Despite the dream of unity alluring white nationalists, the program is division. The more fragmented we become, the more entrenched in our in-group and out-group bubbles, the more secure are the elite of power-holders on top. The policies that have gotten us here, and the policies coming next, are aimed at maximizing “choice” and minimizing commonality. The more we are gerrymandered into segregated schools and communities, the more that internet algorithms feed us only the information that reinforces our pre-existing views, the more that we point fingers at particular identity groups, the less chance we have to overcome the illusions of difference that keep us divided and conquered. The more we villainize this group or that, the less we work together to solve problems. It is not Trump voters’ faults. It is Newt Gingrich — and all those like him who for years have been sowing the seeds of division in government and media. It is purveyors of myths like voter fraud, “Sharia law” infiltrating our courts, thieving illegal immigrants, etc. Fearmongering turns us against each other, when we should be turning against the fearmongerers.
Liberals who tout diversity are not blameless here. We apply the same in-group out-group way of thinking to bigoted white people. This is understandable. Tolerating intolerance would seem to lead to the victory of intolerance. But we need to go beyond or beneath their intolerance, understand its origin, relate at the level of common ground, and work from there. The intolerant are duped by the fearmongerers – and it is the latter whom we must not tolerate.