“[I]n Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.”
“So here you have Barack Obama going in and spending the money on embryonic stem cell research. … Eugenics. In case you don’t know what Eugenics led us to: the Final Solution. A master race! A perfect person. … The stuff that we are facing is absolutely frightening.”
“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”
“What will it take to wake you up to the fact that you are being erased from the future of America? And why are you being erased? If you’re a person of European descent, why do they want your child to be a minority in America? And when your little girl is a minority in America, what will happen to her? Tell me what will happen to her?”
“I believe that there’s a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. There are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go and work in some of these politically correct forums.”
Pat Robertson (re: 9/11):
“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say: “You helped this happen.”
Whenever the situation in this country appears very grim to me, I try to keep perspective by telling myself that things have been worse and that we have overcome similar –or worse—obstacles. I look to history to see if indeed we’ve been there/ done that, and it is almost always true. Because I have been feeling that hate in America has reached a zenith (or would that be a nadir?) I wanted to reassure myself. And while I am reassured that this is nothing new, I am still alarmed at the magnification of hate—and by the wider reach it has now as never before.
In April of 2009, the Department of Homeland Security issued an internal report warning that current conditions resemble those in the early 1990s — a time marked by an upsurge of right-wing extremism that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. Republicans were outraged. But with the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic, closely followed by a shooting by a white supremacist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the analysis looks spot on. There is, however, one important thing that the D.H.S. report didn’t say: Today right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and the Right-wing political establishment.
Since Barack Obama has been elected president, a current of anti-government hostility has taken hold across the United States, creating a climate of fervor and activism with manifestations ranging from incivility in public forums to acts of intimidation and violence.
This hostility is based on the belief that President Obama is a threat to the United States. Some accuse Obama of being a socialist and others that he will bring about Nazism or fascism. These groups believe that this administration will trample on civil liberties due to some sinister agenda, and they see his economic and social policies as manifestations of this agenda. In particular anti-government activists used the issue of health care reform as a rallying point, accusing Obama of “socialized medicine” to “death panels.” Some even compared the Obama administration’s intentions to Nazi eugenics programs.
Barack Obama’s historic victory, celebrated in America and across much of the world as a symbol of racial progress and cultural unity, has also sparked an increase in racist and white supremacist activity, mainly on the Internet, according to leaders of hate groups and the organizations that track them.
Since our President took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under President George W. Bush, according to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President’s Secret Service. That’s about thirty death threats a day.
Neo-Nazi, skinhead and segregationist groups have reported gains in numbers of visitors to their Web sites and in membership. Obama’s success has aroused a community of racists, experts said, incensed by the election of this country’s first black president.
“The truth is, we’re finding an explosion in these kinds of hateful sentiments on the Net, and it’s a growing problem. There are probably thousands of Web sites that do this now. I couldn’t even tell you how many are out there because it’s growing so fast.” — Deborah Lauter, civil rights director for the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate group activity.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center the number of hate groups operating in the United States has grown by 54 percent since 2000 — an increase fueled last year by immigration fears, a failing economy and the successful campaign of Barack Obama. They identified 926 hate groups active in 2008, up more than 4 percent from the 888 groups in 2007 and far above the 602 groups documented in 2000. A list and interactive, state-by-state map of these groups can be viewed here.
“I get nonstop e-mails and private messages from new people who are mad as hell about the possibility of Obama being elected. White people, for a long time, have thought of our government as being for us, and Obama is the best possible evidence that we’ve lost that. This is scaring a lot of people who maybe never considered themselves racists, and it’s bringing them over to our side.” – Don Black, Stormfront.org
Our side does better when the public is being pressured, when gas prices are high, when housing is bad, when a black man [is] president. People start looking for solutions and changes, and we offer radical changes to what’s going on.” — Ron Doggett, who runs a white power group called EURO in Richmond.
There is a very fine line, it seems to me, between out and out hate groups like the militias and white supremacists, and the political far right. While Fox News and the R.N.C. haven’t directly incited violence, Bill O’Reilly has broadcast that “some” called Dr. Tiller “Tiller the Baby Killer,” that he had “blood on his hands,” and that he was a “guy operating a death mill.” They have gone out of their way to provide a platform for conspiracy theories and apocalyptic rhetoric. And at this point, whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased.
In Fox news, we have network mainstreaming of right-wing extremism where millions of Americans get their news. The same can be found in the mainstream print news media. The Washington Times recently ran an opinion piece stating that President Obama “not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself,” and that in any case he has “aligned himself” with the radical Muslim Brotherhood.
And of course, there’s Rush. He has been spewing hatred for decades, but nowadays he is much more powerful: According to a Gallup survey, 10 percent of Republicans now consider him the “main person who speaks for the Republican Party today.” So when Limbaugh peddles conspiracy theories — suggesting that fears over swine flu were being hyped “to get people to respond to government orders” — that’s a case of the conservative media establishment joining hands with the lunatic fringe.
And while we might think Limbaugh represents the fringe, how far on the fringe is The RNC? The R.N.C. says that “the Democratic Party is dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals.” What is the fringe when supposedly respectable news organizations and political figures are making extremism mainstream? The problem when we think in terms of freaks and aberrations is that there are so many of them—a small percentage of 300,000,000 people is still a lot of people. Yes, the worst terrorist attack in our history was perpetrated by a foreign conspiracy. But the second worst, the Oklahoma City bombing, was perpetrated by an all-American lunatic. Politicians and media organizations incite such people at their, and our, peril.
Many of these ravers are motivated by prejudice, but also by an intense strain of anti-government paranoia and belief in conspiracies. These irrational fears motivate a range of people from “grass-roots” tea party movements to extreme anti-government, resurgent militia movements. Some extreme movements may focus around a single, narrow issue, such as abortion; other have ideologies of racial superiority, fanatic religious beliefs or radical political views. Ultimately, this anger, if it continues to grow in scope, may result in an increase in anti-government extremists and the potential for a rise of violent acts.
Some dangers to America originate beyond our shores. But within the United States’ own borders, multitudes of homegrown haters and extremists exist whose beliefs are equally radical and who can be equally dangerous as any Al Qaida terrorist. Hate crimes can affect entire communities; acts of terrorism can affect an entire nation.
I have been looking into the rise of these groups on the internet, because I believe that while hate has been with us since the first Homo Sapiens appeared, it has become more easily spread due to the double-edged wonder of the internet. I am in the process of writing about this in five parts:
1. HISTORY OF HATE GROUPS IN USA
2. HATE SPEECH AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT
3. PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE GROUPS AND HOW THEY RECRUIT
4. RISE OF HATE ON THE INTERNET/ CORRELATION BETWEEN INTERNET HATE AND HATE CRIMES
5. WHAT WE CAN DO
I believe that the social fabric is extremely delicate and fragile. Forces bent on destruction, even if they are a tiny portion of the population, can cause real damage—not only physical damage, but psychic damage. With a black president, an extreme economic crisis and the fear generated by the continuing threat of international terrorism, America seems exceptionally vulnerable to these virulently destructive forces.
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it,” –Dr. Martin Luther King.