When a Muslim kills in the name of Allah, it’s jihad, and we call it terrorism. We call it terrorism because to inflict the emotional pain of “terror” affects not only the people who were killed but all of us. The uncertainty of where and when the next attack could happen is, quite frankly, terrifying. It seems we’ve adopted the right word for this kind of event.
When gang members do a drive-by and an innocent bystander dies we call it gang violence. We call it that because that’s what it is. The territorial nature of gangs and the idiotic wars they engage in cost innocent people their lives, and it is attributed to them.
When a warlord decides to rid a small nation of a particular religious sect or race of people we call it ethnic cleansing, genocide, holocaust or extermination. The reason why is pretty obvious.
We have all these names for all these kinds of senseless violence; we condemn entire races and religions for murdering indiscriminately. We’re appalled; we invade nations; we spend trillions; hundreds of thousands die from our wrath. In our inner cities we employ entire task forces and spend ridiculous amounts of money to keep our children, your children and their children safe from the violence.
A scrawny little white dude walks into the most iconic black church in the South, declares that he is going to kill black people for “raping our women and taking over our country,” murders nine people in cold blood, and the response?
How sad. Such a troubled boy. Obviously a case of mental illness.
Most of us on the left have been screaming “RACISM!” at this since Wednesday night, because nothing could be more obvious. Even the left, with our laser-focused hatred for hatred can fall into the “mental illness” trap. Sure, Reagan was a failure who released a bunch of lunatics into the night, but is that really why we’re facing 21-year-old mass-murderers 35 years later?
I don’t think so. We’re facing murderers like Dylann Roof because the conservative movement in this country has backfired.
Conservatism used to be an ideology of fiscal responsibility. Toss in some archaic religious beliefs, take a stance against abortion, feed the wealthy so we can have their scraps; that was the far-right.
The far-right today is a completely different animal. Today’s right-winger can only be described as an extremist. The Republican Party, in collecting a base to take it into the next century as their existing base dies off, has mobilized an army of racist, intolerant, uneducated bigots with hero complexes that are armed to the teeth.
Their ideology isn’t about fiscal responsibility, it’s about protecting what they feel is theirs. By feeding them the rhetoric that the poor are stealing all their tax dollars with their poorness, they’ve created a social stigma that while disgusting, got dozens of Republicans elected in 2014.
Their archaic religious beliefs have gotten so extreme that they can only be described as Teahadists. They want their religion to guide the law. They’ve managed to find passages in the bible that allow them to starve the hungry, kill their enemies with great prejudice and oppress women, all under the guise of being “morally superior” and fighting those horrible Muslims who want their religion to guide the law, kill their enemies with great prejudice and oppress women.
They are prepared to take up arms against their government as though it’s the inevitable final solution to the poor discriminated against white Christian’s problems.
Above all else, they are racists. The people at the top have taught them how to be extremely effective racists. They’ve replaced n*gger with “thug.” They’ve been taught that they aren’t racist if they’re speaking “the truth.” The truth includes things like “black people are criminals” and “If they’d pull their pants up they’d all have jobs.” If you defend a black person to the neo-conservative, for ANY reason, you yourself are guilty of racism and will be met with the ever-inevitable, multi purpose term of the new revolution: “Race baiting.”
Within hours of the shooting in Charleston, Fox News called the incident “Christian persecution.” They had a black minister scoff at the idea that race could be involved, calling for churches to arm themselves against these people who want to harm Christians. When the identity and blatant racism of the shooter came out later that day, Fox turned from their poor persecuted Christian angle to the “poor kid whose mental illness murdered nine people” angle.
Let’s get this straight. Mental illness didn’t kill nine black people in Charleston; racism and hate did. Racism that is nurtured and coddled inside conservative groups and organizations and promoted on Fox News. Racism that the Republican party desperately needs to survive. Racism that has become so commonplace that even some liberals will misnomer it.
It’s sickening, these murders were inevitable, and more are coming. At some point these “patriots” and “III%ers” are going to organize one of their armed hate rallies and something is going to go horribly wrong. Somebody is going to see a suicide vest that doesn’t exist or hear a Muslim say “Allahu Akbar” like those terrorists on the planes did and open fire. A bloodbath will ensue. People will die, the NRA will blame anyone who wasn’t carrying a gun for their own demise, the right will rally around their own, calling it a defense of their freedoms. Fox News will immediately begin their spinning, turning the shooter into a troubled, mentally ill soul because his cousin’s next door neighbor knew someone who perished on 9/11.
I wish I could say something like that would bring awareness and maybe help it stop, but it won’t. It will only divide us further, with the left calling for more humanity and compassion that the right can’t produce and the right calling for more guns and organized rallies and racism and intolerance, because ‘Murica.
No matter how much we demand better, it is seemingly more and more improbable that we will ever be able to pull our fellow Americans’ heads from the sands of ignorance.