We regret to inform you that milkshake duck is a racist. In this case, “milkshake duck” is a 5th year biology student at University of California Merced who just excavated a 65-million year old partial triceratops skull. Other UC Merced students were proud for about 10 minutes before a university far-right watch group pointed out that the student, Harry Duran, is president of the campus Republicans.
When I first read that I honestly did think, well that’s not a big deal, I thought I was a Republican as a teenager, too. But then I remembered that it’s 2019 and actual far-right bigots have successfully replaced the former “Young Republicans,” who in my day were just rich kids who didn’t know any better and thought that you can be a Republican just for the predicted economic benefits to yourself while ignoring what those policies do to marginalized people. Today, it’s rich kids who have actually been radicalized to want bad things to happen to minorities. Case in point, here are some of the things that Harry has overseen as president of the college Republicans:
He invited noted alt-right polemicist Ben Shapiro to the campus and then sued the college when they attempted to charge a fee to cover the increased cost of security.
He tabled an anti-abortion protest with signs reading “Abort the THOT not the TOT”
During Pride week they made signs saying “end gay marriage,” “two genders,” and “build the wall”
At another event they made signs reading “Slippery slope? Homosexuality, pedophilia, beastiality”
He wanted to “start a dialogue” on campus by setting up a table with signs reading “I LOVE (in rainbow) undocumented firearms,” “end gun-free zones” and “ICE ICE BABY” (with the number for immigration and customs enforcement on the back)
So yeah, college republicans have really come along way from my day, when they wore a lot of argyle, sipped whiskeys, and held stupid opinions about, like, the Federal Reserve. Now it’s all guns and hate, and the guy running this campus’s group is on CNN being celebrated for finding a dino skull, with no mention of his major side gig as an alt-right jerkass.
All of this just became particularly relevant because about a 90-minute drive from campus a man with apparently similar views on immigrants and guns, Santino William Legan, opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, where he killed three people (including a 6-year old) and injured dozens more. Just prior to the massacre, Legan posted on social media “Read Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard,” which is a white supremacist anarchist handbook that declares that white men should rule over others with brute violence.
Is Harry Duran responsible for the massacre perpetrated by Santino Legan’s? No, of course not. They’re just two obvious results of a movement that prioritizes “us vs them” thinking, the elevation of white men over every other group, the dehumanization of people you don’t like by comparing them to monsters, the “joking” advocacy of murdering your opponents, and the advocacy of open access to “undocumented” guns. Maybe universities should pay attention to what their student groups are doing on campus, and maybe they should ensure that the ones promoting violent alt-right fantasies aren’t the ones who get opportunities to excavate fossils and get overwhelmingly positive coverage in the mainstream news.