Sometimes people take a trip to the dark side, recognize it for what it is and find their way back. In many respects they are our best educators because not only do they know the ins and outs of the dark side, they understand who it appeals to and why.
Frank Meeink is someone who has been to the dark side of neo-Nazism. Recruited as a teenager, Meeink became one of the faces of the movement, appearing on programs like Nightline. He found his way out of that world.
His experience is recounted in the book Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead, the Frank Meeink Story.
Following the Las Vegas shooting spree, CNN approached Meeink for an interview – as he put it because they reach out to him when something bad happens.
During an interview with David Pakman last week, Frank Meeink talked about the links between the Tea Party, Cliven Bundy, neo-Nazis, Fox and the Las Vegas shooting spree. The story of that interview was Meeink’s claim that CNN didn’t want him to talk about the connections between these factions of the right wing. Just keep it to a discussion about the far right’s belief that the Federal government is out to get white people, don’t mention the relationships among the fringe, Fox and the GOP.
Ultimately, CNN decided against the interview with Meeink for reasons that may or may not be related to the fact that he connected all the dots between the most extreme right wing factions in existence with the “mainstream” GOP and Fox news. Moreover, he was willing to say so. Maybe they didn’t want to risk Meeink breaking some of the taboos within corporate news and within our current political discourse.
Meeink claims that CNN didn’t want him to discuss links and overlaps between the GOP, Tea Party, Fox News, and elements of the Neo-Nazi movement. Yet, Meeink because of his background is in a unique position to expose the ugly truth and he has the desire to do so. He begins talking about the Tea Party’s recruitment of people he knew in the Neo-Nazi movement during the first minute of David Pakman’s interview.
Here is the interview in its entirety.
Meeink points to the Tea Party’s willingness to back Neo-Nazis as long as they “tone down” the anti-Semitism. He points to the people he knew while he was a Neo-Nazi who are now part of the Tea Party, posting pro Tea Party articles on their face book pages and in some cases, running for political office under the Tea Party banner.
This does not mean that Tea Party ideology is a full embrace of neo-Nazi ideology. It does mean that there is enough within the Tea Party’s ideology to attract the skinhead crowd.
The ties are undeniable and they exist because there is an overlap between the Tea Party’s ideology and beliefs to which white nativists subscribe. As Meeink explained during his interview with David Pakman, the “race war” that he once believed in is not of the classic white on any and all other races variety. It’s about connecting the Federal government, allegedly controlled by Jews, with a desire to improve the lives of African-Americans and Hispanics at the expense of white people. In application, this is why the Tea Party identified with Cliven Bundy. They distanced themselves from Bundy when he expressed his views about black people because he was being too honest, just as CNN was uncomfortable with Meeink’s statements connecting the various far right factions with Fox and the “mainstream” GOP.
The common link between Neo-Nazis and the Tea Party lies in the belief that the Federal government is “evil” because it’s coming after your guns, your jobs, your economic opportunities. By logical extension, the Tea Party talks about an imaginary war on the right wing’s cherry picked version of Christianity. As Meeink’s autobiography explains, the nexus between religion and right wing ideology was part of an indoctrination process he endured during his earliest days with the skinheads.
It’s also a common element in the Tea Party’s rhetoric which equates good Christianity with its ideology and a deliberate effort to demonize anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their ideology.
Again, while this is a common element and possibly a factor in what attracts skinheads to the Tea Party, this is not to say that Tea Party fascism is a full embrace of the skinhead variety.
Meink claimed that CNN went to lengths to convey that he shouldn’t comment on the overlap between the fringe right with the Republican Party and Fox news during an interview, for reasons that we can only speculate about. Of course, they have that choice. But the fact remains, the relationship between the fringe and the establishment right wing is a subject that, generally, the corporate media prefers to avoid discussing. In the end this amounts to denying their viewers information about the ties between the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, Fox and people who have dangerous views about race and about the Federal government.
These people are also upping the anti with increasingly violent actions that occur more frequently with the rhetoric to match. It’s too dangerous to close our eyes to these connections because they make us uncomfortable.