Shortly after then Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in June 2008, two of America's oldest and best known hate groups, the KKK and Aryan Nation wasted no time. They endorsed Obama for president. The prospect of him bagging the White House sent them into absolute delirium. The hate bunch hadn't undergone an earth rattling epiphany. Quite the contrary, a black president was their made in heaven meal ticket to jump start their moribund ranks. The hate groups hit their peak in the mid-1990s. With moderate, centrist Democrat Bill Clinton in the White House, the hate mongers had a ready made foil to bounce, spin, weave, and act out their zany race tinged anti-government conspiratorial paranoia.
That changed with the election of W. Bush. A GOP conservative, Christian fundamentalist leaning president just didn't make much of a target for the hate crowd. Government busts, indictments, multimillion dollar lawsuits and judgments, massive defections and disillusionment, internal splits and factional feuds further decimated the hate group's ranks.
By the end of the Bush era their numbers had plunged to historic lows. But Obama has changed that. In its new report on hate groups the Southern Poverty Law Center found that 50 new "anti-government" hate groups have cropped up in the past few months. There has also been a sharp up tick in recruiting, mobilizing, and more worrisome, gun buying by these groups. They are playing hard on the fear and hatred among the radical right of a black man in the White House, the economic downturn and the GOP orchestrated disruptions at health care town halls. The shrill pack of on line blogs and websites, including the popular right wing sounding board WorldNet Daily.com, is read by tens of thousands.
They mask their hate tinged appeals to the mob with the usual wink and nod patriotic sounding code words, slogans, and phrases such as the "second American revolution," "new government," the authority of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence," "threat to religious freedom," and "protect and save free enterprise" and the endless racist characterizations, cartoons, and lampooning of President Obama. Here's a short list of the virulent sites.
AntiObama.net A Clockwork Obama AgainstObama.com AudacityOfHypocrisy.com BlockBarack.com ChicagoAgainstObama.com DiscoverObama.com DontVoteObama.net DrNObama.com ExposeObama.com InvestigateBarackObama.blogspot.com JewsAgainstObama.com JustSayNoDeal.com MeetBarackObama.com No-bama.blogspot.com NobamaNetwork.com NobamaZone.com NoExperienceNoChange.org NoQuarterUSA.net ObamaExposed.blogspot.com ObamaBlog08.com Obama-Wire.com Obamaism.Blogspot.com ObamaNation.com ObamaTruth.org ObamaWho.wordpress.com ObamaWTF.blogspot.com Obamology.blogspot.com SavagePolitics.com SlickBarry.com Stop-Obama.org TheRealBarackObama.wordpress.com TopShelf51.wordpress.com
At the start of August, there were a staggering 22 million references to the anti-Obama websites. The sheer number of anti-Obama sites alarmed Google. It has shut down a half dozen or more of them.
The majority of the hate groups and the conspiracy spinning anti-Obama websites, however, spout hot air talk and are filled with the stock delusional conspiracy stuff about sinister forces taking over the government. Most vehemently deny that they advocate violence, but not all. Some openly scream about taking back the country and arming for an Armageddon type showdown with the government.
Two troubling measures that warn of real danger from the hate mongers is the number of hate crimes, and that's violent crimes. They have edged up to over 7000 in 2007. Experts say the number of hate crimes could be ten times higher than that since most hate crimes go unreported.
This alone might not be cause for worry since most of the hate groups are well known, tracked, and when their members commit crimes they are hit hard with federal prosecutions. But times are hard for many blue collar workers. When jobs and homes are lost, and there's fear and uncertainty that things could get worse, the ruthless search for scapegoats--illegal immigrants, gays, Jews, blacks, and a black president--are on with a vengeance. The murderous rampages by frustrated unemployed, disjointed men against their own families, the killing of police officers, the brandishing of guns or threats to brandish them at town hall meetings, are the glaring signs of the hate malaise.
The angry faces and the fist shaking at the health care town halls today could provide a fertile recruiting ground for new more vocal and visible anti-government groups. Some of whose members could be sorely tempted to do more than just rant and fist shake. Hate group's bank on the volatile mix of frustration, anger and hostility toward a government they feel has betrayed them, and a black president whose message of change spells socialism to them, to swell their ranks. That's a chilling prospect for Obama and all of us.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His weekly radio show, The Hutchinson Report can be heard on weekly in Los Angeles at 9:30 AM Fridays on KTYM Radio 1460 AM and live streamed nationally on ktym.com