Right-Wing Media Promote Race Turmoil

Pundit provocateurs, like Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck have played their role in whipping up unjustified fears in Americans. They’ve also done their part in provoking prejudice.

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Amid the orchestrated phony protests over President Barack Obama’s health care reform efforts, a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, documents another threat to the health of the Black community and the nation’s stability: rising racism within right-wing militias.

In its report entitled “Return of the Militias,” the Southern Poverty Law Center points out that the militia movement, that faded in the 1990s, is back and that “One big difference from the militia movement of the 1990s is that the face of the federal government — the enemy that almost all parts of the extreme right see as the primary threat to freedom — is now Black. And the fact that the president is an African American has injected a strong racial element into even those parts of the radical right, like the militias, that in the past were not primarily motivated by race hate. Contributing to the racial animus have been fears on the far right about the consequences of Latino immigration.”

The report also noted that “At the same time, ostensibly mainstream politicians and media pundits have helped to spread Patriot and related propaganda, from conspiracy theories about a secret network of U.S. concentration camps to wholly unsubstantiated claims about the president’s country of birth.”

Currently, we are witnessing media-inspired thuggery in the town hall healthcare meetings. Pundit provocateurs, like Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck have played their role in whipping up unjustified fears in Americans. They’ve also done their part in provoking prejudice.

Lou Dobbs, CNN’s sanctimonious immigrant-bashing crusader, has done much to exacerbate hatred against Mexicans, Latinos and dark-skinned immigrants. Dobbs’ hateful rhetoric perpetuates the climate in which immigrants like 37-year-old Ecuadorian Marcelo Lucero was killed on Nov. 8, 2008.
Ironically, this week Newsday ran a story of a 22-year-old Ecuadorian man—so far unnamed—who attacked last Friday, in Patchogue, by three white guys. Where have we heard this story before? In recent weeks, Dobbs credibility, finally, has taken a serious hit since he gave credence to the thoroughly debunked “Birthers” claim that President Obama was really born in Kenya. “Birthers” are a set of lunatic racists promulgating lies about Obama.

However, Dobbs is not alone in breast feeding many into this bigoted, whitewash ideology. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are also playing their part in fomenting a combustible atmosphere in which the lives of all people of color—including President Obama—are at risk. Have you seen these gun-toting nuts showing up at town-halls where Obama is present? Are we to sit by and watch them make these, not so veiled, threats of assassination?

Another extremely troubling aspect of this report is the finding that some of the new membership of the militias includes former military veterans—and law enforcement officials. One such group is the Oath Keepers. The report states “Oath Keepers, the military and police organization that was formed earlier this year and held its April muster on Lexington Green, may be a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival.

Members vow to fulfill the oaths to the Constitution that they swore while in the military or law enforcement. ‘Our oath is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and we will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders… ‘We will not fear our government; they will fear us,’ one man, who appeared to be on active duty in the Army, said in an angry video sent to the Oath Keepers blog. In another video at the site, a man who said he was a former Army paratrooper in Afghanistan and Iraq described President Obama as ‘an enemy of the state,’ adding, ‘I would rather die than be a slave to my government.’ The Oath Keepers site soon began hawking T-shirts with slogans like “I’m a Right Wing Extremist and Damn Proud of It!”

What are we witnessing here? Currently, the U.S is fighting a “war on terror” overseas. Maybe, the American government should pay attention to these domestic terrorists who are now threatening to overturn the mandate of change that was given last November.

After last year’s election, there was much talk about America being transformed into a “post-racial” society. But, the reality is indeed ugly. American racism is like a recurring virus, dormant at times, but ever present. In America, stroking racial animosity is the trump card that a few use to divide the many. And, as always the right-wing media manipulators are creating mayhem, with their distortions and fabrications. 

There is something very dangerous brewing here. The lynch mobs are mobilizing. Those of us, who are people of color, had better wake up, fast. This is a time where maximum vigilance is imperative.

Efforts of mutual cooperation and solidarity between all groups of the working poor must be maintained. Whites of conscience must speak out loudly against this hateful insanity. Racism is rising. The time for us to stand up strong is now.

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