Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We're All Rightwing Extremists Now

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has decided in a recently released report that the specter of violent rightwing extremism now stalks the country.

First, let’s start Homeland Security’s definition of rightwing extremism:
“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

Just take the hate-oriented groups off the table for the purpose of this discussion. It’s safe to say that they are by no means a major player in 21st century domestic American politics. So that leaves us with “those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” and “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

Since rejecting federal authority makes you a rightwing extremist – can you tell me who said this earlier today?
“I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,”
“That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”

That would be Governor Rick Perry of Texas. Apparently he didn’t get the memo just like more than half of the states of this country which already have bills pending in their state legislatures telling the federal government to re-read the 10th Amendment and back off.

Even being “dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration” is enough to qualify you as a rightwing extremist. Surely Homeland Security must mean “illegal immigration” since not many folks are upset by lawful immigration. Even so, that’s a mighty big brush they’re painting with. It just seems that a differing opinion is all that is required to be labeled a rightwing extremist.

“Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.”
That, of course, would be the firearm restrictions and weapons bans that the President promised he would not impose when he was running for office and needed your vote. I can’t imagine why concern over something as basic as usurpation of our Second Amendment rights would cause citizens to buy every gun and box of ammunition in sight or how that would swell the ranks of rightwing extremist groups.

“Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2008 election timeframe to the present, rightwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in
expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential
“Perceived stance on a range of issues”? You must be kidding – his actual stance on a range of issues is enough to make most of us rightwing extremists take another inventory of our weapons caches. But I keep forgetting no one is allowed to have a different opinion about, well, anything. So get in line, speak only when spoken to, drink the Kool-Aid and remember that The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working tirelessly to keep you safe from those dreaded rightwing extremists.

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