The election of a bi-racial man to the highest position in the land was greeted with euphoria by millions of Americans, but it was a mortal insult to a dangerous minority. These wounded people are white supremacists; they believe their America – the “real America” of Sarah Palin’s campaign rhetoric – is and should remain white, not multiracial. They see this “real America” under siege by an emerging black middle class and increasing Hispanic immigration. And they have long resented the influence and wealth achieved by Jews in America.
Of course, in the real “real America,” they are entitled to their views, however extreme those views might be. They are entitled to their symbols, shaved heads, tattoos and steel-toed boots. They are entitled to assemble and maintain web sites that spew hate… as long as the assemblies are peaceful and the web sites stop short of inciting violence.
But, many of these hate-filled people are not prepared to express their views by peaceful means.They are ready to resort to violence. Recently, a group of white teen-age boys prowled the streets of a California city until they found a Mexican teenager to murder. On Nov. 6, a cross was burned on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa. That’s not the Deep South; that’s Pennsylvania!
You will remember that back in August, police thwarted a plan by two white supremacists to shoot Barack Obama as he addressed the Democratic National Convention in Denver. In late October, authorities arrested two more white supremacists who allegedly plotted to go on a nationwide killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately targeting the (then) Democratic presidential candidate. These young men reportedly have ties to a Ku Klux Klan chapter whose leader was recently convicted in a civil trial in Brandenburg, Ky. for inciting violence. And there’s the murder last week in Louisiana of a KKK initiate who tried to back out of joining a new group called Sons of Dixie.
The beliefs expressed by some of these hate groups would be funny if they were not so loathsome. They include the notion that white Europeans, not Jews, are the real Biblical “Chosen People,” that Jews are the children of Satan, that the white race is inherently superior to others and that Blacks and other non-whites are “mud people” without a soul.
We might be tempted to dismiss these people as crackpots, but that would be unwise. Supremacist propaganda has been raging at a dangerous level since Barack Obama’s election. Ugly incidents such as cross-burnings, assassination betting pools, and Obama effigies are being reported from Maine to Alabama. A Yahoo news item quotes Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report in Montomgery, Ala. as saying:
What we are seeing now is undeniably a fairly major backlash by some subset of the white population. Many whites feel that the country their forefathers built has been … stolen from them, so there’s in some places a real boiling rage, and that can only become worse as more people lose jobs.
U.S. hate groups have increased in number from 602 in 2000 to 888 in 2007. And racist web site traffic is at an all-time high. Two white nationalist websites – Stormfront and the Council of Conservative Citizens – report their servers have crashed because of heavy traffic. And the League of the South, a secessionist group, says web hits jumped from 50,000 a month to 300,000 since Nov. 4, and its phones are ringing off the hook.
“The vitriol is flailing out shotgun-style,” says Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “They recognize Obama as a tipping point, the perfect storm in the narrative of the hate world – the apocalypse that they’ve been moaning about has come true.”