Profiles in hatred: Anti-Muslim extremists invade US cities

White supremacy seems to be the common denominator:

Far-right groups converged on the grounds of the State Capitol in Raleigh for an anti-sharia law rally, part of a nationwide string of events hosted by the anti-Muslim organization ACT for America, on Saturday. “There are no KKK here, there are no Nazis here,” said Peter Boykin, president of Gays for Trump and the local coordinator for the Raleigh anti-sharia rally. Despite his disavowal of extremism, Boykin publicly thanked Identity Evropa, a group founded last year that openly espouses white supremacy, after members in matching white dress shirts punctuated speeches with chants of, “Sharia-free USA” and “We will not be silenced.”

If you're wondering (as I frequently do) on what could lead to somebody joining such a fringe group, which often requires traveling great distances just to publicly display your ignorance, the most obvious first choice is deeply-ingrained racism. But it's more than that, and at least some of the responsibility may rest on our shoulders. To go this far, you have to also possess an incredible lack of trust in our system of government, the way our laws are developed and enforced. Many on the Left are guilty of relentlessly attacking that (entire) system, as opposed to being surgical in their criticisms, and this has helped to erode public trust across the board. And in that trust-deficient environment, fear always steps in to fill the void. And so we hear the names of ambiguous and "code-enhanced" groups emerging:

Boykin’s thank-you list also included Oath Keepers, a militia comprised of military veterans and retired law enforcement personnel that mobilized its members to provide security for the event, along with the III Percenters and other patriot militias, Bikers for Trump, Knights Templar, Soldiers of Odin and Proud Boys.

Proud Boys was founded by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who left the media outfit in 2008. The group calls itself a fraternal organization; its Facebook page identifies its values and beliefs as “minimal government, maximum freedom, anti-political correctness, anti-racial guilt, pro-gun rights, anti-drug war, closed borders, anti-masturbation, venerating entrepreneurs, venerating housewives, and reinstating a spirit of Western chauvinism during an age of globalism and multiculturalism.” After the rally, a dozen young men underwent an initiation ritual to join the Proud Boys in a public parking lot near the Capitol as clusters of Oath Keepers and III Percenter militia members milled around their vehicles nearby.

And you're right, that is a smorgasbord of issue categories, and virtually impossible to keep up with. But that's what you get when fear takes over; a monster under every bed, a deathly threat around each corner.

We may not be able to undo that deeply-ingrained racism, that will likely persist to an ever-smaller extent for decades. But we can work towards restoring some of the trust in government, by focusing on policy issues that help people, and avoiding some of our darker urges to attack politicians based on who they are, and not what they do.

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Comments

If you're wondering just how

I came to the conclusion that Democrats are partially responsible for the emergence of right-wing hate groups (it's a valid question), here's a peek at how my mind works (or doesn't, in some cases): When I see something monumentally f**ked up going on, I usually ask myself, "What can we do to fix this?"

But that question inevitably leads to the second one, "What have we done, if anything, to make this worse?"

In this case, the erosion of trust in government was one conclusion to question #2. It's real easy to cast blame on that loss of trust in Congress (or the Legislature, or the City Council, etc.) on the government officials themselves entirely, and hold ourselves aloof. But a) We put them there, and b) We've actually trained them to be money-hungry, because we refuse to elect politicians that don't entertain the hell out of us with television ads and spicy mailers. You hate those things? Well, the vast majority of voters apparently require them. In other words, "We" require them. It does absolutely no good to set yourself apart, to claim the high ground, to distance yourself from the mess that results from elections tainted by reality tv and consumerism. It might feel good, but it doesn't fix anything.

This helps explain why so

This helps explain why so many people just want to blow shit up. So many things are so rotten, it's hard to figure out what to do.