That’s about the nicest thing I can say about Courtland Milloy’s screed in the Washington Post. Entitled "Tolerance of white militias exemplifies the racial double standard", Milloy tries his best – which is none to impressive – to whip up a little racial hatred and divisiveness.
His two tools to lend credibility to his poorly constructed argument are the Southern Poverty Law Center, which sees a right wing conspiracy and racial hatred behind every corner, and a special Chris Matthews did – Chris Matthews – on Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia.
Matthews special was entitled "The rise of the new right", but there’s nothing especially new about the SMVM. It has been around since at least 2002 and their website openly announces ("On line since 02/02/02").
Apparently the SMVM also saw some potential problems in perhaps, oh I don’t know, 9/11? And it existed through most of the Bush presidency which, one would guess, would mean race has nothing to do with their existence or they’re wildly colorblind and just didn’t know that George Bush was a cracker.
Maybe Obama is just being savvy by not coming down hard on the militia. As Potok said, "There’s a huge amount of anger, and what we are really lacking at this moment is a kind of spark." In an apparent attempt to defuse the tension, Obama does such things as supporting a U.S. Supreme Court decision crippling D.C.’s gun control law and then signs a bill that allows visitors to national parks to carry guns.
Potok, of course, is with the SPLC and while he certainly is correct in pointing out there is a “huge amount of anger”, the implication that it is racially based and found solely on the right is simply unsupportable. MIlloy is also obviously one of those who believes that only government should have guns.
And speaking of double standards, Milloy somehow forgot to mention the Obama DoJ’s decision not to prosecute a well-known black militia, the New Black Panthers, for obvious (it’s on film) voter intimidation in Philadelphia during the last presidential election.
He finishes with this:
Still, gun advocates keep him in their sights. They show up outside presidential town hall meetings brandishing firearms. When a young black man, identified only as Chris, showed up at one such event with a rifle strapped to his back, white protesters cited him as proof that race had nothing to do with their contempt for Obama.
But they missed the point.
Had the black rifleman showed for, say, Ronald Reagan’s "states’ rights" speech in Philadelphia, Miss., back in 1980, they might still be dredging the Pearl River for his remains.
Really? From Philadelphia, MS to Philadelphia, PA – we’ve come a long way haven’t we Mr. Milloy. If this is the best you can muster to keep the fires of racial hatred stoked, it’s going to be a long, cold winter for you, isn’t it?
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