The Hate Speech and batant racism is growing with each passing week since President Obama has taken office. I remember telling people before the 2008 election, that should Obama get into office, the fringe but vocal part of racist America would become agitated, and would resort to threats, violence, harassment, and old-fashioned American hate not unlike the mobs we saw during the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 60s in America.
What's old is new again.
Of course, hate and racism wasn't new to the 1950's. America was founded on a system of slavery-- a system many white families and corporations still benefit from today. As I work for advocacy of reforming an unjust and immoral Die or Pay [anti] American Health System in America, the threats on my various social media accounts grows. For those of us who knew Obama's election was in no way a signal of the end of racism, it just confirmed to those are grounded in reality that in spite of the advances America has made in electing Obama, the nation still has a very long way to go in the culture divide. One only has to look at the hate mail received by all progressive bloggers (myself included) to see how widespread racism is in America. We have the recent events of the Holocaust Museum murders, the murder of Dr. Tiller (who performed legal medical procedures), the false & racist arrest of Harvard Professor H.L. "Skip" Gates, the racist attacks by GOP Senators on Justice Sonia Sotomayor (during her hearing) and any number of thousands of attacks per day on progressive bloggers as proof. While a well-known Black Harvard Professor is arrested for daring to rightfully, legally demand (in his own home) I.D. from an officer, a (formerly) unknown white working class man wears a loaded gun to a Presidential event in New Hampshire (8/11/09) but isn't even arrested. (Of course now, the Secret Service & FBI will be sure to tail that guy until he dies.) Arrest disparities between whites and people of color aren't new either. Racial profiling that adversely, unjustly & disproportionately affects people of color, is an unacknowledged (unearned) benefit that white Americans routinely ignore, shrug-off.
This kind of culture war has not gone unnoticed among conscientious, supporters of democracy. The hate mobs of New Hampshire and Missouri, Pennsylvania etc., are reminiscent of the Bull Connor style hate mobs of the 1950s and 60s. See the full Spike Lee Documentary "4 Little Girls" -- a true story of 4 Black girls killed by racist whites in Birmingham, Alabama. The hate mobs remind me of the Birther, Deather mobs today. See the hate in their faces.
From Amanda Marcotte of rhRealityCheck.org
Last week, when I wrote about the birther phenomenon and its parallels to the anti-choice movement, the phenomenon was still largely relegated to email lists and mainstream media interviews with wide-eyed conspiracy theorists. It was alarming because it's so widespread and so obviously rooted in a need to express racist contempt towards Barack Obama and his parents' interracial relationship, but it didn't seem like it would grow much bigger. Well, obviously I didn't draw a strong enough parallel between the birthers and the anti-choice movement. If I'd been paying attention to my own ideas, I would have realized that as anti-choicers' frustration with their daily lack of control over women's bodies erupts into violence, so too would birther frustration over the perceived loss of control over the reins of power enjoyed by white people for the entirety of our nation's history.
There's not a formal link between the birther conspiracy theory and the mobs that are trying to shut down discussion about health care reform--and not-so-subtly sending the signal that they are flirting with resorting to violence in order to stop it--but it's not a coincidence that the birther energy rolled up into this mob scene, or that the leaders pushing the birther line are also encouraging mobs of right wingers to shut down town halls by being disruptive. Unsurprisingly, these mobs have turned violent, something anyone who's dealt with the anti-choice protestors could have told you was inevitable. Right wing mobs have broken out in violence in Tampa, FL and St. Louis, MO. Journalists, union activists, and Democrats, who are the perennial favorite villains of right wing talk radio, seem to be favorite targets for violence and threats.
Looking back over the timeline of the growing volume in birther conspiracy theories that rolled up into mobs threatening and delivering violence, it's easy enough to see what instigating issue activated the right wing, furious about its loss of power. Oh, they've been angry and right wing violence has been on the rise, with domestic terrorism incidents that include the murder of Dr. George Tiller. But there's organization and momentum where there wasn't much before, and as Sara Robinson points out, the leadership has been more overtly enabling and cheerleading conspiracy theorists and right wing disruption mobs than they have before - all in the service of hamstringing health care reform.
4 Little Girls (1997, 102 minutes, Full movie), by Director Spike Lee -
Notice the footage of the hate mobs at 21-50 mins into the film. "Keep Your Eye on the Prize. Hold On, Hold On".
However, the hate mobs -- and they are irrational mobs, are now feeling emboldened by hate speech from an enabling institutional hate culture. It's a culture defined by people who enjoy a first amendment right to lie about facts in front of TV cameras. US GOP Senators (Sessions, Kyl, Hatch, Coburn, Cornyn), lunatic TV Entertainers like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity (masquerading as journalists on the right-wing propaganda mill Fox network) and quitter Sara Palin routinely encourage and stir-up an under-educated demographic pre-disposed to vote against their own economic interests in favor of a corporate led class system that exploits poor & middle class whites too.
The same hate culture is fearful that in a truly diverse democracy (signaled by Obama's election and a growing Latino population), perhaps people of color (in power positions) will treat white people in America they way many whites have (directly or indirectly) treated people of color the last 400 plus years. That is their fear. Perhpas their fear is warranted, unless there is some kind of national reconciliation.
The Reagan, Bush (41 & 43), and even the Clinton administrations already took away the hate mobs (& the middle class') livable wage, busted unions that allowed the present day Deathers to live a middle-class lifestyle, and permitted said past GOP admins to open the doors to Free-Trade that lost millions of American middle-class jobs to overseas --- perhaps lost forever. Profits in the 1980s & 90s were privatized and now the corporate losses (born of corporate excess and greed) have been socialized (to the American taxpayers.). These same Deathers like to ignore it was Bush's Treasuray Secretary who socialized the wall Street losses, so his investment banker friends wouldn't lose their wealth. The financial debacle the USA now finds itself in was not Obama's doing -- no matter how much you yell and scream racist epithets. Much of the financial groundwork for destruction was laid before Obama even entered into politics. The hate mobs' anger is misplaced, but they're too stupid to know it, or too racist to acknowledge it. Maybe both.
If the haters get laid-off from their jobs, their factories because American companies can't compete with the lower overhead enjoyed by foreign companies, they seem unable --not just unwilling, to recognize how they too are being disposed of by the wealth & corporate classes.
The cost of health insurance, medical costs in other industrialized Democracies are spread more fairly between private citizens and public investment. These other Democratic nations band together (as a nation) sharing the costs among nearly all citizens, which results in lower costs to everyone. All these Birther fools are too stupid to realize their precious health insurance currently won't pay when they file a claim for a serious ailment. You won't know how bad your insurance is until you need it for a life and death treatment. These same Deather fools opposed to national health insurance ALREADY pay for all the expensive emergency care for the un-insured via their premiums which have more than tripled the last 10 years. (Example for the mentally impaired: you fools also pay the higher cost of retail goods because there are people who shop-lift. The cost is already passed onto you, and to everyone via the retail price.)
The USA can lower everyone's cost for Health Insurance, by spreading the cost also to those who aren't paying health insurance presently. Nearly everyone needs to pay in for the system to work. (Umm, that is the basic principle of ALL types of insurance: spread the risk among as many as possible, so as to minimize the individual, private cost to everyone.) That fact isn't left or right, it's a basic truth. No amount of yelling, or racist name calling, or shotgun buying will change those facts. BTW, your violence won't stand either, because history also shows us you are (already) out numbered.
You can either band together with your fellow Americans to keep the country strong. Or you can continue your hateful ways, dividing & weakening the country-- placing it at risk to be dominated by a larger, expanding, richer China. Change is coming. Being racist won't help you -- not now, not later.