Monday night was the first presidential debate for the 2016 Election. It was also the night that the infamous Milo Yiannopoulos a local university campus and I was lucky enough to go. I couldn’t remember how long I had been following him up until he mentioned a prank about Buzzfeed when he said he had become the social justice editor there. I remembered following him before he did that because I took note when he said he moved from Breitbart to Buzzfeed and thought it was a strange, but interesting move. Needless to say I’ve been following him for at least two years now.
I enjoy his rhetoric, his personality, his playfulness, but most of all I enjoy that he has cultivated a place for traditional conservative outcasts and in a way, encouraged a community that says, “You can belong here” to those who seem to be black sheep in thought or behavior.
As with any group, it’s hard to find a place of like-minded people to talk to when you deviate from what’s expected. In this day and age you can’t be a liberal if you believe in the first or second amendment, the constitution, or if you love America. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, hispanic, muslim, gay, trans, whatever. They tout acceptance to the ‘rejected’ or ‘minorities,’ but only as long as your ideology fits theres. If you show you are different, you are demonized, attacked, and chased away like a criminal. Then on the flipside, if you are gay or trans or whatever with more conservative values, it’s been hard to find a place among conservatives as most mainstream conservatives seem more interested in attacking their diverse allies than joining forced to defend American rights.
Milo has made being conservative cool again by showing what I would call Christian compassion. He’s interested in attacking the enemies who come charging while accepting the wounded and downtrodden into a camp of freedom. Just last week at one of his events a liberal artist student at one of his tour talks stood up and proclaimed, “I’m a liberal and I’m here.” He seemed afraid, probably in fear of attack as the ‘enemy,’ but instead of verbally destroying him or calling for a riot from the people, Milo said, “That’s okay.” The guy didn’t protest the event or become angry, but stood up and said, “I’m from the other side of the political fence, but we agree that censorship is wrong” and the acceptance, compassion, and (rare) humility that Milo showed should be an example to anyone who goes to his events.
But somehow it’s not.
Somehow despite Milo’s messages of building a stronger united America is lost in the tribal wars that many of us have been desperately trying to escape. Where we look at liberals who smear blood on their faces, scream, cry, throw trash cans, and wave their arms in unintelligible chants, we see the mindlessness of brainwashed followers who don’t think for themselves. We go to events like Milo to smash PC culture, to have intelligent conversation, and to think about what true America is and how to bring it back. Yet… the crowds can be just as militant as mindless leftists crying for safe space.
This is a group made up of (mostly) social and political rejects; at least that’s my assumption considering Milo is constantly referred to as a leader of the alt-right (though he rejects the title regularly). It’s not really confusing for me to see social rejects creating barriers and rejecting people after claiming ‘acceptance.’ This isn’t a unique problem. As I mentioned, the left has told basically everyone who is not white and straight that they are a refuge, yet if you are a non-white, non-straight individual who does not agree with their ideology, you are gone. The alt-right is effectively becoming the exact same thing as the combatant left, which would rather look for fights, embarrass, and insult someone rather than building allies and fighting for what’s right.
This pattern isn’t unique to politics either. When I was a teenager, I was kicked out of two separate churches on two separate occasions because I was considered different. This was far before I knew what being trans was so it had nothing to do with that. In one instance, I had been attending the church for two to four years and I volunteered to help with VBS. VBS had always been a big part of my childhood and now, being old enough, I was happy to give back to someone else’s VBS program. I volunteered for the whole 2 weeks. The first week I was on kitchen duty and food prep. The second week I was to become a leader for a group of children and would just lead them from place to place as appropriate. Week one went by without issue. When week two came I was reprimanded for my choice of clothing ( a pair of tripp pants) which I had worn the previous week and had no problems with. This was on day one of week two; they relieved me from my duty and told me not to come back to the church; not for VBS, not for Sunday school, not at all.
The irony of the situation, and I brought this up to the pastor as he told me to leave, was that for the last month, every Sunday he stated, “We accept all people from all walks of life no matter where you are at in your journey.” Turns out that wasn’t actually true. They only accepted “All walks of life no matter what” as long as it looked, acted, and thought like them. Funny how that works, eh?
As I said before, I’m a fan of Milo for the work he does. I believe in making America great again and keeping in great. We are an example to the world and what we do, others follow. Look at how other countries are building walls now that Trump has made building wall acceptable in mainstream. What we do inspires others so it’s important that we remain cognizant of our image and actions that are on display globally. Yet, despite my enthusiasm, genuine support, excitement to be there in person, I was afraid.
