Human beings steeped in intense and enduring hatred, aversion, and hostility toward individuals, entities, or ideas are easily incited to action that, more often than not, results in death and destruction. Many psychologists consider long-lasting hatred to be more of an attitude of disposition than a temporary emotional response, and it is beyond refute that most of the current hostility toward the government is borne of racial animus, religion, and conservative ideology. This is evident in the increased number of hate groups and armed militias that typically rise during a Democratic administration and decrease when a religious Republican administration is in power. It was little surprise then, that when Americans elected a Democrat and African American man as President that conservatives claimed was a Muslim, the number of hate groups and armed militias exploded and led to threats of armed rebellion against the government.
The recent Bundy Ranch standoff was not so much about grazing rights, patriotism, or tyrannical government overreach as it was the result of nearly five years of simmering hatred toward anything related to the African American man in the Oval Office. Unfortunately, the hatred on display during the Bundy affair against the federal government inspired other “copycat militia actions and violent events” according to a new Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report. The SPLC report, “War in the West,” said ”The Bundy standoff has invigorated an extremist movement that exploded when President Obama was elected, going from some 150 groups in 2008 to more than 1,000 last year. Antigovernment extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement.”
The assertions in the SPLC report cannot be denied; particularly after two Bundy participants parroted the “2nd revolutionary war starts now” as they murdered two Las Vegas police officers and a “good guy with a gun” attempting to intervene and stop the killers. The Bundy standoff also incited two Utah men to stop a BLM employee and hold him at gunpoint while carrying a sign that said “you need to die.” When right-wing media outlets and extremist Republicans glorified the Bundy standoff as a group of patriotic victims of an “overbearing Obama Administration,” it fueled the hatred amongst other racists and anti-government groups the SPLC is warned are fueling copycat militias to focus on the immigrant-child crisis intensifying near the Texas border. In a prophetic warning, a senior fellow at SPLC, Mark Potok, said “it is possible that people at the Bundy ranch are headed toward the Texas border now.”
The possibility is becoming reality as at least one militia led by a man named Chris Davis is beginning to deploy armed militia members along the border after Davis posted a message in a YouTube video advising his followers to aggressively confront those attempting a border crossing. Davis said if “You see an illegal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, ‘Get back across the border or you will be shot.'” Reportedly, the video was removed and Davis is claiming his militia is just mobilizing to “supplement law-enforcement efforts along the border,” but Texas law enforcement officials said self-appointed militias are not needed at the border. However, Davis’s group does not care what government officials say because his militia is simply “serving freedom, liberty and national sovereignty.”
What Davis and the Bundy militias never elucidate is how their personal freedom, liberty, or sovereignty is being abridged; particularly by immigrant children or federal officials serving a court order on a rancher trespassing on government property. Those armed militias are not serving freedom, liberty, or sovereignty; they are serving their deep-seated hatred for the government with an African American man as President. They certainly did not issue a call to arms during white Republican administrations, especially the George W. Bush administration responsible for the immigrants coming to America from Central America, or when the same administration eliminated Americans’ rights according to alleged homeland security threats. Of course, during the white Bush’s administration there was no constant barrage of media, right-wing and mainstream, outlets and Republicans inciting hatred toward anything remotely related to the government.
The SPLC report warned that government and law enforcement officials need to recognize what motivates the armed militia movement it asserts “is going to inspire more violent action against the government, or immigrants and will demonstrate their anti-government rage with bullets.” According to the report, it is bogus political theories and conspiracy-mongering that are clearly encouraging an increasingly enraged movement. Although mainstream Republicans and extremist conservative groups are driving the bogus political theories and conspiracy-mongering, it is the media that gives them a forum to incite Americans prone to hatred against the government with an African American man as President.
Of course, the Republican media outlet, Fox News, is the primary driver of anti-government, anti-minority, and anti-immigrant hatred, but every network jumps at the opportunity to host fear and hate-mongering Republicans to incite hostility in people seeking a reason to act on their hatred. On any given Sunday, every network parades Republican after Republican on national television to spread their lies, and racially-motivated hatred, against the government, President Obama, minorities, gays, and immigrants. They are fueling a veritable feeding frenzy of hate that is going to result in more violence and it is unclear if it is for ratings, favors from Republicans, or a real desire for a bloodbath that looks more likely with every media program giving a forum to the likes of Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, and every other anti-Obama Republican.
The SPLC report’s call for government and law enforcement officials to understand what motivates armed militias does not go far enough. The government and law enforcement clearly understand that hate motivates armed militias precisely as it motivates Republicans. The government needs to hold those who feed the smoldering hatred accountable for their culpability in inciting, championing, and glorifying armed militias intent on violence toward not only the government, but minorities and immigrants as well. It was reported here last week that Nevada law enforcement and federal officials are actively investigating the Bundy standoff to hold Bundy and armed militias accountable for their sedition. That is all well and good, but they also need to hold the accessories to violence against the government (Republicans and Fox News) accountable for inciting the confrontation. How they would hold Republicans or the media accountable is unclear, but after five years of inciting hatred towards the government, minorities, and immigrants since election night in 2008, it is time to take action before there is a serious loss of life.
Republicans are as hate-filled as the armed militias, and mainstream media is facilitating their hate with impunity and full knowledge they are promoting violence against the government and immigrants with every Republican hate-monger they allow to spew hatred with impunity. The SPLC report warning that the Bundy standoff would inspire armed militias to rush to the border to confront immigrants may appear prophetic, but as an organization that monitors and tracks hate groups, they simply reported what the result of five years of Republican hate and fear-mongering would continue to produce; armed militias threatening violence.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.