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White Right-Wing American Extremists Primary Threat To Nation

January 18, 2021

What took place on January 6th when terrorists stormed the United States Capitol and postponed the process of counting the Electoral College votes, as mandated in the Constitution, was the latest and most chilling example of the greatest threat our nation faces. The threat did not come from outside the nation, or from a faith not predominant in the land. Rather the act of violence, death, and terror came from white Americans who can not seem to understand the nation in which they reside.

As I watched the hours of coverage as the hordes marched, shouted, and committed all sorts of crimes my mind flashed to the long-ago Phil Donahue shows that would feature a right-wing extremist or group as to demonstrate the shocking ignorance that still existed in the nation.  I recall as a teenager, and young adult, watching such guests and wondering how they could be so uneducated. So to see the crisis unfold at the Capitol at the age of 58 was a reminder of how much remains the same. If anything, the vileness seems to be on the increase.

Over time I have written about my concern that since 9/11, as anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric increased in volume, and in turn policies such as the Donald Trump administration’s horrible travel-ban became the focus, the areas that truly needed law-enforcement’s attention were being side-lined. The threat which required utmost attention was the far-right lunatics amassing weapons and hate-filled ideology. The foreign threats were of real concern–do not get me wrong–and needed to be assessed by our homeland security officials, but so did the white Americans who were fostering their hate in small groups and connecting via social media. Jihadism was the sparkling object too many wanted to pay attention to when it was the racism of the Tea Party that should have been a focal point.

For too long there was a continual stoking of resentments by conservative agitators to rile up the white men about alleged grievances in the nation and to get them to believe they were being treated unfairly. Ann Coulter, as a prime example, described her version of the Democratic Party on Fox News.

I mean you have the Muslims and the Jews and the various exotic sexual groups and the black church ladies with the college queers … you must hate white men. It’s the one thing they have in common.

This was the vile racism being openly promoted on a major network and aimed at the easily-led demographics. A large segment of that viewer base was soon lulled into Tea Party politics. Meanwhile, the rest of the nation fully understood that white males in America had lived on a rainbow in this nation.  Always have. The entire power and governing structure were designed, from the drafting of the Constitution, to accommodate white males.

So what gives with all the anger and nastiness that has permeated our politics for several election cycles and went into bizarro land since the general election in 2020? There is no doubt in uneasy economic times that all sorts of ugly fissures open in society and ooze stuff that in better times are kept in check. That, in and of itself, is not a new phenomenon. And yet, the volume of disgusting actions and words that have erupted in recent weeks make that simple attempt for an answer inadequate to what we all witness.

When we dig down into the extreme nastiness of those who shout and break into federal buildings we see and hear the fear that reaches beyond basic economics which is often seen as the fault line. Rather, at the heart of the anger of these white people, is the fact that when they looked at President Obama or now see soon-to-be Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris they are looking at the future.  And it gets them all unsettled. While there are other cultural issues or economic matters (such as large banks and bailouts) that stir the rage of these people, the heart of it is always about race.

After all, a white majority population in America is not the future.  The world is brown, and the trend lines have this country moving in the same direction.  And quickly.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Embracing what makes us diverse has always been the way for social progress, and it also allows for personal enrichment.  But it also allows for a certain segment to lash out and act in ways that society, or a democracy, can not abide.

There was no way not to laugh at the Tea Party types when they disparaged Obama because he was Black, or tried to paint him as a Muslim, or not recognize he was a constitutional scholar. If only they could tarnish him enough and bring this ‘uppity black man’ down a peg or two they then could feel so much better about their own lives.

I have no way to understand the fear and anger that consumes these types of people, but we all can agree that the way they were handled on January 6th, and in the days since underscores again how whites do get preferential treatment. Had it been Muslims who had conducted the terrorists attack on the Capitol they would have been shot on the spot. In the following days, mass arrests would have occurred and those who incited the riot and participated in it would not be out on bail or offered organic meals.

Toxic beliefs have been brewing in the minds of some white Americans for a long time, and have been stirred and fomented by Donald Trump and a large segment of the Republican Party. They must be combatted and it is imperative that just as we moved aggressively after 9/11 we now also act with new powers modeled on those crafted to fight Islamic terrorism. The reason is clear, The majority of deadly extremist incidents in our country are motivated and conducted by far-right ideologies, especially those with their primary allegiance to white supremacy. But, as I noted above, it is the threat of Islamic radicalism that commands a far greater share of government resources.

That must change.

January 6 taught that lesson in frighteningly tragic detail.

And so it goes.

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