By now you’ve all heard about the shootings at Jewish community centers in Kansas. The short version is that Frazier Glenn Cross (or Miller, who the fuck knows), a well known and proud anti-semite (he’s actually a racism generalist who hates all races, but seems particularly pissed at the Jews) decided he would do something about the dreaded Jewish scourge in Kansas by shooting up a couple of Jewish centers. Being the genius that he is, he managed to kill three Christians and no Jews before he was arrested. He’s a convicted felon who made the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of extremists to look out for. He was a founder and "grand dragon" of the Klan in Kansas. By the way, what the fuck kind of lame organization has dragons, knights, and wizards? I guess it makes sense, since they’re trying to perpetuate the fantasy of white supremacy. One would think that the fact that Miller couldn’t tell a Christian from a Jew would tell these psychos something about their "supremacy", but I suspect it won’t.
I digress. Peter Bergen and David Sterman wrote a piece for CNN yesterday that is sure to have the right wing up in arms. They found that since 9/11, right wing extremists have murdered 34 Americans while Muslim extremists have killed 21. Left wing extremists do exist, but their death toll remains at zero. Remember when a few years ago when DHS put out a report in which they raised red flags over the growing number of right wing extremists in America and the right wing media lost their shit? DHS has not put out a single report analyzing threats from extremists since. But the numbers here are clear; DHS was right to warn about right wing extremism. And as with climate change, rampant gun ownership and the price we pay, "abstinence only" and the increased number of teen pregnancies it leads to, and a myriad of other topics that the right wing has managed shut out of the discussion, the reality doesn’t change just because you don’t talk about it.
We do have a right wing extremist problem, and it’s getting worse. Notice the emphasis on right wing? That isn’t ideological, it’s empirical. Let’s review the scoreboard again;
Murders by Muslim extremists – 21
Murders by right wing extremists – 34
Murders by left wing extremists – 0
Why is that? Why are there more murders by extremists of the right wing variety, than any other flavor of extremist? It’s the culture, stupid. I’ve spoken to a number of batshit crazy people who call themselves liberals, so why are they not murderous in equal numbers with the batshit on the right? Let’s look at right wing heroes of the recent past. There’s George Zimmerman who murdered an unarmed black kid, Phil Robertson who hates the gays, Sarah Palin of "he pals around with terrorists" fame, Ted Nugent who makes love to his guns every night while regaling in his tales of draft dodging, and now there’s Clive Bundy. These are not far right wing heroes, these are heroes that the mainstream right wing has embraced. Fox news has taken these miscreants into the warm embrace of the mainstream right wing bosom.
What do these heroes all have in common? Hatred. They’re all against something, and exist for the sole purpose of dividing us based on hatred. Remember when Trump was on Fox every hour, demanding to see the birth certificate? Can anyone tell me what Trump is for, and when the last time he did an interview espousing the virtue of what he’s for? How about Palin? What is she for? We know that Nugent is for guns, but that’s for the sole purpose of making the hate more lethal since we know by his draft dodging, pant pooping history, that he’s not for America.
And now we have Clive Bundy. A whacko moocher that doesn’t want to pay for the stuff he uses. He doesn’t own the land he wants to use, never has owned the land he wants to use, and was told in court that he needs to pay for the use of that land. That’s what we do in the first world; we go to court. But this whack job thinks that he can just keep mooching by gathering together an armed militia to help him take what was never his to take. And for this, he’s a right wing hero. I’ve got some news for his insane supporters; I believe there are more than a few native Americans that can come in and seize Bundy’s own ranch by using the same rationale that Bundy is using to mooch from you.
But again, I digress. The heroes of the mainstream right wing embody and create the culture in the right wing. This is a culture of violence and hatred. And that culture is why their extremists are more dangerous than other extremists. Extremists, by definition are dangerous but right wing extremists are fueled by mainstream right wing culture.
Bill Maher likes to say that there’s something inherently more violent about the Muslim religion, than other religions. He’s dead wrong. It’s the culture, stupid. Muslims in a more violent culture are more violent than Muslims in a less violent culture. Murder is not a socially acceptable remedy in the first world so by and large, Muslims don’t murder in first world countries. Is anyone familiar with the crusades? How about the Spanish Inquisition? Why were Christians so violent back then? Because it was culturally acceptable.
Again, refer to the death toll scoreboard above. Muslim extremists are not extra, super murderous in the first world. If you want to add 9/11 to that scoreboard, that’s totally fair. That puts the Muslim extremist count at 22 because 9/11 was one incident, by one extremist group who got very lucky and racked up a giant death toll. We don’t score differently because Bin Laden was more effective than the anti semitic whacko who couldn’t shoot straight, and killed three Christians.
We have a right wing culture problem and letting the right wing shut us up about it isn’t going to solve the problem. When the Boston Marathon bombing happened, I said that I was hoping that the perpetrator was white. Why? Because we don’t lose our shit when it’s a white guy but when it’s a Muslim, we create a whole new giant government bureaucracy to molest us at the airport. When a Muslim puts a bomb in his shoe, we all have to take off our shoes prior to either having a naked picture taken, or a state sanctioned molestation. But we don’t do anything when a terrorist is white. We don’t even keep score anymore.
Pretending like it doesn’t exist, tacitly fuels the problem. As a nation, we are not outraged by the murder of a physician whose women’s health services happen to include abortion. That lack of outrage is a tacit permission for the anti choice zealots to do it again. When a white guy shoots up a Sikh temple, it’s news for one single day. There’s no national outrage the way there is when a Muslim guy kills no one in Times Square with a sloppily assembled bomb. Moreover, there’s virtually no mention of the fact that the guy who alerted authorities to a potential problem was himself Muslim.
Ignoring the problem is part of the problem. So is creating a false equivalency between the right wing and left wing. They’re not equal, and those of you that want me to call it even can go fuck yourselves. I’m not going to blame both sides equally, just to make you feel better about your shitty choices. You can either make better choices, or embrace your crappy ones but I’m not going to mitigate the hate that your party perpetuates. Left wing heroes include MLK, FDR, Rosa Parks, Che Guevara, Harvey Milk, and Cesar Chavez. These are all people that were for something, and that accomplished something that made the world demonstrably better. It’s true that the left doesn’t have very many recent heroes but not having a hero in the past 30 years is very different than propping up a murderer, a draft dodger, a hater, and a moocher. Both sides are not equal, and the lack of a hero on the left is a function of our broken political system that gives more democracy to those with more money. Elizabeth Warren is my hero because she’s telling the money to go fuck itself every day.
Both sides are not equal, and the mainstream right wing needs to be called out for its murder inspiring culture. When Bill O’Reilly goes on TV and repeats the phrase "Tiller the baby killer", he needs to be called out for fueling the crazy. Hannity needs to be called out for his love of Zimmerman and Bundy because he’s fueling the hate and bubbling the extremists to the surface.
We need to stop being polite or even handed in America. When both sides are equally problematic, I will be even handed. In the meantime, I blame mainstream republicans and the heroes they hold so dear.