Wake up America!

May 24, 2012

Expect chaos when the political process breaks down

ku klux klan 2012

Today, Occupy organizers sent me a very disturbing link to information about an upcoming Ku Klux Klan rally in North Carolina, my home state. The group is planning a cross-burning on May 26 in Harmony, North Carolina. Can you believe the irony of such a hate-filled event in a place with a name like that?

Because my international readers may not be familiar with the Ku Klux Klan, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about this group and its history:

Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacywhite nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism. Since the mid-20th century, the KKK has also been anti-communist. … (I)t is classified as a hate group…estimated to have between 3,000 and 5,000 members as of 2012.

The first Klan flourished in Southern United States in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. Members adopted white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities. The second KKK flourished nationwide in the early and mid 1920s, and adopted the same costumes and code words as the first Klan, while introducing cross burnings. The third KKK emerged after World War II and was associated with opposing the Civil Rights Movement and progress among minorities. The first and third incarnations of the Klan have well-established records of engaging in terrorism and political violence…

Here’s what the Occupy organizer’s email had to say about this event:

We need to take this very seriously especially in light of the international, unprecedented capitalist crisis that has caused mass unemployment. Fascism started to rear its head a few years ago with Tea Party, fortunately there was a Left response from the Occupy Wall Street movement that helped shut down most that energy, or atleast the mainstream media’s obsession with it. These fascists are very dangerous, so we should also keep this in mind we decide to mobilize to counter protest. Our best self-defense is with a mass crowd and counter-rally. Comrades in FIST are beginning to mobilize for this rally on Saturday, anyone else down?

Here’s what I have to say about it:

This is very, very scary. We are living in dangerous times, and people need to be aware of what is going on. Our country is upside down and people are becoming desperate. Now that I am out of the rich enclave where I lived for many years, I meet people literally every day who are in very dire straits. Wake up, America! There is trouble ahead. The way of life that has evolved since WWII is about to blow up.  In America, when the political process is in gridlock as it is now, direct political action by grass-roots organizations is inevitable. Turn to the pages of American history written by the the 1960s protest movements to learn about just one of many episodes of such grassroots action in our past.

I turned to those pages myself today, and I was surprised by what I learned. Both protestors and police in Charlotte viewed the May 9 protest as a practice round for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this September. When I learned this, I recalled  vivid images from the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that I watched on black-and-white TV as a 14-year-old. I remember watching police clubbing protestors’ heads as clearly as I remember where I was when President Kennedy was shot. Both events were major shocks to the American political system.

In Charlotte I learned that protestors provoke police to get media attention. The 1968 police violence in Chicago demonstrates that this is a very dangerous game.

Occupy Bank of America Charlotte

Police arrest protestor at May 9, 2012 Occupy Bank of America Protestthat this is a very dangerous game.

But here’s what surprised me. I thought that the anti-war protestors were successful, and ultimately they were. But an outstanding, balanced 4-part You-Tube video about the ’68 Chicago convention reminded me that the violence the protestors evoked from the police backfired big-time. In the 1968 election, Republican Richard Nixon defeated the Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey, whose campaign was associated with the chaotic images televised the night he won his party’s nomination. The Vietnam War that activists were protesting went on for another 7 years.

The ’68 Democratic Convention now appears to me to be the event that pushed the political pendulum in the opposite direction, beginning the long swing toward ever more extreme conservatism that has brought us to where we are today.

I also made an interesting observation when I looked at a summary of political party control of the presidency and Congress since the early twentieth century. Prior to the financial system meltdowns of the Great Depression in the 1920s and the Great Recession starting in 2008, political control of both the presidency and Congress was held by the Republican party. This is fact, not opinion. It is my opinion that unchecked political power controlled by wealthy conservatives protecting their personal financial interests was a significant contributing factor to both financial meltdowns.

Yes, a Ku Klux Klan rally in a place called Harmony is ironic all right. But I learned long ago that God lives in irony and paradox, where opposites interact in attention-getting ways. God, the Spirit, Divinity by whatever name you want to call “It” is the Invisible Hand pushing the pendulum back and forth. At least, that’s what I think. And I do think. Not everybody does. Some people just act and react without thinking. That leads to trouble.

2 Responses to “Wake up America!”

  1. Bill Bell Says:

    At least the burning of crosses is progress to the past, give evolution a chance please


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