For What it's Worth.... Author: RaineDate:03/04/2010 13:58:18
Paranoia strikes deep Into your life it will creep It starts when you're always afraid You step out of line, the man come and take you away We better stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down
You know the song, it was allegedly written to get people to recognize the turbulence going on during the 60's, especially regarding Vietnam. Today, after reading about a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) it takes on a different slant to it's ominous message.
The number of extremist groups in the United States exploded in 2009 as militias and other groups steeped in wild, antigovernment conspiracy theories exploited populist anger across the country and infiltrated the mainstream, according to a report issued today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
[...] Patriot groups have been fueled by anger over the changing demographics of the country, the soaring public debt, the troubled economy and an array of initiatives by President Obama that have been branded "socialist" or even "fascist" by his political opponents.
"This extraordinary growth is a cause for grave concern," said Intelligence Report editor Mark Potok. "The people associated with the Patriot movement during its 1990s heyday produced an enormous amount of violence, most dramatically the Oklahoma City bombing that left 168 people dead."
The Patriot movement has made significant inroads into the conservative political scene, according to the new report. "The ‘tea parties' and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism," the report says.
Unlike the 1990s, the Patriot movement's central ideas are being promoted by people with large audiences, such as FOX News' Glenn Beck and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Beck, for instance, reinvigorated a key Patriot conspiracy theory - the charge that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is secretly running concentration camps - before finally "debunking" it.
It's important to note that Oklahoma City Bombing occurred April of 1995, Fox News did not start broadcasting until october of 1996. There was no Fox News Channel at the time. At it's infancy, it was rather benign. That changed drastically over the years. Their involvement with these groups in marketing them is well documented.
There is something in the air here. I no longer hope that the likes of Sarah Palin will run for office because it will provide one party a political victory in her potential defeat. It not worth even flirting with that idea any more. As the report says, these 'tea parties' cannot be "fairly be considered extremist groups" -- they are however, a ripe breading ground for such extremist behavior. We ignore them at our peril and we pay attention to them at our peril. When people, including elected officials don't condemn terrorists like Joe Stack for flying a plane into a federal building there is a terrible problem. Frank Rich touched on this issue last Sunday:
[...] Such violent imagery and invective, once largely confined to blogs and talk radio, is now spreading among Republicans in public office or aspiring to it. Last year Michele Bachmann, the redoubtable Tea Party hero and Minnesota congresswoman, set the pace by announcing that she wanted “people in Minnesota armed and dangerous” to oppose Obama administration climate change initiatives. In Texas, the Tea Party favorite for governor, Debra Medina, is positioning herself to the right of the incumbent, Rick Perry — no mean feat given that Perry has suggested that Texas could secede from the union. A state sovereignty zealot, Medina reminded those at a rally that “the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”
In the heyday of 1960s left-wing radicalism, no liberal Democratic politicians in Washington could be found endorsing groups preaching violent revolution. The right has a different history. In the months before McVeigh’s mass murder, Helen Chenoweth and Steve Stockman, then representing Idaho and Texas in Congress, publicly empathized with the conspiracy theories of the far right that fueled his anti-government obsessions.
He's correct. We have establishment politicians endorsing radical groups in America. Like throwing fire on gasoline, no good can come of this. We were lucky that Stack only killed on person. His intent, however, was a lot more devastating. Look at what has already happened in the past year.
There are already signs of radical right violence reminiscent of the 1990s. Right-wing extremists have murdered six law enforcement officers since Obama's inauguration. Racist skinheads and others have been arrested in alleged plots to assassinate the president. Most recently, as recounted in the new issue of the Intelligence Report, a number of individuals with antigovernment, survivalist or racist views have been arrested in a series of bomb cases.
There can be no more denying that the level of animosity is on the rise. What do we do? We keep focusing on the people who own the gasoline. We keep exposing the money and people that are fueling this hatred and maybe -- just maybe -- people will stop, and look around.