He knocked it out of the park on this one…
Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat or risk to health or life, status and power, security, or in the case of human beings, anything held valuable. Republicans have made political careers out of inducing fear in the population that became a valuable tool in their crusade against Islam they couched as a war on terror. Although the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were becoming extremely unpopular at the end of Bush’s reign of terror in 2008, Republicans duly picked up the “Muslim threat” mantle with the election of Barack Obama as President by claiming that the President is a Muslim sympathizer at least, and a likely “jihadist” according to many neo-conservatives in the teabagger movement.
It is no secret Republicans love sending Americans to war, particularly after 2001 when they lumped all Muslims together as an existential threat to this country and embarked on a fear-mongering crusade that America’s greatest enemy was Islam. However, Americans will never hear a Republican, or teabagger, issue even a tepid warning about a very real threat to America; heavily-armed and disgruntled neo-confederates and white supremacists who harbor as intense a hatred for people of color as they do being part of the United States of America. Coupled with a growing religious extremist and anti-government militia movement, the biggest threat to America is not radical Islamists or a foreign power, but homegrown extremists intent on creating an Aryan nation founded on biblical principles.
Last week the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) revealed that a white supremacist neo-confederate group, the League of the South (LOS), is in the process of training a uniformed, paramilitary unit tasked with advancing a second southern secession by any means necessary after years of “only threatening violence against the United States of America.” According to leaked internal documents and anonymous sources within the LOS, as well as leaked internal communications, the LOS secret paramilitary unit has been dubbed “The Indomitables” replete with white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members, and neo-Nazis.
The SPLC reports that “the Indomitables” were “conceptualized” at a LOS national meeting earlier in the year and apparently is growing quickly with a U.S. Army and Navy veteran in charge of training for the coming race war to create an Aryan nation. The ‘veteran’ often boasts about “earning his red bootlaces; an award in skinhead culture for “drawing blood for the movement.” He also dreams of the coming day he can throw “boot parties for enemies” (African Americans) of the LOS. The white supremacist’s signature photo is an image of himself holding an assault rifle next to a confederate flag.
The League of the South advocates for a new secession and an Aryan society dominated by “European Americans” with a stated goal of creating a “godly” nation ruled by “Anglo-Celtic” (white) elites who establish a Christian theocratic state and dominate African Americans and other minorities. The group’s leader, Michael Hill, believes that “Somebody needs to say a good word for slavery,” and that returning to a “political and social system based on kith and kin rather than the idea of the universal rights of man. At its core is a European population.” According to Hill, “If the scenario of America being overrun by hordes of non-whites does not appeal to you, then how is this disaster to be averted? By the people who oppose it rising up against their traitorous elite masters and their misanthropic rule. This is both healthy and Biblical.”
Hill claimed last month that the Second Amendment extends to weapons systems, guerrilla warfare applications, and listed the “primary targets” in the fight for an Aryan nation. Hill wrote in an essay that “The primary targets will be political leaders, members of the hostile media, cultural icons, bureaucrats, and other of the managerial elite without whom the engines of tyranny don’t run.” He ended his white supremacist screed by citing the Christian bible; “Blessed be the Lord my strength who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight.”
Now, every time there is even a mention of the growing threat of white supremacists pushing a race war, which is what the LOS is proposing in creating an Aryan nation, there is a tendency to minimize the threat as a small group of isolated extremists; nothing could be farther from the truth. If Americans have been paying attention to events across the nation, they know there is a simmering hatred for people of color among a larger segment of the population than they want to admit. The events in Ferguson Missouri where a white police officer brutally murdered an unarmed African American teenager, and the subsequent military response to equally unarmed African American protestors should give Americans a clue there is a deep-seated hatred of people of color in America. Don’t believe it?
