It would be just another rally for racists were it not for the cross and the swastika burning side-by-side. For those unfamiliar with the white nationalist movement, both are racist emblems that seemingly go hand in hand. But for those in the movement, the union of these two symbols is the dawning of a new era of white supremacy.
The official alliance of white supremacist organizations comes at a time when there is a surge in extremist organizations emerging across the country. White nationalists see a litany of significant problems that draw people to their ranks, including lax border security and President Barack Obama’s executive actions to give U.S. citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants. Then there’s the federal government’s plan to allow Syrian refugees into the country, not to mention the removal of the Confederate battle flag from statehouses across the South after Dylann Roof, a self-made white supremacist inspired by white-pride rhetoric, allegedly killed nine people at a predominantly black church in South Carolina. Add to that the candidacy of Donald Trump, who has certainly helped fan the flames of white supremacy with his anti-immigrant rhetoric. The success of the Black Lives Matter movement threw additional fuel on the fire.
“We have a black president, gay marriage is now legal in this country. There’s so many modernizing influences over the last 20 years or so,” said J. Michael Martinez, an expert on Klan history and author of “Carpetbaggers, Cavalry, and the Ku Klux Klan.” “So many Klansmen have those old South values and they’ve become increasingly marginalized.