I’ve watched the States closer than most for most of my adult life and while I don’t want to freak readers out, things are getting really, really ugly down there and I’m worried. Still, I’m just an armchair observer. I don’t know all the facts. I haven’t done studies.
But fortunately (I guess), some people do. And here’s what one found. And it’s creepy.
The Guardian, the first newspaper I go to in the morning, reports on a U.S. civil rights organization that’s just released a study on dangerous and escalating right-wing radicalism. According to the Guardian:
The [Southern Poverty Law Centre] report, called Rage on the Right, said the rise in extremist groups was “a cause for grave concern” given their propensity to use violence during their heyday in the 90s, most notably with the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. It added that the issues driving support for such groups were increasingly populist and that “signs of growing radicalisation are everywhere”.
The Guardian story claims a 250 per cent rise in right-wing militias in the states. They’re being fuelled by fear of changing demographics (more blacks, Hispanics and other minorities), falling economic power, religion and right-wing conspiracy pundits like a certain prominent Fox News egomaniac/sociopath.
The report says that, unlike during the 1990s, the patriot movement’s core ideas are more widely propagated and accepted by prominent politicians and some in the mass media, such as the Fox News presenter Glenn Beck.
“As the movement has exploded, so has the reach of its ideas, aided and abetted by commentators and politicians in the ostensible mainstream,” said the report. “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.”
The most powerful country in the world is gripped by paranoia, hatred, ignorance, religious fervour, racism and general psychosis. Madmen are flying planes into IRS buildings and Republican politicians are sympathetic (Think Progress). Lunatics are showing up at political events with legally-purchased assault weaponry. Religious militias are using proto-Taliban harrasment techniques on “sinners” (Daily Kos). They’re shooting abortion doctors.
The country is a sneeze away from a very violent, fascist uprising–and if the military joined in, we’d all be fucked.
I guess the take-away point is this: We need to educate ourselves about what’s going on in the States and be vigilant for signs of it in our own country.
And President Obama needs to wear a bullet-proof vest and stay the hell out of Texas.