Posted by: littletoe | April 17, 2009

It’s Starting

I found this at the Catholic News Agency this morning.  Scary.  I’ve never really thought of myself as a threat to the government, although I freely admit that I support a limited federal government  and that believing in the rights of individuals and states makes me a patriot.  The Constitution limits its own authority:   ” The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  This is the law of our land.  Am I a right wing extremist because I think it is a good law?

Attack planning?  Capitalizing on the election of our first African-American president to recruit, mobilize, etc.?  Are they nuts?

Homeland Security Report equates ‘abortion opponents’ with white supremacists

.- According to a Homeland Security Report distributed to law enforcement organizations, abortion opponents are as great a threat to national security in the immediate future as white supremacists.

The nine-page document was sent to police and sheriff’s departments across the country on April 7 under the headline, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” The report is unclassified, but is accompanied by a warning that says it “contains information that may be exempt from public release under the Freedom of Information Act.”

The report was prepared by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Department of Homeland Security and claims it was “coordinated with the FBI.”

“Rightwing extremists,” the document says, “have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.”

Nevertheless, according to the report, the combination of a prolonged economic downturn, the election of the first African American President and the return of many veterans with “combat skills” could create an environment similar to the early 90’s, which lead to the Oklahoma City bombing.

The report describes “Rightwing extremism” broadly as “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.”

Under the title “Revisiting the 1990s,” the report claims that “paralleling the current national climate, rightwing extremists during the 1990s exploited a variety of social issues and political themes to increase group visibility and recruit new members.”

“Prominent among these themes were the militia movement’s opposition to gun control efforts, criticism of free trade agreements (particularly those with Mexico), and highlighting perceived government infringement on civil liberties as well as white supremacists’ longstanding exploitation of social issues such as abortion, inter-racial crimes, and same-sex marriage.”

The report “is provided to federal, state, local, and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.”

This is insulting but actually, I think I should be packing my bags.  It reminds me of Nazi Germany and I’m on the wrong side.

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Responses

  1. I’ve seen quite a few posts like yours floating around in the blogosphere over the past few days, so you are not alone in your feelings. What confuses me, however, is how you can directly quote from–and publish in bold–the portions of the report that specifically exempt people like you from the government’s attention…and then lament how you are the unfair subject of the government’s attention. What do I mean? How about this: “The report describes ‘Rightwing extremism’ broadly as “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”. Are you, and other pro-life, limited government, conservatives “primarily hate-oriented”? Do you “reject…government authority entirely”? If you’re like most conservatives I know, then the answer is absolutely not. So this report is not referring to you or others like you. The report was issued in response to new and specific threats by self-identified hate groups, many of whom are connected to the white supremacist movement. Why are you lumping yourself in with those groups? The report specifically mentions law enforcement concerns about an environment that is similar to that which preceded the Oklahoma City bombing. Are you and others like you interested in committing similar acts? Of course not. Your false sense of victimhood and melodramatic accusations about being insulted are just more partisan myopia. Your arguments won’t be taken seriously unless you make them seriously.

  2. Hi Wales. Thanks for your comment. My problem is that “right-wing extremists” are being mentioned in the same breath with a list of what I consider to be fairly mainstream conservative values. It is a subtle way of imputing extremism to anyone who holds those values, when in fact those people are quiet, law-abiding citizens. It is the imputation of right-wing extremism to my conservatism that I find insulting.

    Actually, I do reject federal authority in favor of state/individual authority. I comply with the law, however. 🙂

    I was not lamenting that I am the unfair subject of the government’s attention. I was lamenting the fear that I may be considered a “right-wing extremist” because I have conservative values.

    Frankly, I haven’t seen the report. Have you? And if so, can you provide a link?

  3. This reminds me of a rather powerful quote:

    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me. – Martin Niemoller.

  4. I read the same report, and like you, I felt the implication of criminality attached to my behaviors of simply speaking my opinion, formed by my faith. “Hate orientated” and “dedicated to a single issue” are words used in the report and DO refer to people just like you and I. I understand this to say that people who are pro-life and pray at abortion clinics can be assumed to be “hate orientated”. Gosh does “hating” abortion make one a criminal? These are subtle plays on words, and it is easy to see how we could become “criminals”. Ah, well, so be it. I think limited government sounds lovely and it used to be the way it was here in America and who knows, another election and more limitations may come by way of elected officials. Most of the people I know who are conservative are so quiet and unassuming, patient, kind and humble, that the thought of them being referred to as “right-wing” extremists is hysterically funny. Like a Saturday Night Live skit plot. 🙂


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