In New York police are given free rein to stop and frisk African Americans for no other reason than they are not white. In Arizona, Republicans passed a law giving law enforcement the right to demand brown-skinned people prove they are American, and police across the nation are regularly gunning down unarmed African Americans with impunity. In Southern states Republicans are crusading to disenfranchise African Americans by restricting their right to vote, including recently in Georgia where a Republican state senator is livid that voting rights advocates made it easier for African Americans to cast ballots and wants to shut down the Black vote. Throughout the 2012 general election campaign and ongoing, Republicans demonized African Americans as takers stealing real American’s (read white people) assets. It was no coincidence that Cliven Bundy is a racist that attracted equally racist militias to wage war against the federal government with an African American man as President.
Many Americans errantly assume that the white supremacists threatening a race war, or advocating for an Aryan nation, are restricted to the former Confederacy and that is a gross error. Every state in the Union has neo-Nazi white supremacist sympathizers who cannot accept, and are furious, that America is a diverse and all-inclusive nation. Subsequently, they are more than willing to engage in a race war to create what the League of the South refers to as “a godly nation ruled by Anglo-Celtic elites to dominate African Americans and people of color.” This is what teabaggers, Republicans, and their ilk refer to when they scream they want to “take America back;” back to a time before the civil rights movement when people of color “knew their place,” were restricted from voting, and were legally forced into subjection to the will of the white Christian elite.
The greatest threat to the security of this country is not from outside its borders, it is from within. There is a good reason Republicans and their conservative cohorts never warn Americans of the threat from white supremacists and it is because they would expose their base as the greatest threat to America. Remember, it was Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who said “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term,” but it is not for lack of trying. Obviously, his words were a rallying cry for white supremacists to stop dreaming of a race war and begin paramilitary training to wage a race war and create a nation ruled by “angry white guys.”
Many Americans think there are pockets of racists in different parts of the country and although that may be true, it is a safe bet that every person in America knows at least one angry white person. They are the people who hate immigrants, support law enforcement targeting and killing African Americans, refer to every young Black male as a “thug,” or decry people of color “taking their stuff.” They are predominately conservatives, teabaggers, and more than likely any Republican yearning to take America back to the era when Anglo-Celtic elites dominated African Americans, and since they can hardly accomplish their mission legislatively, they are in training to accomplish it militarily. Tragically, few Americans are paying attention or fear the real threat to national security; angry white guys posing as “real conservatives” whether they are teabaggers, Republicans, or members of the League of the South.
There is no lower bound on modern so-called conservatism. It’s not going to happen.
As an example, [Fox & Friends] aired two emergency calls from Spanish speakers each identified on-screen as “Immigrant.” In the first, a distressed male requests emergency assistance for his cousin, whom the man described as “turning blue.” Another call featured a man and woman explaining to the 911 operator that they have not had access to water in three days.[Host Brian Kilmeade] asked the deputy, “So those calls, you have to respond to, even though for the most part, when you get there you realize, they’re not even American citizens?”
As we watch the nice network host very grumpily contemplate the injury that must be being inflicted on America due to various non-citizens not breathing or slowly dying of thirst on our dime, keep in mind that is a contingent of viewers out there who believe absolutely that yes, we should let people calling 911 die if they cannot prove they are American citizens, and would happily tell you so on national television. There’s also a contingent that thinks you should die a preventable death if you do not have the right kind of health insurance or if your employer did not feel like giving you any, and who are willing to pipe up with that theory even during a presidential debate. There are people who bring their hands together to clap lustily when a candidate brags that they have personally presided over the efficient execution of a new record number of prisoners, and many would probably clap just as hard if a candidate announced that he had a plan to streamline things even further by simply executing all of those prisoners at once, say in some sort of gas chamber. There are groups now who parade around with loaded guns and declare that the elected leaders who oppose them are, for whatever scant reasons they can come up with, simply illegitimate; this notion of illegitimate rule has been absorbed into and is entrenched even our highest legislative chambers. All the various pieces are there to turn us into a nation of monsters, nationalistic feudalists who are are self-assured in our expansions of business rights and just as self-assured in our calculations of which actual living persons in the world, American or otherwise, have lost their last chance and need to be ignored or disposed of before they cost the rest of us any more cash.
