the views of alt-right hero Richard Spencer. 

For years, you've blamed everyone for the struggle in your life but the man in the mirror. 

All that is irrelevant, though. What matters most is that you know this country is not yours. Not now, not in the future, not if president-elect Donald Trump and his frightening rhetoric get eight years in the White House, not ever.

Trump doesn't care about the people who voted for him because he said nasty things about minorities. He said those things to get your vote. Whether he honors his promises is another story.

Donald Trump addresses supporters in St. Louis during his campaign. Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com

He isn't you. He probably doesn't even want your support, though he should do a better job articulating that. That cabinet he is putting together? Yeah, they aren't interested in what you want either.

Steve Mnuchin, the new Secretary of Treasury is a former executive at that "Jew-filled" bank, Goldman Sachs, that you claim to hate. Our new Secretary of Labor Andrew Puzder is a big fan of immigrants; in fact, he thinks foreign-born laborers have better "attitudes" than American-born workers. Imagine that!

That mass deportation you think you're getting? Yeah, Puzder opposes that too. That globalism you hate? Well, the soon-to-be Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a big fan of the Paris Climate Agreement, you know, the largest deal ever binding a collection of nations by law. The border wall? Try getting the Republicans around Trump to pay for it. 

An San Diego-based protest against Trump in May. Chad Zuber / Shutterstock.com,

Your "god emperor" Donald Trump is already walking back promises to deport 11 million people undocumented immigrants, to prosecute Hillary Clinton, and rip up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is President Barack Obama's pledge to protect immigrants brought here without documentation as children. Don't you see Trump conned you into thinking he'd support your hate-filled policies?

Hey, maybe you'll get some restrictions on Muslim immigration, a small win in a sea of your deplorable goals, but you've only emboldened the millions of Muslims that are already here to be loud and proud. And whatever anti-refugee, anti-Muslim policy you manage to pass will be promptly torn up the next time a progressive is elected to the presidency.

Here's the hard truth: immigrants aren't going anywhere. Many undocumented immigrants will be protected by economic powerhouses like New York. They're going to keep coming to America, and they're going to keep doing jobs we aren't willing to, keep contributing to our nation's innovation, and keep founding some of the biggest, most successful companies in the world. 

Man protests against anti-immigrant reform in Los Angeles, CA. Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com.

Muslims aren't leaving either. Millions of non-Muslim Americans have pledged to support and protect Muslim Americans from registries (even though some already exist), a pledge backed by many of the tech companies in our country capable of building a list of that magnitude.

By 2050, white Americans will likely be a minority in the U.S.  

And guess what? That's a good thing. Our country's diversity is one of our biggest strengths.

I know what you think. I see it on the message boards online and in my Facebook and Twitter notifications. I see it in the renewed KKK rallies and the implied bigotry of your political talking points. You think that this old-fashioned era of unhidden hate is going to lead to the change you want. 

You think immigrants and Muslims will leave while isolationism and factories will make a comeback. You think the liberal Washington, D.C. elite who care so much about striving for equality and diversity will go quietly into the night, fearful of The New White Hope. You think your threatening calls and tweets will intimidate groups of people who are already familiar with oppression. You think I, a young Jewish reporter, will cower in fear at your hateful comments, when my grandparents survived the Holocaust. You think that this is your big moment, your great comeback, but this is really hate's final gasping breath. 

It's a big, loud gasp, I'll give you that. But that country you once thought was yours is not coming back. 

It's changing for the better, and that change isn't going anywhere.

You can follow Isaac Saul on Twitter at @Ike_Saul.


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