I was afraid of crowd reception. I was afraid of crowd reaction. I was afraid of the rejection and chase from the audiences of Milo Yiannopoulos. I wasn’t going to let it stop me from going, but I was aware of how I could be perceived. As you may be aware, trannies don’t have a great reputation nationally, and with all the language policing, some of which may turn into law, they are even less welcomed in ‘alternative’ spaces. My sister has an alternative style and enjoys colored hair, body art, and cats. By looking at her, you wouldn’t expect her to be conservative, but she is. My mother, while probably the least radical seeming of my family, was still an older woman in a lake of mostly young pepe loving guys and a countable number of young ladies. She would be judged beside a tranny and a punk.
I guess this guy immediately assumed we were liberals there to protest; his favorite phrase was, “Are you triggered?” and his favorite response was trying to be so outrageous to see if we’d get offended. The moment we stood in line, he was screaming typical memes of “Dicks Out for Harambe” and actively looking for people to attack. After we were seated in the auditorium, we were just lucky enough to sit in front of him and for about 15-20 minutes he targeted my family in an attempt to “trigger” us thinking we were liberal crybabies based off of looks alone. His attempts included jokes about cutting himself to kill versus attention and crying for safe space. I told him to if Fowler St was a safe space. If he went to play in it, he’d never cry again (because he’d be run over). Eventually he just flat out asked if we were going to protect and we said no, we were there to see Milo and we were patriots of free speech. Immediately his face went blank and he goes, “Oh, I feel like an ass now. I really feel bad.” Then he moved on to yelling through the audience, looking for his next victim. That’s right, he bothered us until he finally asked and realized that he couldn’t bother us because we weren’t the victim-complex leftists he was looking for… and he was tired of having zingers tossed back at him.
Because you know, it would have been way better if we had been less conservative people looking for refuge among those who said they’re accepting and to then be harassed. Great way to show you’re open-minded, compassionate, and not fascist at all. If he were reading this now, I’m sure he would ask if I was triggered then insist that I’m triggered because I’m writing this blog post… and this is where the new problem comes in.
This alt-right, rejects, or whathaveyou crowd is exhibiting their own exclusive, hateful behavior. If you don’t look the way these kids think you should look, they come after you. They don’t care what you think, who you are, and they don’t bother to ask questions. They want to go in for the kill. Instead of having discussion, which Milo that night stressed the importance of, he jumped to, “You triggered?” and an assault to upset someone. Luckily, thanks to my family, I have to deal with shit, so it’s almost impossible to actually piss me off. Even mentioning it now isn’t because I’m mad, but I’m disheartened.
We’re on a quest for freedom, free speech, unity, compassion, discussion, and these people were all at an event about being alternatives to what’s out there, being warriors against fascism and censorship, yet the loudest punk in the crowd was the very example of the thing he said he hated.
To think that even making this observation or statement could/would be responded to with “Are you triggered? I bet you’re triggered. That’s why you’re saying anything” and an ongoing rant/attempt to be edgy reads to me like another form of fascism. To answer this observation by parroting a meme ends discussion and it is an attempt to call the observer oversensitive or stupid and disregard them. “ARE YOU TRIGGERED” outrage is the dictatorial alt-right trying to enforce a code on their own ‘safe spaces.’
Look, I understand jokes, mischievousness, and playfulness. Do it, make jokes have fun. Know that making jokes is not the same as leading a malicious attack on a stranger you assume you don’t like. I think to some extent, these kids don’t have much social awareness and maybe that’s partially at play in situations like this. However, I want you to consider, if you want to be inclusive, be inclusive. If you want to be exclusive, be exclusive. Where my problem lies is in those who say, “I care about inclusiveness and freedom and defeating dictatorships… but if you’re different from me, let’s see how long it takes for me to chase you out of here. If you don’t fit my definition of what this gathering is, you don’t belong here.” Whether it’s politics, religion, a social gathering, a freaking book club, if you tout understanding and compassion, show it. In your attempt to brag, “We’re the good guys, you’re the bad guys” you can’t be belligerent to everyone, assuming anyone different from you is the enemy. Allies are not one size fits all, and you’d think someone at a Milo seminar would know this.
I strongly commend the president and vice president of the Young Americans for Liberty USF team for allowing protesters to assemble outside of the venue because they showed they stood for the true defense free speech: your right to say what you like, even if I find it annoying or wrong.
If you’re looking for answers, an alternative, or a community to fit into because you don’t fit the mold, the way to build it is not by rejecting everyone you perceive as an enemy. Your belligerence to oddity is a sham on freedom and liberty.