By Thomas A. DeWeese
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) hates us. Who? According to several reports they have released over the past year, "us" is the following: One concerned over the economy; loss of jobs; foreclosures; antagonism toward the Obama Administration (that it's racist); criticism of free trade programs like NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity Partnership; anti-abortion; oppose same-sex marriage; believe in the "end times;" stock pile food, ammunition and weapons; oppose illegal immigration; opposition to the new world order; opposition to the United Nations; opposition to global governance; fear of Communist regimes; opposition to loss of US manufacturing to overseas nations; opposition to loss of US prestige; use of the Internet (or alternative media) to express these ideas. Did this list miss anyone reading it? You are all haters and potential terrorists.
The above list was published in a report issued last year by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entitled, "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." The report, while issued by the DHS, was in fact, written by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which labels itself as a civil rights organization which "tracks the hate movement." Ironically, SPLC is becoming one of the biggest purveyors of hate and discord in the nation. Worse, SPLC's reports are often so inaccurate and misleading that they would be simply laughable if they didn't have the support of the Federal government.
Now, SPLC has issued two new reports aimed at the growing freedom movement and last November's Continental Congress 2009, for which I was a delegate.
In its latest report entitled, "Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism," issued March 2, 2010, SPLC sounds the alarm that the "patriot" movement is growing. They, of course, are alarmed about this. Again, SPLC lumps groups fighting such issues as healthcare with groups like the National Socialist Movement – the white supremacist group. The connecting issue between the true freedom movement and skin heads is opposition to illegal immigration. That's enough, according to SPLC, to get anyone opposed to illegal immigration labeled as a white supremacist. You see, in their view, the reason we want the borders closed and the flood of illegals stopped is because they have brown skin – we're racists, of course.
Also, according to the SPLC, 2009 saw a dramatic rise in the growth of hate groups, from 926 to 932. Of course, they are the ones picking who the hate groups are. And what do they base the selection on? The growth was "driven largely by an angry backlash against non-white immigration and, starting in the last year of that period (2009) the economic meltdown and the climb to power of an African-American president."
Fear and frustration were the fuel for the rise in hatred, according to SPLC. "The anger seething across the American political landscape…goes beyond the radical right," the report said, adding that the rage was fed by "radical changes in the population, soaring public debt and the terrible economy, the bailouts of bankers and other elites, and an array of initiatives by the relatively liberal Obama administration that are seen as 'socialist" or even fascist." The report went on to say, "The 'tea parties' and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism." This, says SPLC, is giving rise to militant militia groups.
Obviously, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, it is extremism to oppose any policy coming out of Washington, and only a hater of blacks would oppose Barack Obama.
The most comical report yet to come out of SPLC is one entitled "Midwifing the Militias." That report attempts to reveal the root of the growing anti-government sentiment and places it on the Continental Congress2009 that convened in St. Charles, Illinois last November. Said the report, "Convened by long-time radical tax protester Bob Schulz, who had been attacking the Fed and the Internal Revenue Service for decades, this remarkable gathering appears to have played a key role in launching the current resurgence of militias and the larger anti-government "Patriot" movement."
I was a delegate to that Congress, representing Virginia. There were 115 delegates from 48 states. I certainly don't want to downplay what I consider to be important work, specifically the creation of the Articles of Freedom that were the product of the Congress. The Articles are now being presented to every member of Congress and every state legislature. However, the fact is, to date, most in the freedom movement have never heard of the Continental Congress and, so far, have felt little impact from its efforts.
There was absolutely no connection to militant militias and never were there words uttered indicating violence as a plan of action. To the contrary, Schulz is a lawyer and the purpose of the Congress was basically to state what we believed to be violations to the Constitution to be presented to our elected leaders. That was it. Now, he plans legal action in the courts of the United States to address the problem. That's what lawyers do. But, according to SPLC, that is the act of an extremist.
A comical side-note in the SPLC report was an attempt to link me to the militias, something I've never engaged, in fact, I've never even talked to a militia member. But there was the attempt in the report. The exact quote was, "…Tom DeWeese, a co-founder in 1997 of United Truckers Defending the Constitution and an angry critic, like most on the radical right, of the United Nations…" The reference to the "United Truckers" dates back to an effort I made in 1997 to create a nation-wide protest against the Kyoto Climate Change Accord. I called the effort the "Strike For Liberty," and asked Americans across the nation to take an hour that day at noon to protest the signing by the Clinton Administration of the global warming treaty. To help spread the word of the strike, I enlisted a character named the Desert Owl, a trucker who was the head of his own creation called the United Truckers Defending the Constitution. He didn't do a very good job and I soon broke off contact with him At no time was I the "co-founder" and the group was a truckers association – not a militia! Such is the comical inaccuracies of the SPLC. Any wonder why these paranoid clowns think we are all terrorists? I do take full credit for being "angry" about the UN, however.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is nothing but a mouth piece of the far left. It attacks honest people who are expressing concerns about the issues of our day – just as free Americans have done since George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In all of my participation with the so-called freedom movement, never have I heard any legitimate leaders express a need for violence against the government. To the contrary, activists like Bob Schulz had prepared items like the Articles of Freedom, precisely to be used as tools for legal, peaceful action.
Nor have I ever heard a single person express racist attitudes against Barack Obama. It's the policies we oppose -- just as we did against Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson. And for that matter, we also opposed big government policies perpetrated by George Bush and Richard Nixon.
Americans are growing more frustrated and angry by the day for one simple reason – our elected officials are not listening. More than 80% of Americans oppose illegal immigration, but Congress continues to try to force amnesty. More than 80% of Americans opposed the bailouts – but Congress did it anyway. More than 65% of Americans opposed the health care bill – but Obama and Pelosi played the dirtiest, rawest political power games in the history of Congress to get it passed anyway. As a result, many Americans rightly feel that our government is no longer representing the people and so they are fighting back through rallies and radio call in shows.
Yet, when we try to speak out, as is our Constitutional right, the Southern Poverty Law Center calls us extremists? It's nothing more that left-wing McCarthyism. The Southern Poverty Law Center is not about protecting civil rights, rather it's a corrupt bully that fosters hate and fear mongering in its purist form.