I’m not gonna pray to God to bless Barack Obama. This is my prayer tonight to Barack Obama…I like to pray God’s word. This is the only prayer that applies to him, Break his teeth, oh God, in his mouth, you know as a snail that’s melted, let him pass away.
This is an excerpt from Tempe, AZ Pastor Steven Anderson’s, “Why I hate Barack Obama,” sermon.
A community leader, a man of God, has called for the death of the president, this disturbing message is one more example of the hate that is also spread by many talk radio hosts and found in the blogosphere. Consider the comments from the blog FreeRepublic.com regarding Sasha and Malia, President Obama’s school aged children: “A typical street whore. A bunch of ghetto thugs. Ghetto street trash. Wonder when she will get her first abortion.”
A brief search on Quantcast.com reveals that FreeRepublic.com receives 1.6 million visitors a month, 57 percent of whom are men and 80 percent white. The real eye-opener, as the Vancouver Sun reported on July 14th, was the equally shocking comments that followed. The site may have provided a de facto endorsement of the messages as it failed to remove them for nearly 24 hours and only after a researcher filed a complaint.
While the current national debate is being influenced by hate rather than reason, the Christian right wing movement has been polluted with racism. Further examination reveals a racist, anti-Semitic and fascist effort that has created a sinister undercurrent in American society that has been stirring for the better part of the century.
Many of our current day militias share forerunners who sought to emulate Hitler and his Nazi movement.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center the current political climate is inspiring an increase in militia activity. The tone of the current debate, as it did in the Clinton era, can prove to be extremely dangerous for our citizens and the militias themselves. Consider the following events: Ruby Ridge (1992); the Branch Davidian standoff (1993); Oklahoma City Bombing (1995) and the Montana Freeman standoff (1996), all resulting in significant loss of human life.
These homegrown challenges defined terrorism for many Americans in a country that found itself largely insulated from foreign attacks. The tragedy of September 11th eight years ago changed all this. Through the actions of our law enforcement, military and enhanced national security, the United States, has protected its people from foreign and domestic threats.
In April 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published an assessment with the goal of further understanding rightwing extremism in the United States and to assist law enforcement officials on the federal and local level combat terrorism. The SPLC intelligence report and the DHS assessment attributes the recent increase of right wing recruitment and activity to the economic downturn, election of the first Black president, the rise of multiculturism and immigration. Many of these issues parallel the driving forces of the 1990s militia movement, and should serve as a warning to America’s leaders.
DHS reports that many of the recruits are being drawn from the same sources as those of the 90s for their military skill sets. A 2008 FBI report claims veterans of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are joining extremist groups. The threat to our national security is real. The potential for domestic terrorism will grow as the flames of discontent are fanned the rhetoric of the radio waves, the spread of hate and recruitment tools on the Internet and the promotion of murder and intolerance from those in leadership positions.
Researching the various media sharing sites, one finds a stockpile of videos glamorizing the militia lifestyle and promoting an anti-government agenda. All of this activity is completely legal and protected under the Constitution. It might be legal, but it most certainly is part of a movement that inspires lone wolves like Timothy McVeigh, a United States Army veteran, responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing and consequently the death of 168 people. That was 14 years ago, but the past year has seen the murder of a security guard at the National Holocaust Museum, the murder of three police officers in Pittsburgh, PA driven by racism and anti-government ideology, the murder of a 10 year old Hispanic girl by a former member of the Minuteman Project and finally Christopher Broughton, a member of Pastor Anderson’s flock, carrying an AR-15 to President’s Obama’s VFW address at the Phoenix Convention Center, which turned out to be a publicity stunt.
The hate remains strong and has been woven into the national discourse. Each time a radio talk show hosts pollutes the airwaves with their “anti” rhetoric, each time a blogger makes racist comments about the first family and each time a pastor calls for the death of the president, the flames grow higher. If unchecked the flames of hate will consume our great nation, in loss of life and principle.
Randolph Gonzales is a graduate of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He hopes that his contributions provoke interest for republicans, democrats, libertarians, socialists, everyone; after all he comes from a mixed-partisan family.