Now we are burning Mosques, children are beating up their Muslim classmates and throwning pigs’ heads out of pickup trucks. There have been nearly 100 Islamophobic acts committed in the U.S. since Paris. At least one Muslim has been assaulted every day since San Bernardino.
It doesn’t surprise me that Donald Trump is the bandleader of this ridiculousness or that he wants to ban all Muslims from entering the country. What gets me is that so many — our friends, family and neighbors — appear to agree with him. More than a third of US want to ban all Muslims, and more than half of Republicans, 54 percent, think the same.
While the mainstream media obsesses over who radicalized that California couple, I gotta ask who’s radicalizing the U.S.?
Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism
The Planned Parenthood shooter who killed three and injured nine claimed he was a “warrior for the babies.” He was “radicalized” by the recent persecution of Planned Parenthood by the GOP. The FBI didn’t have to dredge a lake or connect the dots through Facebook posts; the guy screamed it to anyone who would listen at the time of his arrest and later in open court. He quoted Republican Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina, verbatim, screaming “No more dead baby parts.” Yet CNN host Chris Cuomo was eviscerated by the conservative media for even mentioning it.
To date, extreme right-wing terrorists have murdered 11 and left another 26 injured in anti-abortion violence. In 2014 alone, the FBI tracked 5,479 hate crimes. But those numbers — for political reasons — are under reported by 67 percent. States with Republican-led legislatures balk at the entire notion of hate crimes and do not provide the FBI with statistics. At least 11 states do not even attach sentence enhancements to those crimes giving prosecuting attorneys no incentive to report them as such.
Since 2008, we have repeatedly been warned that homegrown violent extremists pose a bigger threat than Islamic extremists. Yet, the term “Extremist Rightwing Terrorist” barely exists in the American lexicon.
In June, a 21-year-old avowed white supremacist killed nine black parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. At the time, conservative media outlets had the nerve to argue it was about faith and not race. Shortly after the Ferguson, Mo. protest — in which an unarmed black teen was killed and the cops were not charged — five black churches in Missouri were burned down.
Unique visits to white supremacist websites tripled immediately following the election of Barack Obama. Now, those same hate groups are again being emboldened by Islamophobia.
“Demoralization has been the biggest enemy and Trump is changing all that,” said Don Black, a founder of Stormfront, a prominent white supremacist group. “He has sparked an insurgency and I don’t think it’s going to go away.”
‘American Acceptance’ is ‘American Exceptionalism’
Consider this for just a minute: The leading Republican presidential contender is an unapologetic birther. He believes, or exposes for political purposes, that President Obama — through some elaborate Manchurian Candidate-like plot — was secretly born in another country and his entire identity was fabricated. The more vile, racist, sexist, fantastical, and illogical his rhetoric gets, the higher he rises in the polls.
We have political candidates talking about killing the family members of suspected terrorists, without even a hint of irony. Don’t they understand that those proposed actions are “terrorism?”
Why is it that every time a disenfranchised white guy goes into a store and needs to find someone who speaks English, drives home listening to Rush Limbaugh and then turns on Fox News, people don’t see that as potential for radicalization?
Even as a black woman who grew up in the supposedly impoverished neighborhood where that serial rapist cop was convicted of victimizing poor black women, it’s a little hard to take the double standard given to white supremacist behavior and terrorist acts in this country.
The Rise of Mainstream Extremism
I was in Oklahoma back in 1995 when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The reverberations were felt citywide. One hundred and sixty eight people died that day, including 16 children, as the building also housed a day care center. We struggled to understand what happened. McVeigh was called a survivalist with anti-government tendencies though he was a text book terrorist radicalized by the Gulf War and later Waco, Tx.
From casualties to recruiting tactics, the only thing separating the extremist right wing terrorism from radical Islamic terrorism, is the “DIY: How to Build a Bomb in Your Mother’s Basement” and the fact that while Isis and Al-Qaeda seek to terrorize all of us, homegrown extremists typically seek to only terrorizes some of us. American extremists are often radicalized by our own dysfunctional politics. They are being radicalized by mainstream news outlets, out in the open, and no one dares to publicly call them out for it.
Terrorists distort (insert cause) then justify their murderous agenda with the governmental construct of “war.” All of these people, whether it’s guy who stormed into Dr. George Tiller’s church and shot him dead or the “mastermind” behind the attacks in Paris, believe they are in the middle of a war. It’s always us against them. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at what’s happening now in Oregon with “Armed Protesters” taking over federal land in the name of a criminal. The refusal of most media outlets to call them terrorists speaks volumes about the rise of mainstream extremism and why Trump is so popular with GOP voters.
In this socio-political climate, with so much economic and global political unrest, we could very well end up with President Donald J. Trump. The very thought of that outcome terrorizes the hell out of me.
Devona Walker is a contributing politics writer to The Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @DevonaWalker.