American Racism As Prelude To Terrorism

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I am not as afraid of an attack from a foreign country as I am of an attack by domestic terrorists. Ignoring these trends by holding onto the belief that the American people are somehow beyond this type of behavior is ignoring reality. There are more Timothy McVeigh’s out there plotting and planning

[The United States]

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a Black man.”

These words were spoken by former president Jimmy Carter in September of 2009 during an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams.

Both Republicans and Democrats responded predictably. Newt Gingrich called Carter’s comments “very destructive.” Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele referred to Carter’s comments as “an outrage.” Democrats and the White House distanced themselves from Carter’s comments.

What's referred to as the mainstream media has always had trouble dealing honestly with issues involving race and racism. Sensing White America’s historical weariness at being held accountable for this country’s racist history, mainstream media usually handles issues of racism by either minimizing them or attributing them to individual ignorance. Rarely do they provide analysis or historical context. They don’t want to use the “R” word to describe a racist act, person or event as racist.

Even Bill Maher, the unapologetically liberal and outspoken host of HBO’s Real Time was at a loss for words when his guest, African American comedian Wanda Sykes said that she felt that much of the anti-Obama sentiment had racist roots. The discomfort caused by her comment was palpable.

Admitting that there is a certain segment of the population that is racist and taking an in-depth look into how that population impacts our social and political landscape calls for more introspection and analysis than NBC, ABC and CBS News care to demonstrate. They seem to want to be in denial that there is a growing segment of the population that is racist, scary and prone to violence, the foundation for acts of domestic terrorism.

Since the election of President Obama and the introduction of healthcare reform, we’ve been exposed to angry, gun-toting citizens at town hall meetings and the so-called Tea Party. The anger generated by these groups over the healthcare reform discussion always appeared to me to be “over the top.” At the beginning, I thought they were victims of lies and propaganda spread by their representatives in Congress and the Senate. However, a closer look reveals that these are people who are just angry. They are angry over the election, they say things like, “I want my country back” and they are scared. The Republicans are feeding off of this fear and are attempting to use it as a way to regain majority control of the House and Senate.

The irony is that many of the angry town hall attendees and Tea Party members will benefit from the President’s policies. The “Tea” in Tea party is an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already.” I wonder if any Tea Party members earning under $250K recognize that they are already getting tax cuts. President Obama’s tax proposals offer broad-based relief to middle-class families as well as tax cuts. Also, how many of these same folks have a relative that has been denied treatment based on pre-existing conditions, or have themselves been denied? These people don’t care about policy. They care about opposing this president.

I am not as afraid of an attack from a foreign country as I am of an attack by domestic terrorists. Ignoring these trends by holding onto the belief that the American people are somehow beyond this type of behavior is ignoring reality. There are more Timothy McVeigh’s out there plotting and planning on the best way show their disdain for the federal government and in particular, the Obama administration.

In February of this year Andrew Joseph Stack III, furious with the federal government, flew his small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. The Boston Globe reported that death threats against President Obama are “unprecedented” and are up 400% from that of his predecessor. The Southern Poverty Law Center has stated that the number of White supremacist militia groups has spiked 35%.

Instead of ignoring or under reporting issues of racism and the activity of fringe elements in this country, we need the so-called main stream media to call them out, provide analysis and help us connect the dots. We don’t need cheerleaders as much as we do awareness.

We all want to believe that America and our fellow Americans are decent people. We want to believe that the racial divisions of the past are behind us. The election of Barack Obama is proof of the progress that has been made. However, Obama’s election should not make us turn a blind eye towards the growing racist sentiment that is pervading political debate and legitimate philosophical differences between parties.

Fast forward to Saturday, March 21, 2010.

Members of the Tea Party staged a demonstration at the Capitol to protest healthcare reform. Protestors spotted African American Congressmen John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver walking from the Cannon office to the Capitol. Below is Lewis’ and Cleaver’s account of what happened as they encountered the protestors:

Lewis said he was leaving the Cannon office building to walk to the Capitol to vote when protesters shouted "Kill the bill, kill the bill," Lewis said.
"I said 'I'm for the bill, I support the bill, I'm voting for the bill'," Lewis said.
A colleague who was accompanying Lewis said people in the crowd responded by saying "Kill the bill, then the n-word."
"It surprised me that people are so mean and we can't engage in a civil dialogue and debate," Lewis said.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said he was a few yards behind Lewis and distinctly heard "nigger."
"It was a chorus," Cleaver said. "In a way, I feel sorry for those people who are doing this nasty stuff - they're being whipped up. I decided I wouldn't be angry with any of them."

Congressman Cleaver also reported that a protestor spat on him. The protestor was arrested by Capitol Hill police, but Cleaver refused to press charges.

Congressman Barney Franks who is openly gay was also taunted with shouts of “Fag” by some protestors.

I hope the video and audio of this event is played on every news channel throughout the country and abroad. We need the mainstream media to rub the perpetrator’s faces in this and expose them for what they are. We do not need to be protected from ourselves.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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