Hansen: Even Bannon can teach us

 

September 12, 2018



I would have kept Steve Bannon on my guest list anyway.

Even if several others I had invited decided not to come because nasty old Steve was among the invitees, I would have kept him on the ticket had I been in the place of the New Yorker magazine folks who invited him, then disinvited him to a recent conference.

Yeah, Bannon is a champion of the alt-right, which tends toward racism and some kind of cultural purity that derives from the time when racism was normal and even legislated, which, if you were among those of us born before 1965 or so, is within our lifetimes.

And yes, Bannon’s views tend toward the idea that American exceptionalism is based on superiority due to birthright, when what makes America exceptional has more to do with embracing diversities as diverse as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and national origin.

As much as I might hate to admit it, we see more work ethic, achievement, and medical and scientific knowledge person-by-person from Asian and African immigrants than from the native-born.

Steve Bannon, however, is a highly educated guy, and I would assume that his views are well-informed. He has also proven himself to be an able strategist and marketer of ideas. He has honed and targeted his messaging and cultivated his audiences well.


Breitbart, the influential alt-right publication he founded, has done a great job of instilling a sense of noble victimhood among those who feel they have been betrayed and denied livelihoods because they are white.

He was instrumental in getting them stirred up enough to vote for President Donald Trump.

Even though I disagree passionately with Steve Bannon’s agenda, I would want to hear him out and test my debating skills against his, which, I understand, are considerable.

I would like to hear Bannon discuss the origins of his outsize influence and the factors caused that influence to grow and prevail in 2016.

The field of forensic psychology has caught fire in the popular imagination. Shows like “Criminal Minds” and Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter books and movies have propelled this branch of science to the forefront.

What it involves, however, is confronting, understanding and dealing with the most repulsive and repugnant elements of our population.

We can learn from even the worst. When what we consider repellent was able to rally enough of a semblance of a majority to sway the Electoral College to elect a president, we should listen and learn from, well, even Steve Bannon.

Bannon would have remained on my list, because I think it would have been worth it — even to those who refused to share the stage with him — to hear him out.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 

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