In an unsurprising but still repugnant moment, Steve Bannon completely ignored the massive and everlasting importance of the Civil Rights Movement when listing key turning points of American history.
At the so-called “Values Voters Summit,” Steve Bannon, the head of Breitbart and former chief strategist to Donald Trump, was in customary form.
He used the military in an attempt to bolster his attacks on a Republican senator who had dared to criticize Trump — something for which Meghan McCain, daughter of former prisoner of war Sen. John McCain, was quick to call Bannon out.
He opened his remarks with chilling and violent encouragement to the audience to take up his own animosity against the “establishment.”
“This is not my war. This is our war,” he stated, referencing a recent Associated Press article about his fight with the GOP. “And y’all didn’t start it. The establishment started it. But I will tell you one thing: you all are going to finish it.”
And later, Bannon implied that Trump’s presidency was a more important piece of American history than nearly anything that has come before it.
Calling the present political reality “the fourth great turning in American history,” he rattled off what he considered the other three of those moments — which, unsurprisingly but still despicably, did not include the massive sea-change brought about by the men and women who fought and died in the Civil Rights Movement.
We’re in the valley of decision. This is the fourth great turning in American history. We’ve had the revolution, we’ve had the Civil War, we’ve had the great depression and World War II. This is the fourth. And we’re gonna be one thing — it’s gonna take five, ten, 15, 20, 25 years to go through this — and we’re gonna be one thing or the other on the other side of it. We’re either gonna be the country that was bequeathed to previous generations and to you, or we’re gonna be something else.
Bannon didn’t elucidate what that “something else” would be, but his warning to the largely white audience at this hate group gathering that “the burden’s going to be on your shoulders” was hardly subtle.
Neither was his use of the old, racist stand-by notion of taking the country back.
Bannon insisted that he never had anything less than “100 percent metaphysical certitude” that Trump was going to win the election.
“Folks were looking for change in this country,” he claimed. “They’re looking to take their country back, and you’re the vehicle and instrument that is gonna do it.”
Of course, eight years under a progressive black president hardly meant the country had been “taken” from white people, but that’s never stopped such absurdly racist complaints before.
Bannon’s erasure of the struggle for equality for black Americans, and his implication that the election of a white supremacist president was more consequential to our history than that work, fits right in with that baselessly aggrieved attitude that the nation ultimately belongs to a very narrow, very white sector of the population.
Trump’s presidency will indeed be a much-remarked upon moment in history — but not for the reasons concocted in the dark daydreams of Bannon and the hate groups who follow him.