We think of ourselves as exceptional, but we are a hair’s breadth from constructing internment camps for migrant children under the declaration that they are too disease-riddled to mingle with the rest of the population. There are increasingly aggressive responses to even the rumor that a few of those children might arrive nearby, and our top politicians are eager to get themselves photographed among military-garbed, heavily armed troops meant to stem the influx of foreigners who put America’s continued existence at risk merely by stepping onto our own soil. We have already established that we consider war crimes justifiable, so long as the reasons are deemed pure. We elect those that will patiently explain to us why the Bill of Rights no longer applies to some Americans. The thought that we would consider global humanitarian norms to constrain our own possible actions already stirs great anger among many of self-proclaimed “true” patriots.
This is just a friendly reminder as we watch the hosts on television ponder these things and watch the people with big, misspelled signs confront buses full of suspicious-looking children from nearby summer camps. There is no natural lower bound here, no fail-safe switch that ensures things will go to a certain point but never any further. And no matter how sweetly the nice people on television smile as they ponder the fate of the poor or the powerless or how assured the politicians sound as they explain the common sense of these things, whether it be the announcement that corporate religions trump personal faith, the existential dangers of the disease-riddled other in our midst, or whatever other new obvious truths are suddenly discovered as each year ticks on, it should rightly be terrifying.
The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You’ve lost me and you’ve lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I’d like to give you some advice and an invitation.
First, the invitation: Come back to us.
Now the advice. You’re going to have to come up with a platform that isn’t built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task.
Your party — the GOP — and the conservative end of the American political spectrum have become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it’s tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some examples — by no means an exhaustive list — of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.
If you’re going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you’ll have to start by draining this swamp:
You can’t flip out – and threaten impeachment – when Dems use a parliamentary procedure (deem and pass) that you used repeatedly (more than 35 times in just one session and more than 100 times in all!), that’s centuries old and which the courts have supported. Especially when your leaders admit it all.
You can’t vote and scream against the stimulus package and then take credit for the good it’s done in your own district (happily handing out enormous checks representing money that you voted against, is especially ugly) — 114 of you (at last count) did just that – and it’s even worse when you secretly beg for more.
You can’t call for a pay-as-you-go policy, and then vote against your own ideas.
Are they “unlawful enemy combatants” or are they “prisoners of war” at Gitmo? You can’t have it both ways.
You can’t be for immigration reform, then against it .
You can’t flip out when the black president puts his feet on the presidential desk when you were silent about white presidents doing the same. Bush. Ford.
You can’t flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush. Nixon. Ike. You didn’t even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed leaders of countries that are not on “kissing terms” with the US.
You can’t complain that the undies bomber was read his Miranda rights under Obama when the shoe bomber was read his Miranda rights under Bush and you remained silent. (And, no, Newt – the shoe bomber was not a US citizen either, so there is no difference.)
You can’t attack the Dem president for not personally* publicly condemning a terrorist event for 72 hours when you said nothing about the Rep president waiting 6 days in an eerily similar incident (and, even then, he didn’t issue any condemnation). *Obama administration did the day of the event.
You can’t throw a hissy fit, sound alarms and cry that Obama freed Gitmo prisoners who later helped plan the Christmas Day undie bombing, when — in fact — only one former Gitmo detainee, released by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, helped to plan the failed attack.
You can’t mount a boycott against singers who say they’re ashamed of the president for starting a war, but remain silent when another singer says he’s ashamed of the president and falsely calls him a Maoist who makes him want to throw up and says he ought to be in jail.
You can’t support the individual mandate for health insurance, then call it unconstitutional when Dems propose it and campaign against your own ideas.
You can’t be both pro-choice and anti-choice.
