On November 27th, Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. carried out a shooting in and around a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Not only Republicans, but the FBI as well, declared the acts of a man who murdered three and injured another nine, who spoke supportively of the Army of God, not to be an example of “terrorism.” Dear was interviewed and rambled “no more baby parts,” amongst other remarks a police officer defined as “definitely politically motivated.” Dear’s declaration of “no more baby parts” is, of course, a reference to a slanderously-edited video meant to defame Planned Parenthood by making it appear that they were trading in the flesh of aborted fetuses. While this proved to be an outright lie, Republican politicians, Carly Fiorina in particular, have continued to invoke the video in statements against Planned Parenthood and, by any measure, helped to contribute to the atmosphere that produced this attack. Similarly, Republicans and the FBI also decided that Dylann Roof’s murder of nine people in a South Carolina Church (including the church’s pastor, a former state senator), despite being done to instigate a “race war” and by an attacker who clothed himself in patches of the flags of former white supremacist entities, was not “terrorism.”
The message is clear: White people are incapable of terrorism. White people can only murder others when they’re crazy. Meanwhile, the narrative that all Muslims seek to murder Whites has taken root, manifesting itself in its ugliest form with Donald Trump’s proposed plan to ban Muslims–including American Muslims who go abroad, even possibly soldiers sent on tours of duty–from entering America outright. In an interview with Yahoo! less than a month ago, he was asked if Muslims would be made to wear a “form of special identification that noted their religion,” a proposal he wouldn’t rule out. Yet while this happens, acts of terrorism by Whites in America have done five to seven times as much damage to Americans since Nine Eleven as acts of terrorism by Muslims in America. Ted Cruz, for his part, recently proposed bills in the House that would make some of Donald Trump’s insane ideas law. Ted Cruz, not Donald Trump, now leads the polls in Iowa. While Trump announces his racism with the volume of a carnival barker, and is rebuked accordingly, Cruz is actually working quietly to make this racism an institutionalized reality.
Ever since the days of the Regulators, the loosely-affiliated lynch mobs that preceded the Ku Klux Klan, and possibly even earlier, racist, white Americans have lived in a fantasy reality where minorities, and sometimes women, always have their boot on the neck of the poor, helpless white man. Terrorism has been the trump card of the American Right since the Louisiana Purchase, and as in the 1870s and 1950s, it appears to be hitting its stride once again.
It is no accident that there is such focus on Islamic extremism, extremism that comes from an “other,” than the truly-threatening homegrown extremism. The right-wing can be caught subtlety condoning the actions of people like the Planned Parenthood shooter, like Bill O’Reilly’s frequent condemnations of the later-murdered Dr. George Tiller as “Dr. Tiller the Baby Killer.” The likes of Ben Carson and Ted Cruz go to bed with a smile on their face knowing that employees of Planned Parenthood have been terrorized, knowing that they might take pause and reconsider before preparing to go to work the next day. Just as they had no problems with terrorism in the form of “Shock and Awe” in the invasion of Iraq, or the often-unprosecuted massacres there by military contractors, they have no problems in terrorizing those associated, however tangentially or even accidentally, with what they’re believed to oppose. When they taunt the victims of and families of victims of mass shootings by saying the problem in such slaughters is the victims’ lack of weaponry, they intend to terrorize you for daring to want to live in a country where people can’t carry guns around for any damn reason they please. Why should you be spared the terror? You should be firing back, pussy, not whining about how the gun regulations are so loose that ninety-one percent of people on the terrorist watch list who have tried to have successfully bought guns. Meanwhile, abortion providers face a special form of personalized terrorism on a daily basis.
Why should politicians confront White terrorism in the United States? Islamic terrorism in America could plainly be solved by removing our presence from the Middle East, but that’s obviously off the table because so many of those that enable White terrorists in America profit from going to war with the relatively-occasional Islamic terrorist in America. There is no benefit to them to stop White terrorism; doing so would mean putting a halt to the murder of voters that will not vote for them or those in their party by ones who do. Doing so would mean that one segment of the country would be able to voice their views without fear of violent reprisal from another, helping solidify the latter’s agendas.
It is as grossly partisan as any affair in this country gets, and, as usual, it is framed by the media with an incompetent false neutrality. While Republicans excuse acts of extremism by whites, the same media that harassed the Obama campaign over a bullshit, non-existent connection to the Weather Underground is completely absent. As Cenk Uygur is fond of pointing out, if the American civic media covered sports, they would have no idea who ever won any of the games because they’d be asking each team who won instead of looking at the scoreboard. This is the environment that has led to an extremist Republican party and a tepid Democratic party always accused of not working with the Republicans. And, as always, it is this exact environment that the Republican party and their racist base wants to grip the country, giving them an unfair, fascist, terroristic advantage.
3 thoughts on “Terrorism is Alright So Long As It’s All-White (And All-Right)”
Amen and amen. If a mass murderer is white, he must be mentally ill, therefore he cannot be held totally accountable for his actions. If he is black or brown, he must be gang affiliated and so they deserve to die. If the shooter is Muslim, then he’s automatically a terrorist and his whole family and any friends and acquaintances are suspect. But the fact is, all three of these groups are terrorists. Any person who picks up a gun and shoots another is a ‘terrorist’ because they aim to strike fear in the hearts of another.
I would disagree with the notion that any person shooting another is a terrorist–some are just routine criminals operating within the commission of a crime–but there is a clear, unambiguous definition for terrorism that White mass murderers and Islamic extremists satisfy, as well as mobsters and gang members who are trying to intimidate local populaces, and that definition, as you observed, is being disregarded along racial lines.