I distinctly remember the first time I saw a picture of my then-seven-year-old daughter’s face in a gas chamber. It was the evening of September 17, 2015. I had just posted a short item to the Corner calling out notorious Trump ally Ann Coulter for aping the white-nationalist language and rhetoric of the so-called alt-right. Within minutes, the tweets came flooding in. My youngest daughter is African American, adopted from Ethiopia, and in alt-right circles that’s an unforgivable sin. It’s called “race-cucking” or “raising the enemy.” I saw images of my daughter’s face in gas chambers, with a smiling Trump in a Nazi uniform preparing to press a button and kill her. I saw her face photo-shopped into images of slaves. She was called a “niglet” and a “dindu.”And this.
The alt-right unleashed on my wife, Nancy, claiming that she had slept with black men while I was deployed to Iraq, and that I loved to watch while she had sex with “black bucks.” People sent her pornographic images of black men having sex with white women, with someone photoshopped to look like me, watching.
In March, writer Bethany Mandel related her own experience. After tweeting about Trump’s anti-Semitic followers, she was called “slimy Jewess” and told that she “deserves the oven.” It got worse: Not only was the anti-Semitic deluge scary and graphic, it got personal.Russia has a long, unashamed xenophobic and anti-Semitic history, so when alleged Russia-bots displayed this foul behavior, it was unsurprising to me.
Trump fans began to “dox” me — a term for adversaries’ attempt to ferret out private or identifying information online with malicious intent. My conversion to Judaism was used as a weapon against me, and I received death threats in my private Facebook mailbox, prompting me to file a police report.
But my friend—an intelligent, accomplished man and a Trump fan*—found the Russia-bot theory more than merely inconceivable or ridiculous. In his disagreement with the theory, he referred to the woman who suggested it as a whore, with some adjectives thrown in, for good measure.
The alternative to Trump fans being infiltrated by Russia-bots is that they aren’t. The alternative is that these slimy bastards called the alt-right are truly Americans.
That’s something which should give us all pause.
*During this election season, I’ve taken pains to make the distinction between Trump supporters and Trump fans. The former are those who see Donald Trump as a candidate and as a human being and who have made a calculated, informed decision to support his presidential aspirations. The latter are those whose support for Mr. Trump’s candidacy is driven purely by emotion—the underlying emotion being anger.
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