You can’t condemn criticizing the president when US troops are in harms way, then attack the president when US troops are in harms way , the only difference being the president’s party affiliation (and, by the way, armed conflict does NOT remove our right and our duty as Americans to speak up).
You can’t be both for cap-and-trade policy and against it.
If you push anti-gay legislation and make anti-gay speeches, you should probably take a pass on having gay sex, regardless of whether it’s 2004 or 2010. This is true, too, if you’re taking GOP money and giving anti-gay rants on CNN. Taking right-wing money and GOP favors to write anti-gay stories for news sites while working as a gay prostitute, doubles down on both the hypocrisy and the prostitution. This is especially true if you claim your anti-gay stand is God’s stand, too.
When you chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, you can’t send sexy emails to 16-year-old boys (illegal anyway, but you made it hypocritical as well).
You can’t criticize Dems for not doing something you didn’t do while you held power over the past 16 years, especially when the Dems have done more in one year than you did in 16.
You can’t spend more than 40 years hating, cutting and trying to kill Medicare, and then pretend to be the defenders of Medicare
You can’t praise the Congressional Budget Office when it’s analysis produces numbers that fit your political agenda, then claim it’s unreliable when it comes up with numbers that don’t.
You can’t vote for X under a Republican president, then vote against X under a Democratic president. Either you support X or you don’t. And it makes it worse when you change your position merely for the sake obstructionism.
You can’t call a reconciliation out of bounds when you used it repeatedly.
You can’t demand everyone listen to the generals when they say what fits your agenda, and then ignore them when they don’t.
You can’t whine that it’s unfair when people accuse you of exploiting racism for political gain, when your party’s former leader admits you’ve been doing it for decades.
You can’t complain about a lack of bipartisanship when you’ve routinely obstructed for the sake of political gain – threatening to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation in one session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented — and admitted it. Some admissions are unintentional, others are made proudly. This is especially true when the bill is the result of decades of compromise between the two parties and is filled with your own ideas.
You can’t preach and try to legislate “Family Values” when you: take nude hot tub dips with teenagers (and pay them hush money); cheat on your wife with a secret lover and lie about it to the world; cheat with a staffer’s wife (and pay them off with a new job); pay hookers for sex while wearing a diaper and cheating on your wife; or just enjoying an old fashioned non-kinky cheating on your wife; try to have gay sex in a public toilet; authorize the rape of children in Iraqi prisons to coerce their parents into providing information; seek, look at or have sex with children; replace a guy who cheats on his wife with a guy who cheats on his pregnant wife with his wife’s mother;
You really need to disassociate with those among you who:
You can’t cut a leading Founding Father out the history books because you’ve decided you don’t like his ideas.
You cant repeatedly assert that the president refuses to say the word “terrorism” or say we’re at war with terror when we have an awful lot of videotape showing him repeatedly assailing terrorism and using those exact words.
You can’t just pretend historical events didn’t happen in an effort to make a political opponent look dishonest or to make your side look better. Especially these events. (And, no, repeating it doesn’t make it better.)
You can’t say things that are simply and demonstrably false: health care reform will not push people out of their private insurance and into a government-run program ; health care reform (which contains a good many of your ideas and very few from the Left) is a long way from “socialist utopia”; health care reform is not “reparations”; nor does health care reform create “death panels”.
You have to condemn those among you who:
Oh, and I’m not alone: One of your most respected and decorated leaders agrees with me.
So, dear conservatives, get to work. Drain the swamp of the conspiracy nuts, the bald-faced liars undeterred by demonstrable facts, the overt hypocrisy and the hatred. Then offer us a calm, responsible, grownup agenda based on your values and your vision for America. We may or may not agree with your values and vision, but we’ll certainly welcome you back to the American mainstream with open arms. We need you.
(Anticipating your initial response: No there is nothing that even comes close to this level of wingnuttery on the American Left.)
Written by Russell King