No part of America has been untouched by President Donald Trump’s already disastrous presidency. In less than 10 months, Trump and his supporters have resurrected and instrumentalized racism and xenophobia, undermining the dignity of America and Americans.
I never feared Trump, because he isn't intelligent enough to have his own ideology. His modus operandi is endless drama, meaningless “deals” and an obsession with ratings.
His followers, plenty of whom are still recovering from a black man's authority over them and that a woman and a Jew wanted to replace him, have become a grave threat to civility and peace in our country.
The rise of the “alt-right” — really just a brutally honest Right — has endangered everyone in the U.S. who isn't white. As with any totalitarian ideology, the contradictions and hatred within the movement will bring its collapse.
Until then, we are faced with Nazis coming into our space and threatening everything we stand for. We shouldn't act like it's not painfully clear what people like Richard Spencer stand for and their stated aim of a “white ethno-state.” UF will shell out $500,000 to protect this ideology next week. Protecting us would have entailed canceling the event.
One of my colleagues said, “I expected more of this place”. Every statement from Fuchs says he finds the racism and ideology of these people abhorrent, but draws a line in the sand and says he can't do anything.
The imminent threats against UF were enough to cancel the first event, and this risk has only intensified in past weeks. Fuchs' cowardice is truly upsetting, and no website or strongly worded email will change the fact that UF is knowingly endangering our safety.
We are supposed to seek comfort in the obscene sum of money being spent on security, and we are tempted to forget who will receive that small fortune: the police. The same state segment that has stood by as the characters being let onto our campus brutalized and murdered people protesting their fascist, genocidal ideology. This is poignant in a city where the police are still, one month later, investigating an officer who made jokes about concentration camps and gas chambers.
UF has proclaimed we've attained greatness in an arbitrary numeric ranking. Yet UF’s administration has failed us, as the faculty union detailed in a recent letter, neglecting to provide a safe environment for learning and working.
As a Swahili proverb reminds us, he who taught the leopard to eat people was a man. Those who appease and enable the forces of evil within the world, no matter their intentions, are vehicles for evil too.
I expected so much more of this place.
Jordan A. MacKenzie is an adjunct lecturer in the UF Center for African Studies and a former opinions columnist for the Alligator.