A Troubling View of Post Obama America, Spring 2010
The day after the historic election of Barack Hussein Obama as the first African American President of the United States, on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, two things occurred worthy of note, mainly due to a certain underlying uneasiness attached to the events
The first thing, Stormfront, arguably the most well known hate site on the internet, gained thousands of new members, with an overall rise in hate and anti government group activity seemingly becoming a growing trend since November 4, 2008.
The second thing occurring on November 5, 2008, all across the United States, guns and ammunition began flying off the shelves. To date, as of March 2010, gun store owners continue to report it is an impossible task to keep items in stock.
The two occurrences are not necessarily related. It may be an odd juxtaposition or confluence of coincidence but, given the rhetoric provided by some who express their uncertainty of and disappointment and outrage with the 2008 presidential election results, there may be an overlap of these two realities at some undetermined intersection.
A new report entitled Rage on the Right, released March 2010, provides some disturbing statistics on the continued growth in numbers of a complex and intertwining segment of society that, in combination with a range of additional concerns, has also come to view America’s historic election as an event to be despised and scorned.
The radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation.
Hate groups stayed at record levels — almost 1,000 — despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called "Patriot" groups — militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans — came roaring back after years out of the limelight.
The anger seething across the American political landscape — over racial changes in the population, soaring public debt and the terrible economy, the bailouts of bankers and other elites, and an array of initiatives by the relatively liberal Obama Administration that are seen as "socialist" or even "fascist" — goes beyond the radical right. 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. “We are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in United States history,” Chip Berlet, a veteran analyst of the American radical right, wrote earlier this year. "We see around us a series of overlapping social and political movements populated by people [who are] angry, resentful, and full of anxiety. They are raging against the machinery of the federal bureaucracy and liberal government programs and policies including health care, reform of immigration and labor laws, abortion, and gay marriage."
The above report’s content would tend to support possibilities and conclusions offered in the report entitled Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, released by the Department of Homeland Security in August 2009.
The report was compiled by the previous Bush administration and disseminated to federal, state, local and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials.
The Homeland Security report noted the historic presidential election, the current economic and political climate and jobs losses, among other factors, might be exploited by Right Wing elements to garner support.
(U) Outlook(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that the combination of environmental factors that echo
the 1990s, including heightened interest in legislation for tighter firearms restrictions and
returning military veterans, as well as several new trends, including an uncertain
economy and a perceived rising influence of other countries, may be invigorating
rightwing extremist activity, specifically the white supremacist and militia movements.
To the extent that these factors persist, rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength.
(U//FOUO) Unlike the earlier period, the advent of the Internet and other informationage
technologies since the 1990s has given domestic extremists greater access to
information related to bomb-making, weapons training, and tactics, as well as targeting of
individuals, organizations, and facilities, potentially making extremist individuals and
groups more dangerous and the consequences of their violence more severe. New
technologies also permit domestic extremists to send and receive encrypted
communications and to network with other extremists throughout the country and abroad,
making it much more difficult for law enforcement to deter, prevent, or preempt a violent
Also at NowPublic:
Report States Populist Right Groups Exploded in 2009 by Susan Marie Kovalinsky
Religious Extremism and U.S. Politics: Often an Ominous Pairing
My Interview with Religious Right Founder’s Son, Frank Schaeffer
Why There is Danger in Ignoring Racism in America
The Politics of Fear
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