Whether conservatives admit it or not, racism is alive and well in the United States of America and evidence of that simple fact can be found in a new report out today from The Boston Globe. The piece highlights the fact that racist and anti-government hate groups have been increasing in this country over the last decade, but that they have dramatically increased since the election of Barack Obama, the nation’s first black President. The number of threats has increased so much in fact that some in the agency are throwing around the idea of curtailing the Service’s financial investigative units to better focus on protection:
“The new demands are leading some officials, both inside and outside the agency, to raise the possibility of the service curtailing or dropping its role in fighting financial crime to focus more on protecting leaders and their families from assassination attempts and thwarting terrorist plots aimed at high-profile events.
“If there were an evaluation of the service’s two missions, it might be determined that it is ineffective . . . to conduct its protection mission and investigate financial crimes,’’ according to a internal report issued in August by the Congressional Research Service.”
So in other words there’s now serious talk of putting less effort into investigating counterfeiting, money laundering and mortgage fraud simply because of the rise of anti-Obama hate groups on the right. The job of investigating financial matters might fall to another branch under Homeland Security, and at this point nothing has been decided, but it’s obvious that the increased level of threats against the President is becoming a serious concern. The piece goes onto speculate about what’s giving rise to the increased rhetoric:
“Threatening language has also found its way into talk radio broadcasts and social networking websites, raising fears that individuals not normally considered threats to the president could be incited to violence.
For example, the Secret Service in recent months has investigated a poll posted on Facebook about whether Obama should be killed. It has interviewed a Florida radio talk show host after a caller mentioned ammunition, target practice, and the president, and federal officials have raised concerns about several instances in which protesters carrying weapons showed up at Obama events, including a man at an August town hall in New Hampshire.
The racist extremist fringe is exploiting themes that strike a chord in the mainstream more than we have seen in the recent past,’’ said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino, citing several elected leaders who have questioned whether Obama is a US citizen eligible to be president.”
Anyone who doubts the seriousness of these matters should wake up and take a look around. Voices in the media, particularly on talk radio and FOX News have become verbal kindling for a potentially dangerous spark that could erupt at any moment. Often those on the right try to equate the left’s hate of George W. Bush to the current explosion of racism and violence directed at Obama. Bush, like Obama was burned in effigy, and called Hitler by some, but the Globe’s report sheds light on just how much worse the current climate really is. All things are not always equal, a lesson the Secret Service is now learning the hard way.