Sunday, March 7, 2010

 

UNCLE SAM'S SHAMEFUL LITTLE PROBLEM

So un-Canadian was our "Rah-Rah Boosterism" during Vancouver's Olympic Games that both the publisher and a sports columnist at the Fort-Worth (Texas) "Star-Telegram" daily, have been compelled to publicly apologize for an article that compared our patriotism to that of Hitler's Berlin Olympics of 1936.

Meantime, in a show of our usual polite curiosity; Calgarians welcomed American media superstar and former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin to her first venture outside of the "homeland" at the BMO Centre on Saturday evening.

Events and activities that gloss-over a seething near boiling point, right-wing rage that is creeping at alarming rate into the soul of the United-States. Which (unless checked) has the potential to engulf the entire continent. A rage which experts describe as being fueled by anger over changing demographics, soaring public debt, and initiatives by the Obama Administration that have been branded by Ms. Palin and (sadly) too many others as "socialists" or "fascists"! A rage slowly surfacing through recent desperate acts of vengeance: Flying a private aircraft into the IRS Office in Austin, Texas...or even more recently shooting-up the front lobby of Washington's Pentagon Building.

These acts embody expressions of uncontrolled vengeance and rage against authority which Americans thought their nation had abandoned in the wake of the sad homegrown terrorist bombing of Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 which claimed 168 people. "Patriot Movement" follower: Timothy McVeigh, was convicted and executed for the bombing. His co-conspirators: Terry Nichols, is serving 168 life-terms, while Michael Fortier was sentenced to 12 years and is now in the "witness protection program" for having testified against McVeigh and Nichols.

A report release last week by the Southern Poverty Law Center paints an alarming picture of a massive resurgence in the "Patriot Militia Movement" which, it claims, has registered a 244% increase in the number of..."active patriot(militia)groups in 2009." There were 149 recognized active "groups" during the Presidential election year 2008. By year's end 2009 there were 512 according to the report which is titled: "Rage On The Right".

Sarah Palin's politics as a de facto leader of the American right-wing "Tea Party," which advocates fiscal restraint and smaller government, pale compared to Fox News mouthpiece, Florida born Glenn Beck; and Minnesota Republican Congresswoman, Michele Bachman. The "Rage On The Right" report cites both as..."people with large audiences"...whom it blames for promoting the current wave of the Patriot Movement.

Here in Florida, the Southern Poverty Law Center report identified 51 Patriot Militia groups; third highest number of groups in the nation. (Texas has 66 - California 60). Little wonder that the State of Florida has experienced a three-fold increase in applications for permits to carry concealed handguns; while gun shops face shortages in ammunition. Anecdotal evidence of a fear fueled by 8 years of national paranoia in the wake of the 9/11 attacks...a paranoia which many blame on the Bush Administration.

It is against this as a backdrop that the promises and the optimism of the Obama Administration are in peril of being evaporated.

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