The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

From “Grateful Nation” to “Rightwing Extremist”

Catching up on something I didn’t get to comment on earlier in the week…

This past week, a report from DHS entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” was leaked online. The report looks at the growth of “right wing” elements in light of the current financial crisis and the presidency of Barack Obama.

There are some common-sense truths in the report. It makes sense that white supremacist activity would increase because of-and during-the Obama ascendancy, for example. Aside from that, there’s a lot of generalities and stereotypes that make this report look like someone’s attempt to paint anyone with a conservative viewpoint, or who is a veteran, as some sort of extremist.

The report gives this definition of “rightwing extremism”:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.  It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

This is a very broad definition, in that you could very easily link black seperatist movements-such as the New Black Panther Party-to right wing extremists. I’m sure they’d have something to say about that.

It’s also interesting that the report makes hate, antigovernment views, or opposition to abortion or immigration “right wing” views. Last I checked, racism wasn’t a thought that only existed on the right; I’m certain there are organizations who preach an ideology of hate on the left as well. And I happen to know more than a few people who lean Democratic that are staunchly pro-choice, just as I know Republicans who are pro-choice as well.

My biggest problem with this report, though, is its section on “Disgruntled Military Veterans” which

…assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.   The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

I’m going to use myself as an example here: Navy veteran, worked primarily in an administrative setting. Most of what I learned about combat, I learned by being an aide in meetings, from the experiences of others, or through my own reading and research. Not disgruntled or disillusioned with anything going on in America today, though there are several things that are either upsetting or that I just don’t like. Not suffering from any mental effects of war, as my service was mostly aboard ship (though I did do a brief stop at Gitmo).

I don’t consider myself radical in thought; I think a lot of my base beliefs may be shared by more people nationwide than want to admit, and that’s fine. Nor do I consider any of the groups I’ve worked with-Gathering of Eagles, Free Republic, Vets for Freedom, or-more recently-the Tea Party movement-radical in thought as organizations (of course, there are people that toe the line, just as there are in any group).

As a veteran, I think it’s wrong of a government agency to paint all veterans with the brush of Timothy McVeigh. For every one of him, there are countless others who have served honorably, and then returned to their families to live a quiet life. And there are others-like myself-who have decided to continue a life of national service through the political process. That doesn’t make us extremists; that makes us Americans who have chosen to exercise the rights that we stood up to protect. Agree or disagree, we’ve earned the right to do so in a way that most Americans never will.

If this is how a “grateful nation” chooses to express its gratitude-by slandering the one percent that stood up for the other 99-then maybe there’s a reason to be disillusioned and disgruntled.

Because that doesn’t seem like the nation we served to defend.



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