Opinion: Replacement theory is not us

We're all horrified by the recent Buffalo mass murder by a white supremacist. Then it's ho-hum and onto the next devastating shooting (in this case, the devastating Texas elementary school shooting). These incidences have gone mainstream and are inching toward being completely normalized.

Is anyone really surprised that the manifesto written by the 18-year old Buffalo shooter mirrors theories spouted by Tucker Carlson? Carlson denies any connection, but he has spent more than 400 shows spreading the great replacement theory that an elite cabal of liberal politicians is trying to wipe out white Americans in favor of immigrants and people of color.

By the way, that elite cabal is supposedly Jewish, prompting the Buffalo shooter to include in his online manifesto: "I wish all Jews to hell Go back to hell where you came from demon!"

Given what's happening, you'd think that it would be easy for Congress to pass a bill to curb domestic terrorism and protect targeted populations: Asians, Jews, women, Blacks. But almost every Republican voted against such legislation. Maybe it's because the Republican Party, especially its extreme right wing, is welcoming white supremacists and courting their votes.

We've allowed the hate behind these crimes to become a political game of football even as a group of Nazis rampaged from Beverly Hills to West Hollywood and harassed Black people, gay people and Jewish people. The Beverly Hills Police Department gave them the OK, but as soon as the police left, the Nazis surrounded a Black woman at a gas station. When a bystander tried to protect her, several white people ranted their support for the Great Replacement Theory painted on the Nazi's truck and for "free speech."

What to do? Some people, like Whoopi Goldberg, urge us to vote against any elected official who supports hate-related conspiracies and organizations. And I have no doubt that voting is vital to putting a stop to the rising hate in this country. But voting will not be enough.

I'm reminded of my father's World War II letters about the need to re-educate following the Nazi terror in Europe. He was a U.S.military intelligence officer assigned to interrogate Nazi prisoners of war, but he also saw that the average German was inclined to go along with the Nazi theories of a superior race. He reported that many felt that Hitler's only error was to lose the war. Dad concluded that the only hope for Germany was a total re-education. Otherwise its future would echo the ugly past.

One education tool is first-hand Holocaust stories. There's a 2021 documentary which follows Holocaust survivors who share their stories with a group of Texas high school students. The film's producer, Tom Werner, chairman of the Boston Red Sox, noted that the Buffalo shooter's racist manifesto could have been lifted from Hitler's "Mein Kampf," which outlined his antisemitic and racist ideology.

Holocaust education can help but right-wing news sites and social media continue to spread these theories. No wonder that Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote Fox News and Tucker Carlson, urging them to stop the reckless amplification of the so-called Great Replacement Theory.

In Carlson's case, many corporations have stopped supporting him, but remain with Fox. Is "urging" enough, or do we need to let our voices be heard with our wallets? Consumers out to consider boycotting Fox advertisers such as Liberty Mutual, General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Kraft Heinz, Charles Schwab, Toyota and Subaru. Maybe that will get their attention.

Contact Deborah Levine, an author, trainer/coach and editor of the American Diversity Report, at deborah@diversityreport.com.