We Could Have Dealt With This Shit Years Ago If Republicans Hadn't Been Dicks About Their Extremists

I keep thinking about Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona who became Barack Obama's first Secretary of Homeland Security. In April 2009, Republicans and conservative groups were demanding that she resign because her department had so deeply insulted right-wing Americans. See, DHS's Extremism and Radicalization Branch (Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division) in coordination with the FBI, released a report titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," and it was pretty much straight up and down accurate in describing how nutzoid right-wingers, almost all of them white people, were becoming terrorists, driven to utter despair by the dual insults of the Bush-induced, severe economic downturn and the election of the first black president. To the writers of the report, those factors "present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment." 

What pissed off Republicans? Well, truth be told, it's because they recognized even then that their base was made up largely of assholes who were part of this toxic soup of racism and delusion. But they said that it was because, as then-House Minority Leader John "Human Ashtray" Boehner put it, "When you look at this report on right-wing extremism, it includes ... about two- thirds of Americans, who, you know, who might go to church, who may have served in the military, who may be involved in community activities." The report actually warned that religion was one of the driving factors behind right-wing extremist violence, as seen by, oh, hell, the murders and bombings connected to clinics where abortions were performed. 

The part that really upset ranting Republicans representatives like then-chief spokesjerk Michelle Bachmann and still-in-Congress Virginia Foxx and John Carter was that the report said, "Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities."

Carter, who was a big-time birther conspiracy nut and who voted last week to overturn the election results, whined, "One of the things they tell us in this report is very sad in light of what our Army has been going through, which is to watch out for returning, disgruntled military veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan in that they have the potential to be right-wing terrorists." You'll note that there is no call for greater mental health care or financial assistance to veterans.

For the complaining assholes, it's like Gulf War vet and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh had never existed. And Napolitano apologized to veterans for any misunderstanding after Republicans lost their shit more, even calling a hearing where Napolitano ended up backing away from the report instead of shoving it down their fucking throats. It wasn't just in Congress, of course. Right-wing media and conservatives groups attacked, like the American Legion (motto: "Our halls smell like old ass"), whose leader said, stupidly, "I think it is important for all of us to remember that Americans are not the enemy." 

Yeah, except they are. And everything that's happened not just last Wednesday at the Capitol but all around this country for the decade plus since that report was issued has proved it true. We're learning that more and more American military veterans were part of the insurrection on January 6, including Ashli Babbit, the Air Force veteran who went full QAnon and got shot and killed for trying to break into the Capitol.

They were fucking right back in 2009. Here's another part about what drove the militia movement in the 1990s that was still going in 2009:  "Prominent among these themes were the militia movement’s opposition to gun control efforts, criticism of free trade agreements (particularly those with Mexico), and highlighting perceived government infringement on civil liberties."

Want more? Here: "Prominent antigovernment conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty. Conspiracy theories involving declarations of martial law, impending civil strife or racial conflict, suspension of the U.S. Constitution, and the creation of citizen detention camps often incorporate aspects of a failed economy. Antigovernment conspiracy theories and 'end times' prophecies could motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons." Pretty scarily on point, right? 

And there's a whole fucking section about how extremists used fear of undocumented immigrants coming into the country to recruit for militias and other groups. (I'm using "militia" because that's the lingo in the report. A militia is more rightly called a "domestic terrorist cell.")

I'll say it again: They were fucking right in 2009. We were fucking right when we on the left were yelling about right-wing extremists. But when Republicans and conservative dickheads lost their shit over the report, the new Obama administration backed down on DHS going after white terrorists. I guess they still had the naive hope that they could reason with Republicans, and this was a bone they tossed them. 

But let's be clear that Republicans threw a shit fit at the idea that their base was a bunch of violent crackpots, racists, and assholes. Wait, lemme clarify that. They were upset that they would have to admit that their base was a bunch of violent crackpots, racists, and assholes. So they fucked over the country to score cheap political points and show how they could stand up to the black president. That's how we got dozens of right-wing extremist attacks in the last 12 years. That's how we got Charlottesville. That's how we got Trump being able to be openly, wildly racist with no consequences for that until this past week. That's how we got members of Congress afraid of other members of Congress harming them. If Republicans had seen that report and said, "Yeah, wow, fuck, that's bad. We should act on it," how different might things be now. Instead, they took it and shit on it and handed it back and said, "Go fuck yourself with it." And then they shot down just about every opportunity to really do something about the white terrorists who are their base because to admit they were terrorists was to admit that their whiteness wouldn't protect them. 

Maybe now. Maybe at last. Maybe this dam finally broke.

So there should be no fucking mercy anymore for the Republicans who abetted this madness. It's all out there now, motherfuckers. You decided to sow. Now reap that shit and accept that you deserve to be tossed into the political trashcan.