Radicalizing Angry White Men in America

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In the past week we have seen three instances of middle aged white men in the USA perform acts of terror – a parcel bomber, a murderer of senior citizens and a mass shooter.

It is plain to see that America is being radicalized Enter Trump’s Angry White Men.

Their commonality is echoed in the regular words and sentiments that stream from President Donald Trump’s speeches and Tweets – “The immigrants are coming” and “Mainstream Media is the enemy of the people.”

Fact:

Charlottesville was the Turning Point

Charlottesville, last August, was the turning point when White Supremacists marched with swastikas and torches waving their Confederate flags. They were proudly in the open, no white hoods concealing their identities.

The Reason: These white men previously had full access to the American Dream; they had privilege and standing in their homes and in the world. Changing times and “globalization” make them feel neglected and left behind. The desperation and rage of these men fuel anti-immigrant sentiments, admissions of racist statements about Blacks and Latinos. They use coded words for “the other”. This demographic is ripe for a leader, a Messiah of Rage.

Weaponizing Rage

Enter Donald Trump, patron saint of the disenfranchised and whiny white men. He promised them “their” country back.  He played on their feelings of victimization and entitlement and weaponized their rage.

Mail bomb suspect 54 year old Cesar Sayoc’s  white Dodge Ram -Trump shrine van, said it all. Glorification images of Trump and Pence. Dark and threatening images, often with a target over the faces of practically everyone who opposes the president and who President Trump  regularly targets at his rallies and on Twitter like Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, Maxine Waters CNN etc.

All told, authorities intercepted 14 packages that were sent to members of Congress, billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer and former Obama administration officials.

Sayoc has a rap sheet dating back to 1991 and worked a DJ shift at a low-rent strip club.

Murder of Black Seniors in Kentucky

Last Wednesday two black senior citizens were murdered in Louisville, Kentucky at a Kroger supermarket by Gregory Bush, a 51-year-old white man with a history of violence. Bush had no known connection to either of his victims.

Any doubt of a racial motive seemed quelled when surveillance footage showed the shooter forcibly trying to enter a black church minutes before moving on to the supermarket and the easier target of senior citizens.

Bush has a lengthy criminal record, including being convicted of domestic assault for punching his father in the face and lifting his mother by her neck. However, his convictions did not prevent him from legally owning firearms.

Hate of the Pittsburgh Shooter

On Saturday morning, the Sabbath, 46 year old Robert Bowers burst into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, carrying a Colt AR-15 model SPI assault rifle and three Glock .357 automatic pistols.

“All Jews must die!” Bowers announced. And began to shoot.

The statements continued during his gunfight with police, with Bowers telling one officer: “They’re committing genocide to my people. I just want to kill Jews.”

The mass killing at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest anti-Semitic incident in US history, has Jewish Americans questioning whether they are now fated to live with the fear and threats at home that their community has long endured around the world.

Back at the White House, Trump recently proclaimed proudly he is a “nationalist” and berated “globalists”  – as if he didn’t know that these two designations that have innocent connotations in some contexts, are also recognized as code words by anti-Semites.

Anti-Semitism in the USA

There is no denial that there is a long and bitter history of Anti- Semitism in the USA and throughout history,  an increase in anti-Semitism has often been an early indicator that extremist thought is gathering momentum inside a society or is being used as a political tool by those keen to exploit resentment or radical sentiment.

Social media posts suggest that Robert Bowers, the alleged gunman in Pittsburgh, claimed that Jews were helping transport members of the migrant caravan in Mexico. For the last two weeks, Trump has been arguing that the column contains “bad people” and Middle Easterners — a code word for terrorists.

Donald Trump’s message of insecurity and fear has been magnified by Fox News which has created a self serving feedback loop with the President. It is no longer clear cut where the rhetoric of rage and hate begins and where it is amplified.  Fox has become the State Broadcaster and together with his other trusty mouthpieces, President Trump has become the Radicalizer in Chief.

Increase in Anti-Semitic Incidents

The Anti-Defamation League found a 57% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 compared to the previous year, including hate speech in schools and colleges, vandalism and bomb threats.

So, does Trump actually believe this racist and xenophobic tirade that streams from his mouth in rallies and on his Twitter feed? (He also says he loves his Jewish grandchildren) Or is he just a good showman with a marketing plan that works for him?

It doesn’t really matter wither way because the message is the same and the only people who are really at risk are other Americans.

Longing for the Past – MAGA

It is clear that the President will exploit tensions and name an enemy in a bid to consolidate his power among his own supporters who believe in the “Once Upon a Time” world of the 50s and 60s where men were the providers and heads of the household and women cooked cleaned and raised the kids. For these throwbacks to the past, multiculturalism and feminism are threats, just like people of other races – these sad men just want to “Make America Great Again.”

With one week to the midterm elections, political messaging and rhetoric is ramped up as political parties push and jostle to squeeze into the wall-to-wall news cycle.

The radicalized white men, accustomed to a daily dose of rage and outrage – await the dog whistles and the red meat of their master in the belief that only they will save America – that they will make it great again.

In conclusion, the words of Pittsburgh gunman (who had 21 guns registered to his name) who wrote on his social media platform just before the shooting: “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” he wrote. “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”