By Rebecca Schuman
This past Saturday, 200 white nationalists gathered two blocks away from President-elect Donald Trump’s future home, exulting in a victory that has catapulted them out of the shadows. This Monday, an organization called Turning Point USA launched a website called the Professor Watchlist, which provides the full names, locations, offenses—and sometimes photographs—of liberal academics it has singled out for ignominy. In any other year in recent memory on this continent, these would be two unrelated events. But in the United States in late 2016, as the president-elect’s surrogates cite Japanese internment as a “precedent” for what may come, any “watch list” of any sort is worrying. One that targets outspoken intellectuals with views that oppose a mercurial future president who spent the weekend tweeting petulantly at the cast of a Broadway play? Abjectly terrifying.
The mission of the watch list, according to its website, is to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The site invites users to nominate candidates, asking that they “submit a tip” about the nefarious pinkos who teach them (that’s S-C-H-U-M-A-N with one n, by the way). Some of the professors on the list have responded thoughtfully to their inclusion; others on social media have trolled the list with complaints about Indiana Jones and Jesus. Like any soulless golem, I love a good Jesus joke, but today even I can’t muster up the laughter.
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