This New York Times report today by Jim Rutenberg tells us that there is a group of Americans out there who have been left behind (in a manner of speaking) concerning the upcoming vote; the story begins with a quote from Bill White, the head of the American National Socialist Workers Party, who was arrested soon after the interview (there’s your first clue that something’s wrong)…
So stands the state of organized racism in 2008, paralyzed and at a crossroads in what would presumably be a pressing moment of action — the possibility that Senator Barack Obama will become the first black president — but has so far not been.
There have been sporadic reports throughout the country of Obama signs vandalized with swastikas, windows smashed at local Obama campaign offices and racist pamphlets dropped on doorsteps. Overt and thinly veiled racist comments about Mr. Obama have been caught on camera at rallies, and a Republican women’s group in California — the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated — has made headlines for a flier that showed Mr. Obama’s face on a faux food stamp that also included watermelon and fried chicken.
But party officials and organizations that monitor hate groups, always concerned about the specter of violence, report far less activity from the more traditional sources of open racism late in the race than they had expected.
Well, maybe, but as Rutenberg’s colleague Bob Herbert (who has been on fire lately, I must say) tells us today regarding the trumped-up ACORN “scandal”…
…the reckless attempt by Senator McCain, Sarah Palin and others to fan this into a major scandal has made Acorn the target of vandals and a wave of hate calls and e-mail. Acorn staff members have been threatened and sickening, murderous comments have been made about supporters of Barack Obama. (Senator Obama had nothing to do with Acorn’s voter-registration drives.)
And this post by Eric Schmeltzer of HuffPo provides a cautionary lesson on what happens when inflammatory right-wing rhetoric goes too far (and this story is truly vile; shocking to inflict such cruelty in an effort to satisfy’s one’s prejudice – those responsible should go to prison for 20 years at least).
So maybe it’s true that the hate groups aren’t making an impact so far in this election.
Maybe it’s because they don’t have to.
Update 10/21/08: Here’s more…