Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Yesterday, a few days after white supremacists caused mayhem and murder in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Illinois Senate called for such nationalist groups to be labeled terrorist organizations.
This is a welcome and appropriate measure, and as long as certain Americans are finding themselves concerned about the preservation of history, let’s remind ourselves that the Ku Klux Klan–the uniquely American wellspring that in some way provides its twisted DNA to every one of our virulently white supremacist organizations–is not only a terrorist group, but has been a particularly successful terrorist group.
For a sustained period of time, the Klan were able to intimidate, murder, and destroy property with absolute impunity throughout many parts of the country. They acted as enforcement for decades of oppression, which itself took the form of not only violence, but laws, systems, and policies designed to maintain a paradigm of second-class citizenry for nonwhites. Their leadership became mainstream individuals in political discourse, rising ever higher through media and governance positions, while their rank-and-file found jobs in police departments and amassed power through those channels. They branded phrases like “immigration reform” to smokescreen the images of children being separated from their parents, roughly and without warning; they crafted concepts like “white genocide” to justify their hatred of mixed-race couples. Then they calmly dropped these phrases into the conversation and sold us on the idea that these were rational opinions to hold.
Nonwhite individuals are staying home from school or avoiding healthcare for fear that they will be targeted for persecution. They are having conversations with their children about how to survive interactions with the people who are allegedly charged with protecting them from harm. This is a terrorized populace, even if they manage to find the courage to go forward with their daily lives.
If we are appalled at the actions of al-Qaeda, and Daesh, and Boko Haram, and any other homicidal zealot group, and readily name them terrorists for those actions, then all white nationalist groups in America have long since earned the label as well. Each of them have much greater access and more resources to harm this nation’s citizens than any fundamentalist group across the globe. And they have been taking advantage of that access and those resources at every opportunity they get.