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Steve Bannon – Open-Minded or Closed Book? (11.28.16)

Steve Bannon is from my hometown Richmond, VA. Here’s my 2 cents about president-elect Donald Trump appointing this “gentleman” as White House Chief Strategist based on an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. I read the article in the printed version of the newspaper delivered to my front door which had a very different headline from the digital article headline stating, “Steve Bannon Talks Richmond Roots, Says Trump will Condemn all Forms of Racism.” Since I grew up in Richmond, VA, I am sharing my perspective of this “Son of Richmond” whom I’ve never heard of until this election.

Steve Bannon grew up in Ginter Park, a well designed, older neighborhood (established in approximately 1885) created by Major Lewis W. Ginter who was a brilliant millionaire philanthropist who built his fortune on rolled cigarette manufacturing. Ginter Park was considered the “Queen of the Suburbs” back in the day. Even today, this unique historic neighborhood is not considered urban. It is the first suburb of Richmond that led to suburban sprawl. In other words, Steve Bannon did not grow up in the city. He grew up in the suburbs.

Although Bannon grew up in Richmond during the “white flight” of the 1960s and 1970s, his parents elected to continue living in Ginter Park and sent their son to an all white, all male, private Catholic school called Benedictine which was founded in 1911. Every parent has a right to provide their children with the best education, however I doubt this private school environment based on one single religion with one gender type immersed Steve Bannon into a diversified student body. Yes, he had to travel into part of the city to attend this school, but this private institution was an island of privileged class located near the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He hardly experienced urban living attending this insulated environment.

Bannon attended Hokie Nation in the early 1970s prior to it becoming the powerhouse that it is today. Virginia Tech was originally known as V.P.I. (Virginia Polytechnic Institute). The original mission of a land-grant institution like VA Tech was “to focus on the teaching of practical agriculture, science, military science and engineering, as a response to the industrial revolution and changing social class.” I would venture to guess that this student body was primarily white males based on the emphasis of the subject matter taught and it stayed a primarily white male student body until the late ’60s and early ’70s when the women’s rights movement and the civil rights movements peaked.

“Bannon remembers his mother being fascinated by the political rise of former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, another Ginter Park resident who became the first African-American to be elected governor [in 1990] of any state.” The word “fascinated” in that sentence feels very judgmental and racist to me.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “When Steve Bannon saw Wall Street’s recklessness [financial crash of 2008] hit home and the impact on his father, it fueled his rage against a system he now describes as ‘socialism for the wealthy,’ where benefits accrue to those at the top while the downside is spread among the masses.” Steve Bannon worked as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs. He helped people with money invest their money. Therefore, didn’t he help create “socialism for the wealthy?”

According to Bannon, “The deplorables are not racist.” Steve talks about his and Trump’s fan base as if they are cute, adorable Minions. You’d have to lack critical thinking skills to believe Brietbart News. Read Brietbart News and come to your own conclusion about whether or not Trump supporters are racists. Take this research a step further and explore how this “news” source shares information about women and birth control. The article “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” written by Milo Yiannopoulus posted December 8, 2015 was shared 35,258 times on Facebook. If young males and females believe this article filled with BS written by a gay “Jew” practicing Catholicism, birth control just took 100 steps backwards.

Steve Bannon has a lot of formal, higher education and came of age during tumultuous change in our society influenced by women’s rights and civil rights. His frame of reference growing up was conservative white male military institutions in Virginia. Steve Bannon is not open-minded and I cringe at the thought of him manipulating president-elect Donald Trump to carry out his vision to recreate the WUCMOC (White Ultra Conservative Males Only Club). Steve Bannon appears to be a closed book.