Time To Rethink The Language Of Hate.

Following the murder of two Las Vegas cops and a “good guy with a gun,” it’s time to take a long look at those who are fomenting anti-government hate. The shooters, Jerad and Amanda Miller, had apparently been inspired by Cliven Bundy, as well as various militias and “patriot” groups. They believed the police officers to be Nazis and talked of a revolution against our government.

Far from being alone, the Millers are part of a growing segment of our population who have a perverse understanding of our Constitution, and who consider our government illegitimate. Since the election of President Obama, the non-partisan Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has noted a significant rise in such hate groups. A spokesman said that the SPLC’s Hatewatch had listed 139 hate groups in 2008, but over the last 5 years, the number has grown to more than a thousand.

Interestingly, these groups only seem to thrive during Democratic administrations.

The growth of hate groups is almost certainly the result of the constant anti-government, anti-Democrat hatred being spewed by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and many others. It’s even worse these days with the impact of social media and the Tea Party. Even so-called “traditional” Republicans and “Christian” churches must be held responsible for their words. These people have questioned the legitimacy of a president twice elected with large majorities. Instead of respecting the results of the elections, they have implied that there was widespread voter fraud. They have demonized gays, lesbians, Latinos, African-Americans, the unemployed and the poor.

They have called Obama the “Imperial President” simply for acting on his campaign promises. They called him a Nazi, a Socialist and a Communist (it’s clear they don’t understand the definitions of any of those terms) for signing into law a version of Romneycare. They have celebrated mockumentaries created by James O’Keefe that purported to show progressive groups participating in illicit activities. They have invented conspiracies and scandals over events similar to those they supported or ignored during Republican administrations. They rant about the growth of government even though cutbacks at every level of government have acted as an anchor on our economy since the start of the Great Recession.

The hatemongers have generated such a large following that it now threatens to explode in a new wave of violence.

Rather than being outliers such as Timothy McVeigh, the hate-spewing extremists have taken over one of our two dominant political parties. The haters have members of Congress, presidential candidates, militias led by retired peace officers, Tea Party groups calling for Second Amendment remedies, a cable “news” network making up lies and supporting seditionists, churches screaming hate-filled tirades at minorities, and bullies openly carrying AK-47s, AR-15s and shotguns into restaurants and large retail stores.

Thankfully, the SPLC has finally convinced the Justice Department to reinstate its domestic terrorism unit that was disbanded following 9/11. After all, terrorism is no less lethal if it comes from within. In many ways, domestic terrorism is more destructive than that imposed on us by foreign groups. It makes us distrust and fear each other. Our political system was founded on the debate of ideas; of the party in power being challenged by the loyal opposition. But if we don’t de-escalate the rhetoric that inspires people like the Millers, this isn’t going to end well.

Sovereign Citizens: America’s New (Bowel) Movement.

If you’re wondering about the headline, it’s not a typo. I feel it’s an accurate description of the freeloaders who have renounced their US citizenship and refuse to pay taxes or obey laws while taking advantage of our nation’s freedoms, services and benefits.

Each time one of these nitwits burns his driver’s license, Social Security card, birth certificate and other forms of identification, it’s as if our nation is shedding waste.

Now all we need to do is give them a good flush.

If they truly don’t want to be citizens of our nation, we should load them up and ship them to one of the many lawless nations in the world, such as Somalia, Yemen or Syria, where they can practice what they preach. There are plenty of immigrants who would gladly accept US citizenship, pay taxes and obey our laws. Indeed, many of our undocumented workers are already paying taxes knowing that they may never directly receive benefits from those taxes.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Sovereign Citizens movement is large and growing, with much of the growth coming since the election of our first president of African-American heritage. An estimated 100,000 people currently living in the United States are “hard core” Sovereign Citizens who have already renounced their US citizenship. The SPLC estimates another 200,000 are “just starting out” by resisting traffic tickets and drug charges. By conservative estimates, there are an additional 200,000 tax protesters who refuse to pay taxes. By deporting all 500,000, we would be freeing up room for 500,000 of the “Dreamers” and other grateful immigrants who are seeking US citizenship.

We would also be lowering the deficit through increased tax revenues.

At the same time, we would be making our nation safer. After all, the FBI classifies Sovereign Citizens as anti-government extremists and domestic terrorists. The SPLC classifies them as a hate group which was spawned by Christian Identity minister William P. Gale, the Posse Comitatus movement and several other racist and political groups of the lunatic fringe. (On second thought, strike the word fringe. That’s being much too kind.)

At the heart of the Sovereign Citizen movement is the belief that there are two classes of citizens in America: “original citizens of the states” and “US citizens (“Fourteenth Amendment citizens”) that include descendants of freed slaves. Since the “original citizens” of the states were here first, they claim not to be bound by federal, state or local laws. (It’s not clear how this applies to Native Americans.)

Like the Tea Party movement (that also needs to be flushed), Sovereign Citizens have selective memories and are selective readers of the Constitution. They also completely ignore the many statements made by our Founding Fathers that express the view that our Constitution placed everyone personally under federal authority.

And, like the Tea Party, Sovereign Citizens subscribe to a number of bizarre conspiracy theories and demand a return to the gold standard. The SPLC describes them this way: “Sovereigns believe that they – not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials – get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore.” They often resort to violence in defiance of authority. Indeed, many are heavily armed, posing a serious threat to anyone with whom they disagree.

They’re not only in the wrong country. They’re in the wrong century!